by Chris Estey
Maybe it’s how the bands bond intimately with who they know are big fans. (Last year, Two Gallants put on one of the best performances of the festival there.) Maybe it’s the excellent sound (hey, Kevin Suggs!) in the tucked-away special venue. Perhaps it’s the posh, comfortable seats in a cool setting indoors at a festival crammed with hacky-sack playing “dudes” outside, or nary a drum circle to be heard over the artist you’re trying to watch. But if there’s one thing that makes me really happy about the evolution of Bumbershoot over the years, it’s been KEXP hosting the Music Lounge. And this year the line-up is outstanding.
Though it’s pretty much already sold out, there will likely be tickets available for various shows at the KEXP booth on the festival grounds, so people attending should check in. And of course people at home can listen on the radio or Internet. KEXP will be having immediate coverage on the Blog all through the festival.
The Bumbershoot Music Lounge returns for its fourth year with this incredible line-up, all of whom are playing the festival otherwise:
12:00PM - Hey Marseilles
This orchestrally-involved folk rock band premiered some very cool new stuff at this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party; I have the feeling they will be previewing material written since 2008′s To Travels & Trunks this weekend as well. Huge buzz about this Seattle band which recalls a less cantankerous Decemberists -- probably be the next big thing.
1:15PM - Telekinesis
Death Cab’s Chris Walla produced singer/drummer Seattle-based Michael Lerner’s self-titled debut; Billboard praised its balance of “familiarity and individuality.”
2:30PM - Gang Gang Dance
Thriving live and crafting sonic collages since the early part of this decade, Gang Gang Dance are going to be a high point of the festival, and a more coherent and song-based witness of the wildly eclectic band might possibly transpire in the Music lounge. Feel free to go nuts anyways.
3:45PM - Os Mutantes
Responsible for inspiring all kinds of psyche-rock experimentation since the 60s, these godfathers and godmother of the progressive AND punk movements will also be a can’t-miss event for old fans and new strange music acolytes alike.
5:30PM - Elvis Perkins in Dearland
Brass! Clarinet! Sax! Trombone! Roots with harmonica! Their 2009 debut features poetry and Old, Weird America noise. Should be outlandishly fun.
12:00PM - Common Market
206 hip-hop duo CM blends spirituality, social observations, and class war confessions (RA Scion) with some of the best deejaying you’ll ever hear (Sabzi). These guys are really wonderful whether in a very intimate setting or commanding a big stage. One of the sweetest moments you’ll have at Bumbershoot if you catch them here.
1:15PM - Sera Cahoone
Used to be the drummer in Seattle folk-art-psyche band Carissa’s Wierd and is now crooning and plucking for Sub Pop to national acclaim with the more traditional debut Only As The Day Is Long.
2:30PM - Vivian Girls
Listening to the Vivian Girls is like surfing on a dangerous sea of the sweetest foam you’ll ever taste. This three woman band is as subversive in their hooks and lyrics as they are infectious in their grind-pop sound. I bet we’ll hear some stuff off the new album; really looking forward to “The End.”
3:45PM - Holy Fuck
5:30PM - Raphael Saadiq
Used to make ‘em swoon as frontman in Tony! Toni! Tone! and brings his new-trad soul strut to Bumbershoot this year solo style. His album The Way I See It received three Grammy nominations.
12:00PM - Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
This Austin band should please as they play out songs from their basement-gritty home cooked soul-rock Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is! released this year. More brass!
1:15PM - The Cave Singers
This special treat should be way packed out, as the group plays songs from their two albums, including Welcome to Joy, just released on Matador. They’re the quietest band you’ll ever hear roar with sunshine at a big festival, getting even the most stubborn wooters to shut up and bask in their sound.
2:30PM - Akron/Family
Led by legendary Swans founder M. Gira, this mesmerizing collective can go from raging psyche-overflow to more sedate ballads in the drop of a painkiller in an IV. One of the most trance-inducing new folk bands you’ll hear, but their veteran experience kind of helps them achieve that bliss.
3:45PM - Vieux Farka Toure
Malian singer-songwriter who is the heir to innovator Ali Farka Toure. A masterful blend of funk happiness with hip-hop one beat, which will carry the hypnotism of this afternoon’s line-up into the third world.
5:30PM - Metric
Bunch of very talented wavos craft a reportedly killer album out at Bear Creek, their 2009 debut Fantasies impressing all my mates at Three Imaginary Girls. I have to hear that thing -- but Bumbershoot is great for new discoveries such as this!
KEXP is a proud sponsor of this year’s Fisher Green Stage located next to the KEXP booth, the Broad Street stage, and EMP|SFM’s Sky Church. More information on the festival, including the full lineup and schedule is at bumbershoot.org.
*Note* YOU MUST ALREADY HAVE A TICKET TO GET INTO BUMBERSHOOT to attend the KEXP sessions. These sessions are free, but you must sign up below for each session you would like to attend as space is limited. Attendance is on a first come, first served basis. Once you are confirmed to attend, you will receive a confirmation email with details including where to pick up your ticket to the session and other important info.