Monthly Archives: September 2010

The Bumberdiary part 3

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

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.

The Bumberdiary part 2

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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The Bumberdiary Day 1

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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