Spin the Black Circle

Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.
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Posts Tagged ‘Bumbershoot 2010’

PHOTOS: Bumbershoot 2010 Day 3

Friday, September 17th, 2010
Japandroids :: by Jason Tang
Jenny and Johnny :: by Jason Tang
Jenny and Johnny :: by Jason Tang
Baroness :: by Jason Tang
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The Bumberdiary part 3

Friday, September 17th, 2010
Here’s the final installment of the Bumberdiary, as written by my pal Brent.

Moondoggies guitars :: by Brent



People Eating People: Somebody from The Candy had to go support PEP drummer and one-time contributor Brian Turner, former skinsman of Schoolyard Heroes, and I was glad to do it because PEP is super good. The group has expanded to four members, bringing in an ace bassist and a second keyboardist/singer, but it’s still all about Nouela Johnston’s songwriting, clever keyboard playing, and astounding vocals. The first song was an exercise in heart-tugging epicness, and it only got better from there.


Trampled By Turtles: Like Old Crow Medicine show? Here’s your new second favorite band.

The Whigs: I latched onto these Athens, Ga., natives at Bumbershoot ’08, and they’ve only gotten better in the meantime. Whereas before they were more in the vein of Kings of Leon, they’ve since added a serious heft to their sound and weren’t completely out of place on a stage that closed with a pair of metal acts. The sound was total rock, but so was the show — frontman Parker Gispert, a total dead-ringer for 1969 Neil Young, is something to behold live, shaking every ounce of sustain out of his guitar, hopping around on one leg, climbing on amps, screaming … it’s as entertaining as a guitar-playing singer can get.

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Bumber-shot: Brent Amaker and the Rodeo

Friday, September 17th, 2010
Brent Amaker :: by Jason Tang


As was expected from Brent Amaker and the Rodeo’s rain-riddled Labor Day morning Bumbershoot performance, the set was filled with a few theatrics, lots of cowboy twang and a good dose of boot-scootin’ honky-tonk boogie to boot. This made for a great way to start the final day of Bumbershoot.

Entering the stage escorted by the always wonderful Bunny Monroe (who was wearing a pink nurse outfit), Amaker led the Rodeo into musical battle as they blazed through a set filled with old and new material giving a bit of a tease for what’s to come from the group’s latest offering Please Stand By (which is excellent btw).
Rodeo guitarist Tiny Dancer should be given a Medal of Valor or the cowboy equivalent of a Purple Heart or something like that for his triumphant return to the stage. He broke his leg a few months back and BAR’s Bumbershoot set was his first show back with the band. Lesser men may have sat out the session because of such an injury, but Tiny didn’t let a walking cast interfere with his duty to turn the twang up to 11.  Aiding in Tiny’s recovery was Bunny Monroe who tended to Tiny during the set by lighting his cigarette and checking his pulse while he stood up (he was seated for most of the show) to touch his pedals.
If you break BAR down to their simplest form you could say they’re just a bunch of Men in Black putting on a show while playing cowboy tunes. Is it a bit gimmicky? I suppose that depends on who you ask. Is it fun? Hell yes it is. Gimmick or not, the band’s unique approach to music make BAR one of Seattle’s most lively and fun acts to listen to and watch. Like most of my favorite Bumbershoot locals that performed Labor Day (Victor Shade, Lisa Dank) Brent Amaker and the Rodeo are taking risks by doing something that isn’t being done in local music and that’s what makes them so damn good in my book.

PHOTOS: Bumbershoot 2010 Day 2

Friday, September 17th, 2010
School of Rock All Stars :: by Jason Tang
Fresh Espresso :: by Jason Tang
Lonely H :: by Jason Tang
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The Bumberdiary part 2

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Here’s what my buddy Brent had to say about  his experiences at the second day of Bumbershoot 2010.


Crash Kings End Session :: by Brent

Crash Kings: The day got off to a slow noontime start during Crash Kings’ EndSession set, where they played a few of their head-bobbing pop tunes. I’m not entirely convinced this band is going to stick around as a viable draw, even though “Mountain Man” is a delightful blast of catchy keys, bouncy bass, and head-sticking vocals. It’s just that they’re too much like Cold War Kids, and I’m not even sure if CWK has the legs to sustain their success in today’s musical climate. I hope I’m wrong, because Crash Kings has some serious chops — guitar or no guitar (check it here).

Hole: Courtney Love is a friggin’ maniac, and she cannot be stopped. I attended only the EndSession, and was pretty much the train-wreck everybody was expecting but didn’t receive during the main stage set. I knew this was going to be some seriously awesome stuff when the line for press to get in was four times as long as the contest-winner line, and when it didn’t get going until 45 minutes after scheduled. Courtney and some pretentious British guitarist who was CLEARLY drugged out of his mind played four songs, including a fantastically awful cover of Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” but this was not about music in any way, shape, or form.

Love rambled for most of the hour, completely ignoring questions, playfully bantering with Heavier Than Heaven author Charles Cross, name dropping more celebrities and pseudo-famous manager types than you even knew existed, giving out utterly useless facts about her childhood, and spewing information about Kurt Cobain, daughter Frances Bean Cobain, and their legal matters as if it that is totally something she should be doing (I’m guessing her legal counsel freaked the fuck out when they found out about all that she had said). It was surreal, and after bearing witness to the spectacle, I know one thing for sure: Courtney Love MUST go on a speaking tour. She’s the next Henry Rollins.

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PHOTOS: Bumbershoot 2010 Day 1

Monday, September 13th, 2010
Mike McCready (right) with Justin Davis of Star Anna & the  Laughing Dogs :: by Jason Tang
Jamie Lidell :: by Jason Tang
The Head and the Heart :: by Jason Tang
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The Bumberdiary Day 1

Monday, September 13th, 2010

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.

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Tonight: Sing a song, win Bumbershoot tickets at Ozzie’s

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

I bet if you were to take all of the acts who have performed at Bumbershoot throughout the festival’s 39-year history, ranging from REM to the Black Eyed Peas, you’d get yourself quite a cool karaoke playlist.

If you wonder what that playlist might look like you should head on over to Ozzie’s in Queen Anne tonight for Bumberaoke. It’s a Bumbershoot-themed karaoke contest that begins at 9:00 and the person who delivers the best karaoke rendition of a song by an artist who has performed at Bumbershoot will walk away with tickets to this year’s Bumbershoot Arts & Music Festival. Contestants will be judged on five categories including: song choice, vocal quality, showmanship, audience reaction and the mysterious ‘X’ factor.

Full disclosure, I will be one of the judges for the contest along with KEXP’s DJ El Toro and Imaginary Victoria from Three Imaginary Girls. We’ll be judging contestants starting at 9:00 and going until around 12:20 a.m. The selection of karaoke songs for the night will all be songs by former or current Bumbershoot artists.

So warm up your pipes and come on over to Queen Anne tonight for a shot at free Bumbershoot tickets.


Bumbershoot 2010 replaces Exhibition Hall with outdoor stage, beer garden

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Bumbershoot stage area

There’s been a lot of talk recently about what to do with the empty space on the Seattle Center grounds where the amusement rides and parlor games that made up the Fun Forest once lived. Proposals range from building a Dale Chihuly glass museum to making it a new space for KEXP.

Since a decision on what will permanently be done with the area that is now being called “Center Square” won’t be happening for a while, the folks at One Reel found a way to put the space to use during Bumbershoot. The mostly empty space in front of EMP – which currently houses a basketball court and a hay maze for kids (pictured to the left) – will be used for an outdoor stage and a beer garden. This new stage won’t be in addition to the festival’s multiple stages, instead it will (thankfully) replace the Exhibition Hall stage.

The Exhibition Hall is a cavernous concrete cave of a spot to see a band and I welcome its demise. It ranks right up there with Showbox Sodo as one of the worst places to see a show. Replacing it with an outdoor stage that will house more people is a smart change to Bumbershoot that will not only make the festival experience better but also provide broader exposure to the artists who play that stage.

Speaking of acts playing the new stage, I’ve been told the programming for the new outdoor stage will be the same as the programming in Ex Hall, which means you’re going to see a lot of Warped Tour types play there as well as the almighty Anvil. According to a One Reel representative, there will also be “spectacle programming” between bands. Pair that with a beer garden and a hopefully sunny and weekend and you’ve got a winning addition to one of summer’s best festivals.


Bob Dylan, Hole, Weezer & Mary J Blige to headline Bumbershoot 2010?

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Not much is known about this year’s Bumbershoot Festival other than that it will be happening Labor Day weekend and that EMP Sound Off! winners Great Waves will be performing (I also hear that some Ear Candy’s favorite local bands that weren’t booked last year will be on this year’s bill). However, the new edition of Rolling Stone contains some interesting information about the headliners for the 40th edition of Bumbershoot.

According to page 36 of the magazine, Weezer, Bob Dylan, Hole and Mary J Blige will headline this year’s festival. However, those headliners have not been confirmed by One Reel, the company that organizes Bumbershoot. The lineup for Bumbershoot will be released June 2. I have sent an e-mail to One Reel seeking comment.

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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.