Bumbershoot 2014 - Sunday Credit: Christopher Nelson
This year’s Bumbershoot music festival has arranged its three-day lineup by assigning each day a different genre. It’s not a rigid rule; there is a fair amount of eclecticism in every day’s schedule, but Saturday has more hip hop, Sunday is rife with rock, and Monday is majorly EDM. Tickets for a single day are an arm and a leg, coming to about $100 after fees, but the star-studded lineup still makes it a tempting proposition. Here’s our take on a schedule that will get you to the best of the fest:
The festivities begin mid-afternoon. Get there early, at 2:30, to see one of the smartest and most uncompromising figures in the Seattle rap scene, Raz Simone. He raps with a level of social consciousness and verbal alacrity rivaling Kendrick Lamar, but with a darker demeanor. Funky neo soul group Grace Love and the True Loves plays immediately after at the same stage. Grace Love, the lead singer, has an ultra old-school voice that’s sweet yet powerful, much like Etta James. If you can bear it, leave this a little early and walk to the mainstage for classic Minnesota rap duo Atmosphere, who play at 4:15. These quarter-century veterans of the rap game are also very socially conscious. Fast forward a bit to post-punk sounding indie group the Airborne Toxic Event, who play at 6:15. The sardonic, poetic, and utterly inimitable indie outliers Cake are next at that the same stage, coming on at 8. Jazz/electronica fusion maestro Flying Lotus plays at 9. End the night by seeing the Weeknd’s beautiful, nightmarish R&B set. He is Michael Jackson and Prince, and R. Kelly, all filtered through a glass darkly.
Kick off Day 2 with singer-songwriter Mikal Cronin at 3:15 p.m. There’s a good amount of guitar, but you’re just as likely to hear banjo or fiddle glimmering through the gaps in his singing. After that, it’s time to turn things up a notch or 10 and see the Melvins at 3:45 p.m. Their hybrid of punk and metal is a bit reminiscent of Black Flag, and definitely an influence for Nirvana — The Melvins were formed in 1983. Brand New, some of the most poetically tortured souls in indie rock, play at 5 p.m., followed by another classic rock group, Social Distortion, at 6:45. Wrap things up with another contingent of guitar-music career professionals, Faith No More. The band’s first album, “We Care a Lot” came out in 1985. Their sound — slightly funky, driving guitar riffs with high-profile vocals — was heavily influential on the widespread hard rock explosion of the late ’90s and early 2000s.
Consider asking for a day off on Tuesday; this is going to be an all-day dance party. Big Data will elevate the energy level at 2:30. Best known for his darkly funky single “Dangerous,” this DJ/producer understands the business of club music, blending generic EDM stylings with just enough funk and hip-hop influence to keep everybody feeling fly. A great electronic artist of a different color, Robert Delong, is next up at the same stage. He belongs to that esteemed category of musicians who make the beats, play them live, and sing over them. Brandon Flowers, front man for indietronica darlings The Killers, will perform his new solo material at 5:15 p.m. Take a break from the EDM madness at 6:45 p.m. and see psychedelic Latin rock group Devotchka. Highlights include epic whistling, theremin wizardry, and probably a tuba at some point. Head back to the neon haze at 8:45 p.m. and see dance pop goddess Ellie Goulding. Finish the night with Dubstep progenitor Bassnectar at 10 p.m. and call it a weekend.
If you go: Bumbershoot Seattle Center Sept. 5, all ages ($99 per day) — J.S.H.
Musician: A Portrait Project *
Here’s an opportunity to walk into a room full of legends and feel like you’re schmoozing with the maestros of Seattle’s music scene. More than 160 full color photographs, all shot by Ernie Sapiro, hang throughout a gallery. There’s Sir Mix-A-Lot looking sly; Megan Jasper and dog, both looking sweet; (the late) Jini Dellaccio looking like the royalty that she was. “The goal of the show was to take pictures of a bunch of artists who have made the Northwest music scene what it is, blow them up real big, hang them all on a wall, and have a big ‘ol party. Mission accomplished!” says Nancy Guppy, who produced the show. If your time it right, you might show up just as someone cool (like, oh, Ruby Bishop) is getting a cellphone photo of herself in front of her portrait and then sitting down to play the piano that’s in the middle of the room.
If you go: Musician: A Portrait Project, Union Stables, through Sept. 13 (Free) — F.D.
Peggy Piacenza’s Touch Me Here
Peggy Piacenza, the luminous Seattle choreographer and contemporary dancer, performs a solo “movement memoir” about her search for intellectual, spiritual and sexual intimacy. A longtime leader of the local scene, Piacenza dances, sings and talks in a show that weaves in the provocative with the decidedly vulnerable. Performed to an original live score by cellist Scott Bell.
If you go: Peggy Piacenza’s Touch Me Here, Velocity, Sept. 3 and 4 ($20) — F.D.
Rainier Beach Art Walk*
The 5th annual Rainier Beach art walk will feature live music (marimba, gospel, reggae), spoken word, break dancing, a Haida master carver, calligraphy, a giant chess board, a martial arts demonstration and chickens — yes, chickens, at the Seattle Farm Coop/TILTH booth. What I’m most looking forward to: a performance by the jazz/soul group The Teaching at 4 p.m.
If you go: Rainier Beach Art Walk, Rainier Beach Community Center, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 5 (Free) — F.D.
Gastropod’s last week!
We’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that the artful food and brews that have drawn praise and fans to Sodo restaurant Gastropod will live on in Brewer Cody Morris and Chef Travis Kukull’s new restaurant Mollusk, which is set to open in October in South Lake Union. The bad news is that Gastropod is closing after two years in business. This week, head to Sodo to experience the creations and ambiance of this lovely space before it’s too late. Chef Travis Kukull Kukull sources ingredients from a small list of local purveyors – Hama Hama Shellfish, Local Roots Farm, Mikuni Wild Harvest – and pairs and prepares them in ways that are always delicious, unexpected and inspiring. Go for the cold tomato and melon soup with ghost-chocolate-fatali pepper oil, creamy, perfectly balanced and utterly addictive. Or try the okonomiyaki, Gastropod’s take on the Japanese pancake, currently served with geoduck and anchovy roasted broccoli and covered in bbq sauce and chili kewpie. For dessert, there’s basil-aquavit ice cream, deep green and drizzled with a balsamic glaze. Help them lighten their moving load and take home some beer – maybe the cherry saison or spruce tip pale ale, or one of their many sours.
If you go: Gastropod Sodo, Tues. – Sat., 4-10 p.m. through Sept. 11 – N.C.
Blood Squad’s Multum Homicidum*
I’ve seen Blood Squad around 10 times over the last few years, and each time it’s been laugh-out-loud, side-achingly funny, appealing to every person I’ve ever brought with me, and spoiling me for most other improv. This weekend, the four-person improv troupe takes on another subgenre of horror — the hyper-intelligent, methodical serial killer. Friday night will be Part 1 of the sinister tale, while Saturday night will act as Part 2. Go to both or just one — each individual show will stand on its own — but snatch up your tickets ahead of time because it is sure to sell out.
If you go: Blood Squad, Annex Theatre, Fri. 9/4 and Sat. 9/5 at 8 p.m. ($10 per show or $17 for both) – N.C.
* events that are under $15