These guys are performing a free set at Neumos this coming Thursday in Capitol Hill. It happens to be the day before I arrive in Seattle and the worst timing ever. I can’t believe I have to miss this! However, if you’re in the area or just living there, you just pop in. It’s free, after all.
Before I get into writing this post, I need to extend a huge thank you to the press team over at One Reel. I’ve been attending Bumbershoot for the last 6 years and for the first time ever, One Reel gave me the opportunity to obtain a press pass for Yow Yow! as its own publication. Not only is this a milestone for us, but it means so much to me to be able to partner with a music festival that I have grown up with and that has consistently been the highlight in my summer. Having been a part of the Seattle music industry, I have so much appreciation for every person that is responsible for making this festival happen. No one understands the work that you do, how much you sacrifice, or even the impact that you leave on those attending. Thank you for all that you do – every single one of ya!
The Flavr Blue
This was my second time seeing The Flavr Blue this summer and as always I am impressed with their set each time. The band took the stage on Saturday morning kicking off the festival at 11:45 AM. Early! But so worth it. And from the looks of it, there was a whole crowd of people that didn’t mind getting their Bumbershoot on that early in the morning. The group stirred up a rowdy crowd of hippie dancers that went absolutely HAM over their music. Who knew, right? Everyone else bobbed along to their tracks and occasionally professed their love for Hollis. The Flavr Blue is a band that I couldn’t be more excited about this year in Seattle. Hollis has truly made a name for herself within the Seattle music community, but is such a humbled individual that continues to pour herself into every single one of her projects. The Flavr Blue is not going anywhere anytime soon and with new music on its way, they are sure to become a household name.
Dave B was an artist that our contributor Cameron Deuel covered prior to Bumbershoot and while he wasn’t initially on my lineup schedule, I decided to check him out anyways. On more than one occasion, myself and the friend I was with as well as the group of boys next to us kept wondering about the print on his shirt. Pizza? Sushi? Chicken and Waffles? We settled on that last answer. Dave B was eccentric, in your face, and vivacious. Has anyone ever used those three words together to describe an act? I couldn’t have enjoyed him more! In previous years, I always come prepared to Bumbershoot with my handy dandy schedule making sure to never miss an act I plan on seeing, but on this Saturday – everything was kind of up in the air. It’s nice not to have an agenda sometimes. Dave B was a crowd pumper upper and made such an impression on me that I’m already putting it on my to-do list to look him up on Spotify.
You’d have to be a fool to miss out on an act named Nacho Picasso. I was so curious by his name that I had to stop by his set. Unfortunately, I quickly found out that it just wasn’t my style. He’s a little bit inaprops than I expected, but what rapper isn’t it these days? Do you Nacho.
Kendrick knows how to get the Key Arena LOUD. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard an audience be more excited for an artist in the Key until he came along. Kendrick is an artist that I was very close to working with in the past and it is amazing how quickly he has blown up and all of the collaborations he has gained with Robin Thicke and my favorite Mayer Hawthorne. There is no doubting Kendrick’s success in the hip hop industry and that entire crowd in the Key knows it. I’m expecting a long career from him.
I can’t deny it…I’m not trying to hide it – I’ve got a huge crush on Beat Connection. While Kendrick Lamar was throwing down a very intense show, Beat Connection was minutes away from starting their set on the TuneIn stage. I had to choose. And I chose Beat Connection. I’ve seen them a couple of times, but I’ve always got so much Seattle pride for my bands and having listened to their latest album a lot more recently, I was really excited to see what they would be bringing to the table with their set. It was such a feel-good performance – the kind that epitomizes what Bumbershoot stands for and that is getting out of the dark, scary, expensive beer-ridden Key Arena and being out in the sun! Over the last couple of years, Beat Connection has gone through a bit of a sound transition, but also a member transition and through all that – they’ve still managed to survive. As newly college graduates, I’m excited to see how they will continue to pursue their music more aggressively now that they can focus on it more.
I have to say that there is really nothing like being able to watch a band that you have previously worked with performing on a stage to hundreds at a major music festival. The Physics are one of the nicest groups that I have ever worked with – so kind, genuine, and so very talented. The Seattle music scene is HOT right now and what I love about Bumbershoot is that the festival is always doing their best to highlight these acts on the rise and supporting our local artists. The Physics combine intricate rhymes with a very soulful edge which I find to be pretty refreshing as there’s not always enough of that in the hip hop industry.
Day 2 -
I commend anyone that can make it through an entire Bumbershoot weekend like our contributing writer Cameron Deuel because lemme tell you – that is a task. For the past couple of years, I have done the whole weekend and I usually end up with a nasty flu afterwards because by the end of it I’m burnt out and exhausted. While Monday’s lineup was packed with talent, I had to make an adult decision for my health and decided to do a full day on Saturday and an evening on Sunday to catch Ra Ra Riot and Death Cab For Cutie.
Ra Ra Riot
Once upon a time, I had an opportunity to work with Ra Ra Riot and I clearly made a huge mistake on not moving forward with that decision because they totally killed it on the main stage at Bumbershoot. Attendees were swaying, singing, dancing AND spinning along to their music and it was a positive kick off to the highly-anticipated set by Death Cab For Cutie. Another thing that I appreciate about Ra Ra Riot is that they are simply “good peeps.” Too often, I’ve seen bands and artists treat their fans not so nicely, but the highlight for me that stood out during their set was when the lead singer jumped down to the floor and gave the entire front row high-fives! YEAH! We love stuff like that. Ra Ra Riot’s albums have continued to get even better as time progresses and while I’ve never spoken directly to the band, I whole-heartedly believe that bands that treat their fans with respect will go very far. Keep doing your thang’ Ra Ra, it’s already starting to pay off.
Readers, I’ve been thinking about this performance all weekend long. The last time I saw Death Cab For Cutie was two years ago for Deck the Hall Ball, but even before that, I had the chance to see Death Cab at Bumbershoot with my best friend. We had worked our way up to the very front so that we could be strategically placed in front of Ben Gibbard and even survived a set by Superchunk to do so. It was brutal – so brutal in fact that I couldn’t stand being continued to get sprayed in the face with a hose that the both of us had to crowd surf our way out of there and watch Death Cab on the turf of Memorial Stadium and not in the pit. All that for nothing! What I’m trying to say with this story is that seeing Death Cab is an experience regardless of where you’re sitting (or standing.) I’m not sure if it’s because we have so much hometown love for the band or what, but there is definitely an air of sentimental value for the band from everyone. That night’s performance was a special one as the band promised to perform through their entire Transatlanticism album, which was AMAZING. And with time to spare, Ben let us know that they were now beginning the “second part of the program” which included the following songs:
“I Will Possess Your Heart”
“I am a Tourist”
“Soul Meets Body”
“A Movie Script Ending”
I don’t think I could ever get tired of seeing this band. It’s been ten years since they released Transatlancticism and it’s true – they really haven’t changed. They keep it real and there’s nothing more you could really ask for from a band like that. Also, was anyone else brought to tears by their performance of Transatlanticism? I know it couldn’t just be me and the guy next to me.
Favorite Style Icon: Taylor Swift
T. Swift has seriously stepped her game in 2012. Yes, she’s still sticking to the neutral colored dresses – but hey! That’s okay. It works for her. Taylor Swift is really just doing all the right things when it comes to her style these days and it helps that there are a handful of fabulous designers throwing their pieces at her. It’s awesome. I, of course, am jealous.
Runner Up: Michelle Obama / Kate Middleton
Beat Connection has always been a group that has been so-so to me. They’re great. Their music is awesome. They get buzz in Seattle press all the time, but I was waiting for some kind of “connection” (seriously, no pun intended) to happen. It wasn’t until I heard this song and had in on repeat for a whole evening that I finally reached that “aha!” moment. Okay. Beat Connection. I get you.
Congratulations to these guys who played Sasquatch for the first time this year!
[Beat Connection by Chona Kasinger]
Paste photographer, Chona Kasinger, captured some beautiful portraits of the musicians performing at Bumbershoot this weekend. They include the lovely Alaina Moore of Tennis, those boys of Beat Connection and the illusive duo Joshua Carter and Sarah Barthel of Phantogram and more. Check out all of the portraits here!
Almost a year ago, my dear friend Jack connected me to this guy named Jordan. A student at UW, Jordan, like me was also interested in Seattle’s music scene. At the end of one our last messages, he let slip that he was part of a dj duo and was down to play some shows, but back then I didn’t have any idea of what would become of Beat Connection.
Today, Beat Connection is blowing up! They’re headed to the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas next month and will be making a few trips to Europe where their music has been spinning regularly. So it’s no surprise that they have made it on the list of CityArt Magazine’s Best New Bands From 2010 and bands to look forward to in 2011.
I’m so excited for this group because for the longest time I was listening to them without knowing that it was actually the group that Jordan was a part of. They’ve got a fantastic sound that I know has potential. It’s also a sound that differs from every other band on the scene right now in the Pacific Northwest. To be traveling this much and gaining this much exposure as students is quite impressive.
CityArts has put together a list that is stacked with bands that are just about to take off so if you’re looking for new music at all, this is the place to find it. My other favorites on the list include Shabazz Palaces, Fences, Ravenna Woods, and Campfire OK.
Check out the list here.