Tall Tales Of An RM Girl At Seattle’s Most Beloved Music Festival
Date: September 10, 2012
Venue: Seattle Center
City: Seattle, WA, USA
Highlight: Watching Sky White, of Foxy Shazam toss his keyboard into the crowd,then chase in after it- all without missing a note.
Reviewed By: Lex Mars
Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music and Arts Festival, after 42 years, has grown to become North America’s largest urban arts festival — and you bet your pretty little heads that Remember MEdia was there. As if we’d miss a chance to party in Seattle.
Okay, let’s back up a bit. 6 months ago, if you told me I’d be going to Bumbershoot I probably would have laughed and asked what kind of name Bumbershoot was, (I grew up in Alberta, so Seattle was kind of like never-never land, I’m new to these things, okay?) Some sort of hillbilly-country music festival? Low and behold, I found myself checked into a hotel a couple blocks away from Seattle Center gathering my tickets, lipstick and iPhone (after a healthy dose of hairspray, of course) on my way to the gates to experience my first year at “Bumbershoot”.
As this was an impromptu trip, I wasn’t there for work so much as I was for pleasure. Without a media pass on hand, interviews to rush to and an after party to host, I had the chance to experience the festival like it was real life… and the thousands of calories that came with it. This is my Bumbershoot 2012 diary.
Friday August 31st
The Day before Bumbershoot (I can’t help but do a bit of pre-partying, can you blame a girl?!):
A little last minute packing never hurt anyone anyways. Especially when there is a bottle of Riesling involved — classy compared to my normal Jack and Coke.
Even classier: showing up to the Rickshaw theatre in Vancouver clad in the tiniest of black dresses, combat boots, carrying a duffle bag which contains my life for the next 3 days and a purple patent leather Coach purse. I must have resembled quite the vagabond groupie.
Dig Your Graves, a local Vancouver hardcore band, were playing alongside Hoopsnake, Burning Ghats and Baptists. A phenomenal combination of local talent. The evening was spent enjoying good music, friends and much Jack Daniels (after the Riesling of course, you didn’t think I would cut it completely out of my evening?!) The perfect farewell to Vancouver before my mini-vacay.
Saturday, September 1st, Day 1
Jack and Coke aside, I was awfully bright eyed and bushy tailed on Saturday morning. I’m a morning person, what can I say? That and a girl’s gotta’ look good. I do not to sacrifice a good hair day for a lazy hangover sleep in, nor do makeup in the car. I need full bathroom, electrical outlets, proper lighting and chilled champagne (preferably). We hit the road bright and early, and as per usual sat at the boarder for hours. Road music of choice? Title Fight, Letlive, Defeater and Four Year Strong.
Checked in at the hotel and headed to the grounds, our first mission was lunch. With dozens of food trucks to choose from this was the beginning of my steady decline for the weekend. It’s starts innocently enough with yakisoba noodles and ends tragically with three days straight of deep fried peanut butter cups.
I say that like I regret it. I regret nothing. Especially deep fried peanut butter cups.
The first band we checked out after lunch was a local Seattle metal band by the name of Black Breath. What could have been a Herbal Essences commercial with a metal soundtrack, was an incredibly timed and skilled performance by men with beautiful hair. The venue was spacious; a bit intimidating for any performer, but Black Breath’s loyal fans managed to fill it up.
“Unfortunately the sound man seemed to have a bit of a thing for bass and the sound levels were wayyyy off. There was so much womp that even Skrillex would have asked to turn down the bass.”
The most memorable moment from their performance being when vocalist, Neil McAdams, announced they were going to play a “slow one” and instructed the crowd to “grab that special somebody and mosh their dicks off.”
Post Black Breath, we wandered the grounds exploring the vendors and grabbing some cotton candy. Finding a place to lay on the grass was easy, but during that little break we took, we had the unfortunate experience of catching THEE Satisfaction’s set. I can assure you, we were left completely dissatisfied. Their performance was, well, lame. A female two-piece, THEE Satisfaction seemed to lack the talent that is required to captivate a crowd. Stage performance aside, musically speaking they seemed to have very little going for them.
We quickly escaped back to the Exhibition Hall, to catch the last metal band of the evening, Eye of God. My partner in crime for Bumbershoot had insisted we check them out, though he was a little skeptical as he mentioned the last thing they put out was a split in 2004. I on the other hand am skeptical of EVERY metal band that has “God” in their name. The room had a larger crowd than Black Breath, so obviously expectations were high. The stage was sprinkled with 5 middle aged men who look like had been drinking and smoking since they were 8 years old, out of shape and tired looking, my expectations continued to drop.
“Mike Williams, the vocalist, appeared to be carrying around what looked like straight vodka. It’s rare that you can find a musician who can perform while absolutely hammered — let a lone a whole band of them.”
Then it happened, we found THAT band. A group of dirty-south badasses. The moment they started playing, the room came alive. They were perfectly in tune, on time and killed it. Performing without a set list, these veterans of the metal scene communicated flawlessly using hand signals. I tip my hat to you, Eye of God.
Before we knew it the evening was ending and they were clearing out the crowds, fortunately for us PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) was in town. Knowing a few of the blessed who had passes to PAX (which gets you major points in the gaming scene to score one of those) we had the opportunity to enjoy a bit of Seattle night life. Nerd style.
Hitting up the Taphouse in downtown Seattle, we managed to shut the place down. Much to everyone’s surprise, I was not abducted by a neckbeard, albeit the entire place being overrun with many a nerd adorned in the much-coveted PAX pass.
Sunday, September 2nd, Day 2
The lineup was much less impressive for Sunday, so we opted for a mid-afternoon nap rather than wandering the grounds. One of the best parts of the day was catching Yelawolf, live and killin’ it on the Intune Stage. I had heard tons of positive things about his performance, but went in with absolutely no expectations and a completely open mind.
I have 2 things to say about my Yelawolf experience:
1) Holy mother of God, do Yelawolf fans LOVE their weed. You could find the stage he was playing at from a mile away, all you had to do was look for the giant cloud of smoke.
2) He is fiiiiiine. Southern, tattooed and raps about Jack Daniels. Uhm, boy, you can drive my daddy’s Lambo any day you like.
Overall, Yelawolf surprisingly impressed me; he was dedicated to his set working hard to impress his fans (with just a minor slip up where he mentioned that his video for “Pop the Trunk” was shot “here in the streets of San Francisco.” … we were in Seattle, obvs). If you’re not feeling rap, I still highly recommend checking out at least one Yelawolf performance. Two words: dem abs.
The end of the day closed on an ironic note, we made a point of checking out Keane, of Grey’s Anatomy fame, purely for the single “Somewhere Only We Know.” Sorry for getting that song stuck in your head for the rest of the evening — or maybe the rest of the week.
Monday, September 3rd, Day 3
Our third and final day started on an absolutely stunning note: Reignwolf. I’m noticing a theme amongst artists, it seems that these days everyone has an obsession with wolves. I sincerely hope this leads to an obsession with eagles. Let’s do Americana a solid and start this trend off by wearing incredible marble-fade crew necks adorned with eagles and American flags.
Reignwolf was wonderful. Jordan Cook, or Reignwolf to his fans, blew the crowd away early on in the day. Playing a noon set can be a bit intimidating, but there were many faces in the crowd, all excited to watch him work his majestic guitar skills. Casually walking onto the stage, he brought with him a street performer who specialized in playing rhythm on buckets (talent that had been spotted playing earlier on the outskirts of the festival). An unexpected move, playing his first song accompanied by a complete stranger, but completely astounding to watch someone follow along so naturally. Reignwolf not only has the talent to hold his own, but the appreciation of music to spot talent in others.
Following Reignwolf, we made our way back to the Exhibition hall, (after a short detour to the food truck serving deep fried peanut butter cups, of course) only be shuffled into a large line for our chance to see Foxy Shazam.
“This was the highlight of my entire trip. Watching Eric Nally flail on stage, tossing his mic whenever impulse struck as pianist, Sky White, tossed his keyboard into the crowd, only to follow — not a note missed while playing, trusting the hands of strangers to keep him from surrendering to gravity. “
Flying trumpets and incredible vocal ranges, Foxy Shazam is the perfect mix of stage presence and musical talent. For those seeking a comparison, think the kind of weird you would find at a Blood Brothers show before their break up.
Nally ended the set on a cringe-worthy note, chomping down on 6 lit cigarettes after telling a story where even the music got drunk. Fucking epic.
Followed by our typical trip to the Cheesecake Factory in downtown Seattle and a trip to duty-free to pick up 52 ounces of Honey Jack Daniels, thus concludes our saga.
The festival itself was quite enjoyable, and we could only hope that it continues to bring such talent. However, now I must recover from walking for 3 days straight and look into my options for whiskey friendly cleanses to rid myself of the evils (read: delights) of deep fried candy.
Until next time.