all photos & text by Chona Kasinger
A couple hundred shot edits, 5 hours of sleep, and a breakfast crepe later, Iâ€™m good to go for another round of Seattle live music and arts. The first act of the day for me, the spankinâ€™ young Natalie Portmanâ€™s Shaved Head, hit the EMPâ€™s phenomenal unsigned artists Sky Church Stage greeted by what must have been the entire high school the band had just recently graduated from. â€œWe are so happy to here! Letâ€™s rock!â€ And rock they did. Imaginary Girl Dana described the young group as the â€œcontemporary B52â€™sâ€.
Shortly after their first three songs, I jetted over to the first Black Rebel Motorcycle show of the day. All from the start of the set went great, until midway through the second song, when an unfortunate insubordination of speakers occurred.
At the sold out BRMC KEXP Lounge performance later in the afternoon, we all saw a more mellow side of the threesome. This may have attributed to the fact that the fact that the KEXP Lounge (at the SUPER secret location right behind the corn cob stand in the volunteer area across the Starbucks Stage)was a lot cooler and overall chiller than the sweltering 85 degrees going on outside.
Never having seen southern roots rock group Kings of Leon live, though knowing of their overall grungy southern hairiness, I was flabbergasted to see NO BEARDS or long unruly hair. As a matter of fact, the Kings of Leon appeared as clean cut as could beâ€¦dare I sayâ€¦they were hot! This group certainly riled up the crowd through old favorites like “Four Kicks” through the duration of their 75 minute stay at the main stage.
Among the contenders for best band name in my mind is Colorado band Apples in Stereo. The keyboardist, decked out in a silver and caped astronaut get up was my favorite. Though clearly aging with many members balding, this group still possesses as much potency as it did n years past, if not more.
I met an Art Brut super fan photographer on day two who claimed to have seen the perform in several different countries across the world, including Glasgow and Berlin. Eddie Argos and co were definitely one of the most malevolently good and sexually frustrated shows Iâ€™ve seen since Disney Princesses on ice. After an extended sound check at the KEXP Lounge, Eddie introduced the band with his thick-as-New-England-clam-chowder accent. â€œReady Art Brut? Top of the Pops!â€
Since having seen Gomez perform at the Moore lat at year with fellow 2007 Bumbershooters Rodrigo y Gabriela, I ws hooked. Naturally, I was magnetically pulled to the stage when I saw that guitarist Ian Ball would be performing. His just-drank-a-gallon-of-throat-coat clear voice resonated with his catchy crunchy riffs and provided great fun for all ages as was seen at the stage.
Andrew Bird enjoyed great success at the Starbucks coming night fall, as he was greeted by what seemed like the collective Bumbershoot press as well as a packed grounds of fans. Andrewâ€™s eclectic pairing of vocals and violin was all it took to draw in even casual passerbys to the stop and muse. A beautiful set to be had by all, Andrew Bird definitely proved to be the Starbucks highlight of the day.
I spied Devendra Banhart relaxing backstage during Art Brutâ€™s set and worked up the courage five minutes before asking for a shot. Here is the result:
Though more comparable to Jack Sparrow in any of the three Pirates of the Carribean movies than an artist at a Northwest Music Festival, he was an absolute sweetheart. His group put on a most enchanting, breezy and dreamy could-have-been-closing set of the day , had I not for reasons that may never be known to me opted for the 9:45 Fergie show at the Main Stage.
Fergie, â€œFergie-Fergâ€ as an acquaintance of mine liked to say, put on a most alarming show to myself. I wouldnâ€™t daer discount its entertainment value and utter irony, but the British capped guards (Fergieâ€™s surrogate strip pole) really made me laugh. What also got me was the fact that the front row of Fergie fans consisted largely of tweens steadily pumping heir fists and chanting.
What the hell is this? Dear friends, what is being played on junior high school busses across King and Pierce County? 225 months young, I think Iâ€™m getting to old for my own good. Today Iâ€™m old. Tomorrow I will be new again. In the words of Kings of Leon, â€œEighteen-balding star.â€
You can see more of Chona’s photos here.