My friend Brent helped me cover Bumbershoot 2010. Here’s
part one of his running diary from Labor Day weekend.
Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs: Interesting
thing here. At last year’s Bumbershoot, the first act I saw was
fellow alt-country chanteuse Kristen Ward, also at the Mural stage.
I wasn’t impressed with her and said in my Bumberdiary last year
that she doesn’t hold a candle to Star Anna, who was not on the
bill. Well I think someone took what I said to heart, because
in that exact same spot this year was Star Anna —and she proved to
the patrons why she deserved to be there.
Her soulful, smoky croon was entrancing whether it was on
rocking alt-country tunes or slow-burning blues romps, which was
delivered perfectly by a band that has improved (and been through
some changes) since I saw them play a free show last summer at the
tiny park a block away from my apartment in Wenatchee. They’ve
certainly come a long way since then, as evidenced by guest spots
by Seattle songstress Carrie Akre and Pearl Jam guitarist Mike
McCready, both of whom were fantastic. Also of note, me and my main
man Travis Hay (proprietor of this here site) met McCready later in
the day during Neko Case’s set. I’m still shaking from the thrill
of meeting one of my all-time heroes. I don’t think I said one
comprehendible word. But I digress.
Plants and Animals: I listened to their KEXP
live set during my drive over (actually, I’m pretty sure they were
partly responsible for the ticket I got while blowing through
Issaquah), and I knew they were going to be a band not to miss.
I’ve been digging their record for a few months now, which is hard
to classify but has elements from modern folk rock, a little pop
whimsy, and some ambitious arrangements. On the Broad Street stage
they came out with more crunchy thunder and driving grooves than I
was expecting (a good thing), and the singing was exceptional and
not unlike the direction Arcade Fire took on their new album. This
is a band to watch for sure.