A Slice of Fried Gold

Bumbershoot: Day 3

Thursday, September 20, 2007
So day three begins! I wake up to the sound of my cellular telephone ringing, and I contemplate tossing it across the room immediately. Instead of doing the thing I so desire, I answer it as it is Eric Maloney himself, who had promised to take me to the Airport to get my rental car. Thank god for him, as I probably would have passed out in a taxi because I was...well...I was not in my all time best shape. Folks, let me advise you to not drink Martini's and then go to a Pinball Arcade/Bar. Apparently that can be the recipe for a wicked hangover! (Also, quick aside, I wrote this in two parts as I am lazy/easily tired, so if this is written poorly and/or strangely, blame the fact I have to get up early for work. Stupid work!)

No less, Eric and I snag some McDonald's breakfast (I almost got a McGriddles because Doug Benson...MC of the Comedy Stage North...made such good jokes about them, yet I passed because I am the one person on the planet who thinks they are disgusting) and then head out to get my Toyota Camry. So I was thinking that this would have to be a total crap car. I mean it's a Camry. Don't those suck? Nope! I had such a great time driving it, it was quite zippy, handled well, had tight breaks, and even had a nice sound system. I was shocked. No less, it was still not very fun to drive the car given the aforementioned hangover.

However, I had an hour to recuperate before the first band at the Sound Transit Stage was going to begin, and that was where I was going to spend my entire day. I mean, the lineup for the day was Smoosh, the Blakes, Viva Voce, Tokyo Police Club, the Frames, and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. How was I not going to spend the day there? No less, before Smoosh began I took a 20 to 30 minute nap, then went to QFC, picked up some insanely terrible sushi, Vitamin Water (as brought to you by Fitty), and some Advil. If I felt about 25% before, I felt about 50% after that little bit. I quickly threw all of that down, made my way to the stage as I was late, and found out that I was in fact not late. I was actually early by 45 minutes.

However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the stage was a nice grassy field, and what did I do? I laid down to take a much needed cat nap. I awoke right before Smoosh started to feel almost entirely rejuvenated. 90% had been reached. Success! Now I just needed a nice performance to get my juices flowing, and Smoosh did that for me.

Smoosh being the most precious thing ever

Smoosh, for those that do not know, are sisters Asya and Chloe. What's special about another girl Indie outfit on Barsuk? These girls are 15 and 13 respectively, and even have their 11 year old sister Maia on bass from time to time. I like them recorded, but seeing them live gave me a lot more respect for them as they are good performers (especially Chloe, who is simply amazing on her drum kit), are clearly talented (as seen by their ability to transition from their songs into entirely different styled covers, like their covers of the Eels and Bloc Party during their set), and really inspired the crowd for some bizarre behavior. 6 guys in the crowd had written Smoosh on their chests with markers. It was awfully bizarre. No less, they were a great ray of sunshine to start the day, and I was very glad to have caught them.

Now that Smoosh's set was over, what was a boy to do in the 45 minutes until the Blakes? I mean, I'm almost to 100%, what could get me to that point? Another nap! Yay! For some reason, laying out on that lawn relaxing and resting was pretty much the most desireable thing in the world after walking around and standing around for the previous two days before. I must say, thank you KEXP and Sound Transit for putting on such an awesome stage to allow me to be stationary for a little while. You guys are the best. But now, onto the Blakes!

The main Blake from the Blakes

The Blakes are a very strange band. They don't look like your typical Indie hype band. They just look like dudes. Seriously, they look like guys you'd run into at some run of the mill bar hitting on the bartenders. However, my interest was piqued as the program threw the name Modest Mouse out there in comparison, so hey, I have to get a listen for myself. Now I am not going to say they sounded remotely like the Indie darlings from Issaquah, but I do think they rocked.

They also wore the tightest jeans known to man, but who am I to judge. Perhaps there is some sort of mathematical explanation of the relationship between amount of rocking and tightness of jeans, as pretty much every rocker does that. I don't know, I'm not a mathematician. Anyways, they pounded through their entire set, putting on a very good sounding, albeit slightly low energy set. They definitely brought a real rock feel to the stage though, and that was a nice change of pace.

Up next was another nap, and then Portland, Oregon's Viva Voce, who was one of the bands that I was most looking forward to as I had really enjoyed their music since I had found them searching through my old radio station's new music shelf.

My future wife, Miss Viva Voce

Now I want to make some abundantly clear. I will be marrying the girl from Viva Voce. I know her bandmate is her husband, but I feel as if we should be able to work something out. She was very attractive, absolutely shredded on her guitar, had a beautiful voice, and wore heels and a sundress while performing. What's not to love? I discovered during the performance (and Art Brut previously) that I may just really like girls in bands. They are hot, I must admit. I should have known from when I saw Pretty Girls Make Graves, whose lead singer I found very attractive yet she really isn't.

Sorry, I went a bit tangent heavy there, but that was a big note. Viva Voce was predictably great, playing one of (but not both) my favorites in Alive With Pleasure off of The Heat Will Melt Your Brain, my favorite album of theirs. I just loved the both of them. She was incredible on guitar and had an amazing voice. He rocked the drum set hardcore, sang wonderfully, and gave some awesome vocal emphasis ala John McCrea from Cake during instrumental sections that really made the section rock a litle bit harder. I was unsure before hand how their overall sound would translate into a live performance, but I left very impressed with their performance.

The Damnwells, shortly before I left

Up next, Amy and Hannah had showed up for Viva Voce and they were both rather hungover (no naps on the grass for them!), so they took it easy off to the side while I was up front. After Viva, we went off and got some food and water, then went our separate ways as they were going to catch Kill Hannah and Lyrics Born, while I was going to watch the Damnwells and Tokyo Police Club.

Now the Damnwells were up at 5 pm, and I had to catch them to make my good friend Raechelle horribly envious. However, within half a song I realized that they were not really my style. By the end of the first song, I had already left to go off and check out some exhibits. Not my favorite sound, just not my style, but they did good for what they do.

Tokyo Police Club, with lead singer and awesome keyboardist in view

Tokyo Police Club was up next, and they are the world's favorite hype band. Featured in such mainstream publications as Entertainment Weekly and Spin, they drew a huge crowd of hipsters and posers (such as myself) alike. I had listened to their EP (as that is all they have released) and thought it was good, but was not overly familiar. I'd like to get familiar, because they totally rocked. They rocked much harder after the fact I found out all of them are three years younger than me, which is a really good way to feel much older.

For me to really like a performance, no...for me to love a performance there must be at least one band member that stands apart from the rest. Against band unity I know, but it simply must happen. Tokyo Police Club's was their keyboardist named Graham. He was ridiculously entertaining, running around, kicking beach balls, destroying his hand with his tambourine, yelling out vocals. You know. Normal stuff. He was pure energy, and it made it impossible not to pay attention to the stage at all times. They ripped through 45 minutes of awesome tunes, and I was very appreciative of this given that this was the last stop on their national tour and must have been ridiculously tired. They are a great up and coming band though, and everyone should pay attention for what these guys do because they rock. Even better, I got Graham and Josh (lead guitar) to sign my poster! Yes!

After this, I met back up with Amy and Hannah over near Flatstock, which is the yearly gig poster exhibit and sales area. We snagged some food and coffee real quick, and then they ran off to get some weird art perpetrated to their wrists while I checked out Flatstock. I can't believe it took me that long to check out it, as it was a great time checking out some of the ridiculously creative and genius work some of these guys had put together. It's also always fun to look back at the bizarre tours that bands had been on, and even better to look at the mega tours that took place before bands became who they were. Shortly there after, I met with Amy and Hannah as we were going back to Sound Transit to check out the Frames, whom none of us were really familiar with.

Glen Hansard of the Frames, Ireland's Best Import Since Lucky Charms

The Frames were incredible. There is nothing else that can be said. They were the only band that legitimately competed with Art Brut in terms of surprising awesomeness. Their lead singer, Glen Hansard, was ridiculously engaging and just a joy to listen to. Their entire band (which was somewhere between 6 and 7, can't remember which) were stunning on their instruments. Plus, Amy and Hannah could not stop fawning about how perfect he was, as he was "cute," funny, and very talented. By the end of the set, I was beginning to think these same things. Not in a gay way. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Glen from the Frames signing my poster

One of the best things that happened in the entire set (and I'm keeping it brief as I am tired) was during their encore, just Glen came out to sing a song called Falling Slowly. Amazingly enough, he found a younger girl (probably 16 or 17) from the crowd and got her to come up and sing the female vocals from the song. It was amazing beautiful, and just a wonderful moment for all involved and all that were there. Don't believe me? Check out You Tube. There are roughly infinity videos on there of their performance of the song. I had originally planned on leaving part way through to go check out Lupe Fiasco, but it just wasn't meant to be. The Frames were just too good.

Amy and Glen, future couple?

After their set, Amy and I (Hannah had left to watch Lupe) decided we had to wait for Glen to try and meet him and to get him to sign my poster. Quick rewind here, guess who I got to sign my poster? Walking around in the crowd during the Frames was none other then Ted Leo, and I got Mr. Leo himself to sign my poster. Of course I suffered a debilitating case of "I can't talk to remotely famous people-itis" and managed to talk very poorly to him for a minute, and then instead of saying "bye" saying "Heyyyyy!" in its stead. It was a very poor performance.

No less, back on point. We waited and waited and waited, until Glen actually came out. Apparently Amy and Hannah were not the only people to think he was amazing, as one young woman even asked him if he was married. People were getting him to sign posters for the movie Once, which is about when I realized Hey! This is the main guy from that movie! Very cool stuff, as it had been ridiculously well received and that is another feather in Glen's already overflowing cap. It was very cool meeting him though, and I managed to get him to sign my poster and get a picture (a very red one at that) of Amy and him together. Huge success!

Up next was the deadly duo of Wu Tang Clan and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists...the plan was to stick with Wu for a few songs and then run back to Ted Leo, but you know, plans change.

The many Wu, along with one of their many serving up a 40

I will just go through the Wu very quickly, but the Wu-Tang Clan were up next at the main stage, starting at the same time as Ted Leo, so I had to run over there and check them out. Sure enough, the audience was insane, bordering on potentially violent, and the air smelled like pot. Not to mention rap is silly live, even when it is someone as awesome and legendary as the Wu. I lasted 1.5 songs, and although they were good, that was plenty for me. Onwards to Ted Leo!

Ted Leo pointing out his new bassist

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists were one of the bands I was most excited about seeing the whole time, probably in a four way tie with Apples in Stereo, Wu Tang Clan, and the Shins. Ending the night with two of them was a great idea, and ending it almost entirely with Ted Leo was an even better one. Ted Leo rocked the house, bringing great energy, flawless sound, and had a great rapport with the audience and his bandmates. It was a joy to watch such seasoned veterans having a blast up there on stage.

"This is the weirdest show I've ever played"

Ted Leo himself managed to call this show "the weirdest show" he'd "ever played." Why? People were talking with him about random things, throwing pieces of bread up on stage ("Where did you guys get bread?!"), he fired and rehired his new bassist, challenged his lead guitarist to a shred off, and the bassist was talking it up with the photographers off stage who kept asking them to play their cover of Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone." It was an extremely entertaining set, and I was very happy to hear old favorites like "Dial Up" and "Timorous Me" and new tracks off Shake the Sheets and Living with the Living.

Ted Leo, all alone, covering Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark"

To cap off the great set and the entire wonderful Bumbershoot experience, for the encore Ted Leo came out all by his lonesome and did a wonderful cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Dancer in the Dark." With the Sound Transit Stage's smallest audience of the night (everyone was off watching Wu Tang close out the Main Stage), Ted Leo captivated the audience, and even inspired the lead guitarist/Pharmacist to come up on stage and do the Courtney Cox dance from the video for the song with the lead girl from the roadie crew. It was a very entertaining finish to the night and to the whole festival, and I could not have asked for a much better experience.

Guitar player Pharmacist dancing with stagehand girl

After the show, Amy, Hannah, and I talked about how we're going to make it a yearly thing as we walked back to my wonderful Camry. Sure enough, as soon as we got driving to get to their hotel, the storm of storms began. The three of us literally thought we were going to die as we were pelted with hail, had buckets of rain thrown on us, and lightning crashed down on each side. Every car on the highway was going roughly 20 miles per hour. Of course this also led into an area of no rain at all, us getting lost, and me ultimately not getting intil Portland until 3:30 when my original plan was 1:30. So much for plans!

Band of the day!

This is a tough one. Precious Smoosh? Tight pants Blakes? Really, it comes down to two bands - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists or the Frames. Really, it is a very tough battle. However, even though I prefer them overall, the Frames took it with their masterful performance, their remarkably charming lead singer, and the fact that I got his autograph and Amy got a picture with him. Oh Glen! You are too wonderful.

Surprise of the day!

The Sound Transit Stage, a stage that I thought would be good but boring, was my home for the entire day. And it rocked harder than any where else around over the whole weekend. Good show KEXP and Sound Transit!

Disappointment of the day...

In a day of very few of them, I'd say waking up insanely hungover would be it, but that is cheating as it is not Bumbershoot related. Really, it has to be the Damnwells, as they were hyped and I did not see them as living up to it. Sorry Raechelle!

Day 3 Grade: A

Bands seen: Smoosh, the Blakes, Viva Voce, the Damnwells, Tokyo Police Club, Lyrics Born (snippet), the Frames, Wu Tang Clan, and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

Naps taken: 3 that I recall, and all were wonderful.

So how was the festival overall? It was wonderful. It was everything I expected it could be and more. The best part of the whole show was the fact that my favorite bands of the weekend were the least expected ones. Art Brut and the Frames stood out the most, and I hadn't even planned on seeing either of them. That is what is so magical about this type of thing. You go in wanting one thing to make it great, and you leave having another thing making it even better than you thought it could be. Can't wait for next year! Let's see the lineup!

Bumbershoot Grade: A-


sheri said...

So I just have to point out the totally not bumbershoot related part...

But what made you think a Camry sucked? They are the higher end Toyota. Anyway.. They're pretty nice. Especially if you have leather interior a sunroof and a V6 engine in it. :)

And.. I was not so much jealous of other days, but Day 3 did sound quite nice. :(

Where's the review of Astoria?

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