PUSA, BSS, OtR & 3 Days of BMBRSHT

Beth and I started out our first day of Bumbershoot by going for coffees at Caffe Ladro. The drinks were good, but it was kind of creepy because one of the guys working there wasn’t wearing anything but a pair of overalls.

Flatstock – We entered the Bumbershoot grounds and headed over to Flatstock, a convention dedicated to concert posters and the artists who design and create them. We didn’t buy anything, but I did get to talk to the guys who created my Minus 5 and Swell Season posters. Here’s what the room looked like coming in:


Trey McIntyre Project – The first Bumbershoot performance we saw was a modern dance project choreographed by Trey McIntyre. I usually say “dance-schmance”, but I ended up liking most of this. I could’ve done without the cross umbrellas, though.

Presidents of the United States of America (PUSA) – My highlight of the first day was the main stage concert by the Presidents. I used to own a cassingle of “Peaches” backed with the delightfully dirty “Candy Cigarette”. I used to love that dang cassingle. I didn’t get to hear the b-side, but they did play “Peaches”, “Kitty”, “Lump”, and a few fun covers. Here’s their complete setlist:

Main set: Lunatic to Love/Kitty/Feather Pluckn/Rot in the Sun/Boll Weevil/Some Postman/More Bad Times/Back Porch/Lump/Shreds of Boa/Flame Is Love/Love Everybody/Ladybug/Volcano/Dune Buggy/Mixed Up S.O.B./Body/Ghosts Are Everywhere/Mach 5/Peaches/Kick Out the Jams–>Shout

Encore: Video Killed the Radio Star/We’re Not Going to Make It

And here’s a video of the last 14 seconds of “Lump”:

Väsen – The next band we saw was Väsen. I never thought I’d ever see the exact same Swedish folk band two times in the same year, but that’s exactly what I did. Beth and I saw them at a fancy refurbished church back in March. It was a very proper affair with the politest audience ever. This time we saw the band from a field of grass while a hippie with tattoos on his face did an interpretive dance. I managed to capture “Festival Guy” in the middle of his dance with the guys from the band in the background:

“festival guy”

PS I Love You – We caught a few songs by this duo. They had a DFA1979-lite sound to them. I probably would’ve liked them had I known their songs beforehand. As it stood, we decided to leave the grounds for a bit and do some shopping over at Easy Street Records. I got a CD of George Seferis’ poetry and a hits collection by the Animals. Beth found the ultra-rare Sonics tribute. I was jealous.

Vetiver – I’d heard a song or two by Vetiver, but I wasn’t prepared for how good they’d be live. I was very impressed. The song-specific highlight for my entire weekend was hearing Vetiver cover “Streets of Your Town” by the Go-Betweens.

Somewhere around here Beth got on my case for not sufficiently enjoying what she calls “festival food”.  She bought a potato with green goo on it and I made myself eat some of it to placate her.  For being a potato with green goo on it, it was quite tasty.  I ended up eating most of it.  Beth knows best, I guess.

potato with green goo

Vusi Mahlasela – I didn’t think I’d care much for this South African singer, but he ended up being a pleasant surprise.  An even bigger surprise was that I actually knew one of his songs.  I found myself singing along to “Say Africa” and was perplexed that I somehow knew a song by a guy I’d never even heard of until a few minutes before.  Beth’s iPhone soon revealed the answer: the song was featured on the Live at KEXP, Volume 6 collection (which I own and have listened to ten times, of course).

Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs – I’ve been a fan of Ray LaMontagne ever since I saw him perform “Trouble” on Conan in what must’ve been late 2004 or early 2005.  I remember writing his name down and going out to Shake It Records the very next day to buy his CD.  Well, I’m sorry to say that Ray LaMontagne’s Bumbershoot performance was one of my biggest disappointments of the festival.  Ray has always had a ragged voice, but it sounded like he needs to quit his tour, go back home, drink some hot tea, and not speak to anyone for a couple weeks.  We left after a particularly rough version of “Trouble”.

SUNDAY (9/4)
Sunday was the dud day of this year’s Bumbershoot.  We only ended up seeing three different performances before ditching the festival and going for a shopping trip at the sadly deserted Silver Platters.

Broken Social Scene (BSS) – Being a person who shops in record stores, reads music magazines, and spends at least an hour a day on the internet (okay, two hours), I couldn’t help but know of Broken Social Scene.  But it was a situation where I’d heard of them without ever actually hearing them.  It took me a couple songs to appreciate their approach, but I ended up liking the band and their concert quite a lot.  In fact, my song-specific highlight for the entire day was Lisa Lobsinger singing “Anthems For a 17 Year Old Girl”.  I also enjoyed the band’s cover of Modest Mouse’s “The World At Large”.  That cover was the only song I knew from the entire show, but I mentioned to Beth afterwards that I’d like to track down each of the songs BSS played and make a mix in the setlist order.  Here’s what that would look like:

Setlist: Lover’s Spit/Stars and Sons/Texico Bitches/ 7/4 (Shoreline) /Fire Eye’d Boy/Sweetest Kill/Cause = Time/Anthems For a 17 Year Old Girl/Meet Me in the Basement (inst.)/The World At Large/KC Accidental

And here’s a picture of the band onstage. It’s not a particularly good picture, but I really like the way the audience looks in the light:

broken social scene

Tennis – I’m not all that familiar with Tennis, but Beth bought their CD despite the fact that its cover art is annoying.  I couldn’t bring myself to buy it, but I listened to their Daytrotter Session a couple times.  They’ve got a good poppy sound.  All their songs sound like a ba-ba could pop up at any minute.  I like that, of course.  Pop, pop, pop.  We watched their concert from five or six different locations.  We just wandered around, paused for a few minutes to listen, and then moved on.  We eventually cut out to go see Jessica Lea Mayfield.  That was a mistake.  Oh well.

Jessica Lea Mayfield – Beth and I saw Jessica Lea Mayfield at the No Depression Festival a couple years ago.  I described her as being “repetitive and slightly boring” but smart enough to end her set with a Buddy Holly cover.  Well, we didn’t stick around to see if there were any cool covers in her Bumbershoot set; we only managed to make it through half of one song.  I know we’re all supposed to like Jessica Lea Mayfield now that she’s popular and has a hoop through her nose, but her band sounded terrible.  If we’d stuck around much longer, I think I would’ve thrown something at the guitarist in the referee jersey.

MONDAY (9/5)
Right about here I was beginning to think that festivals should be two day affairs.  We went down anyway.  We had tickets and the lineup looked a lot better than yesterday’s.

Whim W’Him – This was my second modern dance performance.  The accompanying poetry was spotty, but the dancing itself was interesting.  I particularly liked the second part of Monster where the dancers flailed around on the floor.  Sometimes they looked like malfunctioning robots and other times they looked like corpses coming back to life.  It was kind of weird.

Big Boi – Yes, it’s awesome to hear live versions of Outkast songs like “So Fresh, So Clean”, “Ms. Jackson”, “B.O.B.”, and a whole bunch of stuff from Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, but Andre 3000 was sorely missed.  There was nobody around to sing the Anne Frank line from “So Fresh, So Clean”, so they just skipped over it.  Damn, that’s probably the best line in all of hip hop and they just skipped over it.  I was quite grumpy.  Sailor Babo didn’t seem to mind, though.

ain’t nobody dope as SB

Sharon Van Etten – I’d been hearing some Sharon Van Etten buzz on the internet and decided we should check her out.  She didn’t attract much of a crowd, but I liked what I heard.  I particularly liked the first two songs she played by herself before the band came out to join her.  My personal highlight was a song called “Give Out” which featured the line “you’re the reason why I’ll move to the city, you’re why I’ll need to leave.”  It doesn’t look like much typed out, but it sounded profound in the song.

Over the Rhine (OtR) – I think the best concert performance of the entire festival was Over the Rhine’s show at the Starbucks Stage.  They played twelve songs, nine of which were from their latest record, The Long Surrender.  The songs were the perfect soundtrack for sitting out on the grass beneath the Space Needle while the sun was going down.  It was just a lovely experience.  The hands-down highlight of the show and the entire day was “Infamous Love Song”.  That’s a damn fine song right there and you should probably buy yourself a copy of The Long Surrender just so you can listen to it whenever you want.

Here’s a shot of a girl who looks like April from Parks and Recreation taking a picture of OtR’s Karin Bergquist.  April was up there the entire time.  She must’ve taken 300 pictures:

april and karin

Here’s Over the Rhine’s setlist:

Setlist: The Laugh of Recognition/Rave On/Undamned/The King Knows How/Oh Yeah By the Way/I’m On a Roll/Infamous Love Song/Only God Can Save Us Now/Drunkard’s Prayer/Trouble/Days Like This/All My Favorite People

And yes, I think it’s kind of funny that I flew from Cincinnati to Seattle to see a band from Cincinnati.  They don’t sound nearly as good here, though.  I swear.

Daryl Hall & John Oates – All I really want to say about Hall & Oates is that absolutely nobody goes to their concerts to hear “Adult Education”.  That song is horrible and should be stricken from their setlist immediately.  I went to hear “Maneater” (which they didn’t play when I saw them back in 2007), “She’s Gone”, and “Sara Smile”.  Beth went because I wanted to go.  Once my three songs had been played, we got the heck out of there.  We hopped on a bus full of crazy people, hipsters, and the unbathed.  It was a long ride home full of many interesting sights, sounds, and smells.

Oh, here’s the definitive Bumbershoot 2011 photo.  I couldn’t work it in above, but wanted to include it anyway:

space needle glasses & striped socks

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30 Responses to PUSA, BSS, OtR & 3 Days of BMBRSHT

  1. Lauri says:

    It all sounds like a blast…even the disappointments!

  2. homebody says:

    (I’m so glad Festival Guy made it into your post!)

    • M-----l says:

      I haven’t even finished the post yet. Festival Guy might show up four or five more times. You never know.

      I spent five minutes on “IwaltrayFFe”, but haven’t come up with anything that makes sense yet.

  3. homebody says:

    Mmm… green cossack… yum!

    Good guessing! =the creepy Sad Clown Guy.

  4. Lurkertype says:

    What WAS the green goo?

    I love that Babo is down with old-school hip hop. None of these new poseurs for him, he likes the classics.

  5. phantomxii says:

    Did Hall & Oates play that “you make-a my dreams come true” song? I don’t even remember the title. It was just all poppy and bouncy. I’d like to see them live sometime.

    You should totally have gone up to Karin Bergquist and told her you were from Cincinnati and talked her ear off about it. I’ll bet that’s never happened to her.

    When I think festival food, I think funnel cake. Although the green stuff looks like it might be good.

    • M-----l says:

      That song is called “You Make My Dreams” and we didn’t hear it. We only stuck around for the first nine songs, though. Maybe they played it while we were walking to the bus.

      We couldn’t hang around and talk to Karin and Linford. We had to sprint across the grounds to catch Hall & Oates.

      As far as festival food goes, I also tried a lemonade and a strawberry shortcake. I didn’t see any funnel cakes, but I’m sure they were there somewhere.

  6. Vishy says:

    Looks like you had a wonderful time, M—–l! Wonderful to know that! I can’t believe that there is a band called Tennis! That ‘potato with green goo’ looks quite inviting 🙂 I heard that song by Vetiver at the link that you had posted – it is quite nice! I searched for more songs of their in YouTube 🙂 I also tried listening to one of Jessica Lea Mayfield’s songs in YouTube and it was quite nice. But I am not a music connoisseur and can’t tell the difference between good and boring music.

    • M-----l says:

      It really was a fun, spur-of-the-moment trip with a lot of good music and three of the most beautiful Seattle days I’ve ever experienced.

      Tennis is a silly name for a band, isn’t it? It never really occurred to me until you mentioned it. Now I’m imagining someone with their CD saying, “Let’s play Tennis,” and confusing everybody.

      I’ve never heard a Jessica Lea Mayfield song that wasn’t being performed live in front of me while I was standing in a field. I might enjoy her studio recordings more. She wasn’t bad the first time, but I didn’t like her band at all this time. They were loud and obnoxious for no good reason and took away from my potential enjoyment.

  7. silverchimes says:

    You’ve inspired me to put on The Bird and The Bee’s tribute to Hall and Oates. No “Adult Education” so that’s good. “She’s Gone” was one of my faves back in the 6th grade. I’ll have to give it a listen or two tonight.

    • M-----l says:

      I like that tribute. I think they did a nice job with a project that could’ve very easily been a disaster in the hands of another band. It sounded like they were fans of H&O and weren’t doing it as a joke. I think that’s the key.

  8. crankypants says:

    I love that last photo!!

  9. gingersister says:

    Over the Rhine is my favorite band to see live. I love the spirit of the time. I never leave disappointed, and often am inspired to think, to dream, to wax lyrical on other peoples blogs.

    • M-----l says:

      Wax away, wax away!

      This is the third time I’ve seen Over the Rhine in the Vox/WP era, but the other two times were in-store performances at a book shop. Those were cool shows, but there were little kids running around everywhere and people browsing the shelves. It was kind of distracting. It was nice to see the band put on a proper concert with a sound system, stage, full band, and audience.

      • phantomxii says:

        Oh, man. I don’t even want to think about how long ago I first saw OTR in a full-blown setting.

        Wow. 1990? 1992?

        I just had to go and think about it, didn’t I.

        • M-----l says:

          If I remember correctly, I once saw part of an Over the Rhine show at Bogart’s. I left early because I thought they were boring. I also went to see their opening act at a completely different show and left before OtR even came on. Both of those shows were well over ten years ago. I didn’t care for the band back then. My tastes have changed, I guess.

          • gingersister says:

            My first time was when a friend of mine, well versed in all things heavy metal, told me I needed to come to their Christmas concert. It was probably late 90’s. I agreed to go, and prepared for some headbanging. Instead, I sat there in awe. I remembered thinking “My voice wants to be that voice but it will never be that voice” and “how many weeks can I do without food because I must get some cd’s tonight?” I was smitten, and ever since have seen them every time they’re within driving distance.

            • M-----l says:

              I was just talking about the Christmas shows with a guy at the record store a couple days ago. I’ve never been to one of those, but I’ve always heard good things about them. I know Over the Rhine has a Christmas (or “holiday”) album out. I don’t own it yet, but I’ve been thinking about picking it up this year.

              • gingersister says:

                I would. They’re a lovely addition to Christmas albums. For one such as myself, who really gets sick of Christmas music easily, they are a real treat. I can actually listen to them all year long.

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