Today, Sunday, was supposed to be the slow day for me at Bumbershoot, the day I just had to exercise a little patience and endurance to get from Saturday to Monday, although I kept wondering how a day that featured both Kishi Bashi and Pickwick could ever be considered "dull." But as it turns out, the weather held up (mostly sunny, no rain), and the music, after a slow start, was terrific. Here's a recap:
To be honest, I never really gave this guy much of a chance, just stuck my head in the Pavillion Stage for a minute or two, and then wandered off to go see Hobosexual.
A drum-and-guitar duo, the unfortunately named Hobosexual played loud, crunching rock with long hair flying and metal influences clearly displayed, but it was hard to figure how seriously they were taking themselves, and how seriously we needed to take them.
Far better than the first two bands of the day, Golden Gardens trafficked in ethereal, slightly gothic, electronic soundscapes, with spacey vocals floating over the wash of sound. They kept asking us to dance, but we didn't. Welcome to Seattle, folks.
Loud. Metal. Ignorable.
Kishi Bashi didn't start until 3:00, and at one point this morning I thought about staying away from the festival until then, but I'm glad I got there early enough to catch those initial bands and to get a good position one row off the rail for Kishi Bashi. The people around me didn't seem to know him or what he does, and it was fun watching them discover as he unpacked his bag of tricks.
After a slow start, the festival schedulers put me through the paces for the next several hours. After K. Ishibashi's set ended at 4:00, I had to rush over to the Endzone Stage in Memorial Coliseum to catch Craft Spells, who started promptly at 4:00. I missed their first song (After The Moment?) or two, and got there as they were already playing, but I stayed for the rest of their short, 30-minute set.
80s faves The Dream Syndicate started at 4:30 just as Craft Spells finished, so I had to hustle from the Endzone Stage in Memorial Coliseum to the Starbucks Stage by the mural for their set. Bonus points for an extended John Coltrane Stereo Blues full of squealing guitar dissonance, and for getting to see
Mike Mills Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey watching the set from backstage.
Negativland's set overlapped with The Dream Syndicate's, so when it sounded like the latter was wrapping it up, I bolted over to the Pavilion Stage to catch Negativland's set in progress. Much to my surprise, there was a long line to get in (I apparently underestimated Negativland's popularity with the Seattle audience), but once inside, I was treated to their caustic wit, righteous indignation, and bizarre mix of sampled sounds, highjacked video, and electronic music.
Things slowed down after the Negativland set, and I was finally able to get some dinner, and I met Tomo Nakayama walking through the crowd with his new puppy (he was kind enough to gracefully acknowledge my recognition). After eating, I had to choose between watching the band Pickwick (the best band you never heard of), hear an all-star, Big Star tribute, or catch San Fermin, all scheduled to play at the same time (why couldn't the organizers put any of these bands on before 3:00, when I would have appreciated their presence?). I eventually moseyed over to the Fisher Green Stage where Pickwick was scheduled to start in about 45 minutes, and surprisingly was able to get a spot right on the rail at center stage, a rare feat for a crowded, evening set. I almost didn't recognize lead singer Galen Disston due to his new haircut (the former, Dylanesque look is gone), but Pickwick was on fire and played unquestionably the best set I've heard from them yet, and they even trotted a six-man horn section out onto the stage to accompany them on their final three or four songs. A special night by the band, and I knew that I had made the right choice.
My original plan had been to leave after Pickwick, but since I got the center stage rail, I realized that all I had to do was stay right where I was to get the same spot to see funk legend Bootsy Collins from a once-in-a-lifetime vantage point at the front of the stage, a nearly impossible feat for a Bumbershoot headliner (and I can honestly say I don't expect to ever see Bootsy from that spot again). Bootsy is a natural entertainer and showman, and his set was fun, exhilarating, thoroughly entertaining, and, well, funky. I'm glad that I stayed.
So that was the "slow" day. I didn't expect to be rushing around so much from one stage to the next on the "slow" day, nor to have heard so much terrific music. A slow start to be sure, but once it going, wow. And Monday looks to be every bit as special.