saturday, september 1 - monday, september 3 seattle center, seattle wa
review by janice some photos by mike/others from bumbershoot.com
Wow, wow, wow! Mike and I had so much fun
at this annual festival, that we're already anxious for next year! For a mere $12 a day (less if you buy your tickets early), you get a jam-packed day of music, film, art and literature. I just found the whole thing so darn exciting! Here's what we did, and who we saw:low saturday, september 1
My goodness! Low
performed in the gorgeous Opera House. How completely appropriate for their haunting, lovely sound! Alan and Mimi's angelic harmonies resonated gorgeously in the walls of the Opera House, ascending towards balconies up high and reverberating throughout the aisles. They performed "Sunflower", and later "Dinosaur Act" from their latest album Things We Lost In The Fire
. How could someone not be enchanted? I was so disappointed to see so many people getting up and leaving to see Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
, one girl actually saying, "Stephen will be more fun
than this!" Ouch!
And, actually, I was commenting to Mike after leaving their show that Alan seems much more funny since the birth of his daughter, Hollis. At one point, the band stood staring and smiling into the rafters, until finally Alan explained, "Our daughter is behaving really well over there." Someone in the audience shouted, "Bring her out!" and Alan replied, "I will not
"whore her out". However, if she grows up and decides to pursue that path, we will support her in her endeavors." Alan cracks me up. He's just so dry and deadpan. At another point, someone asked, "How old is she?" and he answered calmly, "Twelve."
But then the cutest thing that happened was Hollis eventually came out on stage. Alan seemed a little embarrased. "This is so manipulative. This is like bringing puppies out on stage or something," he cracked. He went on to explain, "We're sorry about this. Usually she's in bed right now...with someone...back at the hotel..." and the awkward phrasing of this sentence made people snicker. Me included. Alan shook his head. "You're sick, sick people."damon & naomi saturday, september 1
We stopped and watched Damon & Naomi
perform for a little while. The former Galaxie 500
members added the guitarist from Japanese noise-outfit Ghost
to their live line-up, and thank goodness for that. His soaring, electrifying guitar work added a much-needed punch to the (dare I say it?) dull performance of Damon & Naomi. Also, my first thoughts at seeing Damon? He looks like Peter Frampton
. He has the same fine, blond thinning hair, and he was wearing his red button-down shirt quite
unbuttoned, thank you very much. Mike thinks he looks like Wallace Shawn
, the actor from "The Princess Bride."damon photo credit: Stefan Claudiusbuilt to spill saturday, september 1
And then we ran out to Key Arena to see Built to Spill
. Now, apparently, our opportunities to see them live are quite abundant around here. I'm glad, 'cause then maybe their next show will be more enthralling. I don't really know how to say it, but I really didn't think their set was all that great. I don't know how to explain it exactly, but there just seemed to be an energy or enthusiasm lacking. I was watching the audience down at the foot of the stage, and there didn't seem to be a lot of rocking out going on. They weren't bad
by any means, but...well...
The boys really gave an "arena rock" performance. At one point, someone in the audience invariably called out for "Freebird." And, lo and behold, they tore into the Southern-rock standard for the next ten minutes. Some lighters went up, but it seemed to me that the initial spark of "Wow, Cool!" faded into nervous chuckles and sideways glances at the mid-mark of the song. Another crazy cover they did was Cheap Trick's
"Dream Police" which personally I preferred.jon auer monday, september 3
We were wandering around the Seattle Center, taking in the sights, watching the acrobatics, pointing out the Hello Kitty balloons. Nothing much was going on that afternoon, so we peeked into the Jon Auer
show. I don't know much about him, aside from the fact that he was a member of The Posies
. When we entered, he was doing a rockin' version of Madonna's
"Beautiful Stranger." Funny. He played a few other songs, too, all with that sort-of 90's guitar-rawk thing going for it. Not bad, by any means, but sadly, a bit dated. So, we decided to resume our wandering...david cross and friends monday, september 3
So, we had some time to kill before David Cross
began performing at the Comedy Stage. We meandered around, listening to the different musicians, checking out the different food booths. And then we passed the Comedy Stage and saw a long line had already begun to form. "Is this the line for David Cross?" It was. So, without missing a beat, Mike and I jumped in line. Almost 90 minutes before the show was even supposed to start. Thankfully, a passing-by improv group from the Literary Stage came by to amuse us. (They were totally cute. I wish I could remember their group name...) And Mike and I amused ourselves by counting the Seattleites wearing all-black. Not just a black t-shirt. Not just black jeans. But head-to-toe black. You'd be surprised!
They finally started to let people into the theatre, and thank god we just happened to pass by the theater when we did, and thank god we got in line. Because as luck would have it, we were one of the last people to fill the remaining seats. We had to wait 90 minutes for the privilege, but oh my god
it was SO worth it!!!David Cross
is one-half of the brilliant duo of Mr. Show
. For his Bumbershoot show, he was joined by three fellow comedians. Together, they did readings from the "Vagina Monologues" with excerpts from "Letters to TV Guide" concerning their Game Show Issue. Then, they read from a cheesy naive film script that apparently some inexperienced young hopeful sent to a friend of David's in Hollywood. It was so freaking funny! Their performance even included all the misspellings and grammatical errors of this script! Oh, my lord, it was so hysterical. And, then, David introduced a young comic...Nick Swardson!
Mike and I were so totally surprised and delighted, 'cause we've seen his stand-up on Comedy Central and Conan O'Brien, and we think he's hysterical. So, he told a few jokes, and then it was the exciting conclusion of the lame-naive-screenplay (titled something ridiculous like "Cocaine is the Devil and something-something-something" - I can't remember...). It's was really one of those things where you just had to be there, but David had me laughing so hard my sides hurt and I couldn't breathe. And then, at the end, Bob Odenkirk
jumped on stage, tearing up the screenplay and demanding royalties for their performance because he owned the rights
! Ha! It was really so whirlwind and wacky. Definitely worth the wait, and certainly a highlight of Bumbershoot for me. SQUAGLES!guided by voices monday, september 3
After a semi-decent lunch/dinner thing, and a failed attempt to catch a glimpse of the breakdancing finals (it was so crowded, we couldn't see a thing), Mike and I went back to the Key Arena to see our faves Guided By Voices
. Before the show started, we continued our count of all-black wearing Seattleites. We got up to 64 before the show started.
I was SO disappointed that there weren't a lot of people there. Stupid G Love & Special Sauce
were on the main stage, so chances are, a lot of people were there. Fools! 'Cause GBV never fail to rock the house!
I'm just going to gush here for a minute: Not only do I love GBV, but I especially love their fans. At every GBV show we've been to, the crowd has always been so effusive and enthusiastic! Everyone was rocking out, pounding their fists in the air, jumping up and down, singing along with Bob Pollard. It didn't matter that there weren't as many people there as there were for Built to Spill. It was just way more fun.
So, Mike and I sat down "court-side", I guess you could say, and we were enjoying the show. And then I looked over to the "V.I.P." section, and holy moly, there was Bob & David
from Mr. Show
! I'm talking about in arm's-length distance from me! I was so totally charmed! They blew off G Sauce
for our boys from Ohio! Right-freaking-on! I must say, it made me love them even more.
There were no surprises on the set list: they played the usual "I Am a Scientist," "Glad Girls," "Chasing Heather Crazy", etc. They did "Baba O'Riley" which wasn't as much of a fabulous surprise as it was the first time we saw them do it live. (Nothing will ever exceed the level of energy and excitement from that first time we saw them do that song live in Austin, TX...) Oh, and although we didn't include them in our count, four out of five GBV members would fit right in to Seattle...with their all-black ensembles. ; ) Ha!