Live at Bumbershoot 2014, Day Two: The Replacements, Mission of Burma, The Dismemberment Plan, and The Head and the Heart

photos by Brittney Bollay

The Replacements - 6:15 p.m.

Twelve months ago, you could probably count the number of people who thought the Replacements would ever play another gig on two hands. Paul Westerberg hadn’t played live in nearly a decade and Tommy Stinson had been a regularly touring member of Guns N’ Roses for even longer. But, starting with last year’s Riot Fest gigs, the pair – backed by ‘Mats superfans and onetime Westerberg sidemen David Minehan and Josh Freese – have been sporadically playing festivals and headline shows, and perhaps even more surprisingly, they’ve met the hype. A band with a catalog and reputation like the Replacements’ could have easily gotten by on nostalgia value alone, so credit is due to Westerberg and Stinson for putting just enough effort in to perform, but not enough to make it seem contrived. Like the rest of the reunion shows, Saturday evening’s set was somewhere between gloriously sloppy and amazingly competent; Westerberg’s greatest strength was always walking the line between pensively wounded and disastrously self-destructive, so for every highly self-aware off hand comment (“Do you guys want to hear a song by Lorde?”), there was a snapshot of the earnest man behind the songs (his voice going soft during the line in “Alex Chilton” talking about the aforementioned songwriter’s death). The list of highlights could go on for a while – “Can’t Hardly Wait”, opening with “Favorite Thing”, their cover of The Jackson 5′s “I Want You Back”, all of Tommy Stinson’s burns on Paul Westerberg – but the one that stands out the most is the encore. Without much warning, Westerberg jumped into the photo pit and began playing “Left of the Dial” with his back to the audience, before turning around for the final verse, locking eyes with the diehards on the barrier as they sang the closing lines of “And if I don’t see ya, in a long, long while/I’ll try to find you/Left of the dial” together in ragged unison. It was an unplanned, highly unorthodox, and highly affective move on Westerberg’s part, but at the end of the day, that’s what the Replacements were all about.

Mission of Burma - 7:00 p.m.

At this point, Mission of Burma are in the rare scenario where they’ve recorded about three times as much material post-reunion as they did during their initial run. It’s a little bewildering on paper, but seeing the still-kicking live quartet thrash out material from their entire run helps it all make a little more sense. Roger Miller, Clint Conley, Peter Prescott, (and post-reunion addition Bob Weston) remain as frenetic as they were when they were in their twenties, and while the audience was less familiar with the produced after 1983, the band seemed unfazed, focused solely on kicking out the jams. Of course, when they did pull out a classic like “That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate” or “That’s When I Reached For My Revolver”, the crowd joined the band in their frenzy. Like the band’s reunion as a whole, better late than never, right?

The Dismemberment Plan - 9:00 p.m.

Even though their best work was driven between the tension between youthful idealism and reality (or, in simpler terms, being confused in your twenties), The Dismemberment Plan seemed pretty happy on Saturday night. “Usually we’re staring at a beer advertisement when we play festivals,” noted frontman Travis Morrison, “but tonight we’re staring at the Space Needle. That’s a blessing.” Morrison and bassist Eric Axelson’s humorous interactions with a crowd member identified as “Seth Rogen” aside, the band’s set drew primarily on the singular, self-aware indie rock that, fifteen years later, still sounds fresh when Travis Morrison teams up with the audience for one liners while the rhythm section bounces back and forth between song sections. Complimenting the band’s late ’90s/early ’00s material were songs from their recent, middle-age document Uncanney Valley, which, much to the chagrin of some critics, finds the band in a fairly happy mood. The band all have day jobs now – most of their recent gigs have been one offs on the weekends, rather than proper tours – so they’re just doing it for kicks at this point, but maybe that’s what they were dreaming about when they were in the van touring behind Emergency & I: if you can come out of early adulthood in one piece and still play music with your longtime friends on the weekends, maybe you’re doing alright after all.

The Head and the Heart photos by Dave Lichterman

The Head and the Heart - 9:30 p.m.

It seemed like the moment everyone (who wasn’t waiting for the Replacements) at Bumbershoot was waiting for the Head and the Heart, so when 9:30 came around on the Mainstage, the metaphorical stage was set for a set that wasn’t anything but triumphant. After a few songs, it was clear that the Head and the Heart were going to deliver on that hype. Even though they’re starting to regularly play bigger venues and festival slots, there’s an additional element to playing a large, outdoor headlining set in your hometown, but the sextet rose to the occasion. The quiet moments (“Sounds Like Hallelujah”, “Winter Song”) still felt intimate, and the more anthemic songs, of which there were many more, felt like they were always meant to be experienced with an audience this size. Even though they verbalized it throughout the set, the beaming expressions the band wore onstage said volumes more of what the gig meant to them, and for good reason: in the past four years, Seattleites have had plenty of chances to see The Head and the Heart, but nothing like this – the homecoming heroes couldn’t have asked for a better night, a better crowd, or a better moment to cap the second chapter in their book.

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Live at Bumbershoot 2014, Day 3: Nada Surf

photos by Brittney Bollay

Labor day weekend in Seattle means only one thing to music fans: Bumbershoot! Each year, crowds pack the Seattle Center to the gills for three days of music, comedy, film, and much, much more in one massive celebration of art, local and otherwise. Once again, KEXP brings you closer to the bands you love with the Bumbershoot 2014 KEXP Music Lounge, a collection of exclusive KEXP performances and broadcasts for select audiences throughout the day. Here on the blog, you’ll be able to see photos from each performance throughout the day. Keep it tuned to KEXP for the best of the Bumbershoot 2014 action!

Few bands have the impeccable consistency and timeless charm as that of Brooklyn indie rock band Nada Surf. Last year, the band came through Seattle to headline an evening of Barsuk’s 15th Anniverary celebration, playing through their 2002 record Let Go in its entirety. Long time KEXP favorites and Barsuk affiliates, Nada Surf seem to churn out one brilliant album after another as the years go on, the latest – 2012’s The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy - being no exception whatsoever. Matthew Caws has a gift for bringing celestial truths down to the surface of the earth for our ears to hear, each song teaching us how to love each other and love ourselves with greater purpose. Here in the Music Lounge, we get to hear them strip down their sound for an even more intimate and impactful connection.

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Bumbershoot 2014, Day 3: The Reverend Horton Heat

all photos by Brittney Bollay

With a career spanning three decades and eleven studio albums, The Reverend Horton Heat has set the standard for rockabilly music. Texas born singer-songwriter Jim Heath worked behind the scenes as a sound guy for many bands in Dallas before he decided to step into the spotlight and start his own band in 1985. When Heath decided on a name for the band he simply dropped the “H” from his last name and chose to pay homage to famous rockabilly legend Johnny Horton. Once he recruited a few talented artists, the band moved to Seattle and in 1990 their first album, Smoke ‘em If You Got ‘em, was released on Sub Pop. As with any long-running band, members come and go. The current lineup includes Heath and upright bass player Jimbo Wallace, who has been with the band since 1989, and drummer Scott Churilla. Their music has achieved wide commercial success and has been featured in several video games over the years. Guitar Hero Smash Hits even showcased their famous track “Psychobilly Freakout.”

The music lounge was cranked to 11 for the Reverend Horton Heat’s set here today. The place was a packed house, with at least two dozen people crammed standing in the back. But every single person glad they were there - Jim and the crew threw down a vicious set of rockabilly brilliance here today. The three-piece is as tight as it gets, with each speeding number done with perfection only outdone by the energy. Plus, the band does not shy on showmanship. For the band’s 1993 classic “The Devil’s Chasing Me”, Jimbo Wallace laid his bass down on its side and played sideways while Jim Heath ripped out a 3 minute solo on top of it. For the slow six burner “Loaded Gun”, each guitar signature only seemed to further accentuate the drunken simmer at hand. Even twenty years later, all of the classics sound as brilliantly effective as ever, mixing a sensual mixture of devilish intention and danceable sensation. But the new numbers sounded just as good - “Smell of Gasoline” from the band’s 2014 Rev made for a ripping opener with a great hook. Jim and the boys proved their place at the top of the rockabilly food chain. There’s no doubt they’ll be rocking the Starbucks stage to the ground later tonight.

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TV Eye: Week of 9/1

Shovels and Rope // photo by Matthew B. Thompson (view set)

KEXP has our TV eye set for this week in late night television. Set your DVR, TiVo, or just drink some coffee to stay awake for these musical guest performances on your favorite talk shows. Here are the highlights:

Monday, September 1st:
The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon: Jack White (R)
Jimmy Kimmel Live: Bob Mould (R)

Tuesday, September 2nd:
Jimmy Kimmel Live: Wiz Khalifa
Last Call with Carson Daly: The Crystal Method, Milagres (R)

Wednesday, September 3rd:
Late Show with David Letterman: The New Pornographers
Last Call with Carson Daly: Lucius (R)
Conan: Shovels & Rope
Ellen: Ray LaMontagne (R)

Thursday, September 4th:
Late Show with David Letterman: Alt-J

Friday, September 5th:
Late Show with David Letterman: Kevin Drew
The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon: Fences featuring Macklemore
Tavis Smiley: Chuck D

Saturday, September 6th:
Austin City Limits: Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell

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Live at Bumbershoot 2014, Day 3: Hurray For The Riff Raff

all photos by Brittney Bollay

Coinciding with the rise in popularity and influence of American roots music, a new generation of songwriters has cropped up to transcend the stories and culture that inspired their predecessors and paint pictures of modern American life. At the forefront of this new chapter is Hurray For The Riff Raff leader Alynda Lee Segarra, whose songs use traditional instrumentation to describe a modern picture of America. Raised in the Bronx, Segarra left home at the age of 17, opting to hop freight trains around the country in order to see the world. Upon meeting fellow nomadic musicians, Segarra decided to pursue music while continuing to travel, and by 2008, she had found a musical home in New Orleans and formed Hurray For The Riff Raff as her primary musical outlet. After four self- or independent-released albums, this year’s Small Town Heroes brought the band into a larger spotlight, and in a time where myriad cultural and racial issues are being brought to national attention, there’s no better time for a songwriter like Segarra – a queer-identifying feminist – to tell those stories in her music.

Segarra opened the set by herself, with the beautifully reserved “The New SF Bay Blues”. Segarra is as commanding as be in the reserved music lounge context. Her pained lyrics and soaring voice combine to make for a powerful experience. But when her bandmates joined her for the upbeat “Blue Ridge Mountain”, the vibe really came alive. The band’s third track was an instrumental jam complete with crowd interaction where appropriate. Throughout their set, Hurray for the Riff Raff kept the energy up and the crowd engaged - an excellent way to continue the day’s festivities.

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Live at Bumbershoot 2014, Day 3: Valerie June

all photos by Dave Lichterman

With a voice nurtured by her Tennessee church roots, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Valerie June skillfully combines gospel, folk, bluegrass, and a bevy of other genres in her music. Known for her distinct voice, June was determined to succeed as a solo artist and taught herself to play guitar, ukelele, and banjo. She’s been active since 2006, self-releasing three albums and eventually began a Kickstarter to fund her first studio release, Pushin’ Against a Stone. The album, released through Concord Music Group, was produced by Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) and Kevin Augunas (Florence + The Machine, Edward Sharpe).

Live in the music lounge, surrounded by an armada of stringed instruments, with jangling percussive instruments at her feet for stomping, Valerie June’s spirit seems to emanate from another time. Introducing songs like “Twined and Twisted”, she talks about the dreams that inspired them, and how the melodies sang to her and not the other way around. For “Workin Woman Blues”, she nodded to her grandmother who just turned 89, and described a setting where she hoped to be surrounded by the other women who have worked so hard over the years in her family to celebrate the power and the collective joy therein. Every song for Valerie June is a story - a melody set to the scene of a specific time and place, where June happily brings her audience with each change of an instrument. Down to earth, playing her set as if from the center of a living room full of loved friends, she also carries an air of solidarity, as if each song is a journal entry of a story later to be shared with the world. June started off Monday’s music lounge action with a deeply effective and beautiful set.

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Live Around Town This Week

Ken Stringfellow // photo by Brittney Bollay

Monday, September 1st

Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival at Seattle Center // All Ages (more info)

Wednesday, September 3rd

Earth, King Dude at The Crocodile // All Ages (more info)

The Flavr Blue (DJ Set) + Kung Foo Grip at Neumos // 21+ (more info)

The Spits, Constant Lovers, Unnatural Helpers at Chop Suey // 21+ (more info)

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Monday Music News

photo by Julia Brokaw/courtesy of the artist

  • Surprise! While you’re enjoying your Labor Day weekend, rock n’ roll rabblerouser Ryan Adams shared the full stream of his new self-titled 14th album -- his first in three years. The album hits the streets September 9th via PaxAm Records in conjunction with Columbia, but you can listen to it now at NPR Music. Adams hits the Paramount Theatre on Monday, October 6th. [NPR Music]
  • Legendary San Diego post-punk outfit Drive Like Jehu called it quits in 1995, but reunited over the weekend for one night only at San Diego’s Balboa Park. No, it wasn’t for charity, and it’s reportedly not the beginning of more reunion shows: the band say they did it for the chance to perform with the giant Balboa Park organ. Watch footage from the reunion below: [Pitchfork]

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Bumbershoot Music Lounge: Day 3 Begins

Polyrhythmics // photo by Brittney Bollay (view set)

Time flies when you’re having fun, which has been evident at the 2014 Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival!

It’s hard to believe it’ll be our final day broadcasting from the Music Lounge, and we’ve got another wonderful line-up, including soulful sweetheart Valerie June; New Orleans-based Americana group Hurray for the Riff Raff; legendary psychobilly trio The Reverend Horton Heat, beloved Barsuk-band Nada Surf; and Seattle’s own psychrockers Rose Windows.

Listen to these live sessions all day long as KEXP broadcasts from the Bumbershoot Music Lounge!


12:00 PM - Valerie June
1:15 PM - Hurray for the Riff Raff
2:30 PM - The Reverend Horton Heat
3:45 PM - Nada Surf
5:30 PM - Rose Windows

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Live at Bumbershoot 2014, Day 1: Wu-Tang Clan, Polica, Mac DeMarco, Dude York, and more

photo by Dave Lichterman

Bumbershoot 2014 kicked off Saturday in spectacular fashion. Variable weather didn’t prevent the thousands upon thousands of music fans from flooding Seattle Center throughout the day and celebrating the brilliant and eclectic mixture of art on display today. From cool, R&B grooves of Donnie and Joe Emerson to the hip-hop veteran showcase of the Wu-Tang Clan, Saturday couldn’t have started the weekend off to a better start.

photo by Dave Lichterman

Capitol Hill garage rock favorites Dude York jumped on the Pavilion stage early in the day to get the party started right. After an entertaining soundcheck (conversation topics included a battle between Twix and Nutrageous and 30 second cover songs abounded, including Kanye’s “Bound 2″), the band said hello to their sizable crowd and proceeded to rip mercilessly through a 40 minute set. Much of the band’s fantastic Dehumanize made it into the setlist, including “Cannibal” and “Eighth Grade”. For a young band, it’s amazing how well the Capitol Hill three piece has their stage presence down. Peter rips through one guitar line after another before dueling instruments with Claire, both with mock glam rock expressions on their faces before cracking up and trying to get it together again. Meanwhile, Andrew just blasts through one caveman battering after another, always with a smile (and at this particular show, wearing official Disney 101 Dalmatians jeans - did you even know that was a thing?). Altogether, Dude York got Bumbershoot started off right. The Capitol Hill band continue to prove themselves as one of the most exciting and refreshing acts Seattle has.
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