Just like that, another year of Bumbershoot festivities has come to a close. Quite similar to Saturday and Sunday, Monday was packed to the gills with a nearly endless list of acts worth your time and attention. We braved the impossible for the third day in a row and tried to catch them all. Find pictures of your favorites below! Otherwise, catch live video of the performances from the 2013 KEXP Music Lounge on the blog soon.
Bumbershoot Day 3 got the energy going pretty quickly – maybe even before soreness and/or hangovers had worn off from Sunday. Kicking the day off on the Starbucks stage were local party rockers Hot Bodies In Motion. Not ones to be mellowed out by their 11:45 start time, the band put together an interaction jam session of a set, getting the crowd all warmed up for their day.
Hot Bodies In Motion:
Anacortes band Bellamaine opened up the Fountain Lawn stage on Monday to a great crowd. The band has recently celebrated the release of new EP An Anxious Mind, which hosts their warm Seattle synth pop sound in wonderful exposition. Playing new and old tracks for their early afternoon set, Bellamaine constantly drew numbers as their set wore on until the fountain lawn was pretty well smattered with people. Overall, it was a successful show for this rising act and a great treat for anyone in the vicinity.
Seattle alt-country veterans
Brooklyn punk band The Men are on fire right now. They’ve popped one excellent album out the door for three years in a row now. The blistering impact of 2011’s Leave Home, the progressive turn towards melody with drive on 2012’s Open Your Heart, and the increase in country and classic rock kicks on this year’s New Moon - they just can’t lose. But what’s better is that putting rubber to the asphalt, The Men bring every bit of their album glory to the stage. They threw a killer show on the Fountain Lawn stage in the early afternoon for all those who chose a more rowdy alternative to Alt-J. Whatever these guys do, it turns to blood spattered gold, and that seems to be alright with them.
“This is the biggest show we’ve ever played” Joe Newman spoke into the vast chasm of Key Arena, as sporadic shouts and cheers echoed back at him. He was right too - Alt-J exploded last year after the release of their debut record An Awesome Wave, and now, here they were at Key Arena with a house packed to the rafters and delta signs being thrown in the air all the way to the back of the venue. Alt-J like Seattle, and that’s a good thing, because Seattle seems to like them back a lot. For such a massive turnout, Alt-J’s set was actually surprisingly mellow. Minus the raw power of radio singles like “Fitzpleasure” and “Breezeblocks”, much of Alt-J’s debut album tends towards quiet melody and intricate guitar work. But the relaxing mood never once deterred excitement. As the band started in on every track, cheers erupted from the audience and sing-alongs happened all across the wave of fans. I’d say that Alt-J’s Bumbershoot set was another win in their string of stops in Seattle – to say the very least, no duds yet.
After playing a kickass set at KEXP, resurrected punk rock band of brothers Redd Kross took to the Fountain Lawn stage for one hell of a throw-down. In case you were wondering, their brutal, high energy show has not withered with age. Redd Kross still throw down and did just that at the Fountain Lawn stage for the rowdy crowd present. A worthy addition to this year’s Bumbershoot lineup, they brought some hot blood and confrontational energy to a day mostly pre-occupied with casual rocking.
After being declared one of the best live acts to see time and time again, it’s surprising that Kopecky Family Band is just now releasing their first full length record on a publicly accessible label (ATO). But with a smattering of great EPs from 2008 until now and one heck of a live show, the world hasn’t forgot about the Nashville indie rock band, and now more than ever, they seem ready to take the world by storm. Today, they took Seattle by storm, gathering a solid crowd to the Plaza stage and validating every bit of their hype.
Kopecky Family Band:
Baroness had a pretty rough year last year. After releasing their third (and most critically acclaimed to date) record Yellow & Green, a tremendous bus crash in England put the band out of commission for a solid chunk of time. But now, Baroness are back out on the road and stronger as a live unit than ever. Bumbershoot got a taste of their unique metal approach Monday evening on the Fountain Lawn stage. Baroness gathered a great crowd and rocked the crap out of the lawn. If you weren’t there, then you can know full well that the noise in the distance striking fear in your heart and distracting you from enjoying whatever you were watching was definitely Baroness.
Sol is synonymous with Seattle hip hop. After the release of his second record Yours Truly, we bid him farewell on a round-the-globe fellowship with a sold out show at Showbox. Now, just just a couple months ago, Sol is back in the great northwest, and in time to play a set for us at Bumbershoot. To no one’s surprise, the turnout at the TuneIn stage was massive. Sol rocked the house and gave every fan present the evening set they wanted, as the lovely weather and setting sun gave Sol just about all the atmosphere you could need. A lovely set from a wonderful Seattle artist, Sol’s Bumbershoot set was most excellent.
Nineties DIY rockers Superchunk return this year with their 10th studio album I Hate Music, an album with a title that should make every Superchunk fan giggle and surprise none of them. Since their formal return from hiatus in 2010, Superchunk have pretty much picked up exactly where they left off. As we saw on the Fountain Lawn stage Monday, they haven’t lost an ounce of their steam. Mac McCaughan bounces across the stage, shredding and screaming and singing like he runs on batteries, while the band piles through songs like nobody’s business. You are kidding yourself if you didn’t have fun at this set. Old fans and first time listeners alike kept piling in as the set went on until there was almost nowhere left to sit or stand. It just goes to show that unlike many of their peers, Superchunk’s return isn’t one driven by financial and creative disparity. They are just a band who started by rocking their own way and they are going to continue to do it now.
Seattle folk band Ivan & Alyosha took to the Plaza stage for a wonderfully pleasant set Monday evening. Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary’s little project seems to be getting a bit bigger every year. This year, the band released their first full length, All The Times We Had, after a string of EPs dating back to 2009. As their live instrumentation gets more dense, their sound becomes more and more inviting, and with a great record to flaunt, Ivan & Alyosha’s was a subtle delight.
Ivan & Alyosha:
Nashville alt-country songwriter Justin Townes Earle could not be any more charming, honestly. “You’re kidding yourself if you think you play the same song you wrote a year ago the same way”, he prefaced one of his older tunes, “Me, I just can’t remember them”. With this dry sense of wit and playful banter, Earle guided us through his Monday night set at the Starbucks stage. Earle’s five records boast a delightful collection of accessible alt-country, and with a set sweeping much of his catalogue, Earle invited us into his space for a quiet and soothing experience. He is a songwriter as much as he is a storyteller, and much like classic roadhouse country, the full experience of his live set was found both in the music and the conversation between tracks. Earle brought warmth to the cool evening and gave us one of the more pleasant sets of the day.
Justin Townes Earle:
Being Seattleites ourselves, we’ve gotten to watch Allen Stone grow into himself for a couple years now. With an excellent LP and a growing presence of fans across the country, partly in thanks to nationally broadcasted performances on both Conan and Ellen, Stone just keeps growing. And Seattle has kept an eye on him for long enough that you start to think “Alright, he’s near his peak”. But with his massive Bumbershoot performance Monday night, Stone once again shot down any possible presumptions in the crowd. He just keeps getting better on stage, rocking his completely unique hippie soul vibe now with more and more classic soul influence. His interactions with the band, his inflection on the lynchpin notes, his handling of the crowd with increasing amounts of swagger as opposed to awkward charm - he’s got it. Almost like returning to a parent’s home after time away, Stone comes back to Seattle to show us what he’s been up to and how he’s grown, and sure enough, he’s been doing a lot of it. The city’s newest hometown favorite helped begin to wrap up the Bumbershoot 2013 festivities with one of the better performances we’d seen all weekend.
Brooklyn band The Lone Bellow closed out the Plaza stage Monday night with a set of some of the city’s best country music. Zach Williams’ own interesting life story and unique style has allowed him to put forth a pleasant breath of fresh air in the big city. The Lone Bellow’s debut record showcases this nicely. Today, Williams brings his band to the west coast to entrance us with his spinster’s tunes. To no surprise, the Plaza stage closer was a great one.
The Lone Bellow:
Atlanta band Deerhunter closed out the Fountain Lawn stage with easily the biggest crowd we’d seen gathered around it all weekend. Packed from the stage to the fountain and almost 200 feet across, the sea of people all packed in to see Bradford Cox and his critically acclaimed band do their thing. Maybe see isn’t the right word - Deerhunter aren’t an intensely visual experience, but they sound incredible. The band’s completely unique mixture of art-rock, punk, ambient, post-rock, and electronic music is near almost incomparable to anything else on the scene today. Of course, Bradford’s hair does give us a bit of a clue as to who their influences of old may be. Channeling his inner Thurston Moore, Cox led the band and bantered with the crowd with completely appropriate weirdness. “You guys are too violent, so I’m sitting this one out”, Cox declared as he passed the microphone duties to Lockett Pundt for the next track. Of course, with Cox’s stream of consciousness lyrics and ambient delivery, it didn’t really make much of an impact on the enjoyability of the set. While there were a few sing-a-longs happening in the crowd, most were just seen with closed eyes or deep gazing towards the stage, entranced by Deerhunter’s weird groove. A highlight of the day, Deerhunter closed out the Fountain Lawn stage with a bang.
The Joy Formidable threw down at their KEXP Music Lounge set, so much so that many present may have had their fix for the Welsh band contented. But with a change of clothes and a haunting green light, The Joy Formidable took to the TuneIn stage to close out Bumbershoot 2013 with a murderous amount of energy and presence. The turnout was great, and the wait was well worth it - the Joy Formidable’s live set is one for the books. Ritzy Brian’s prowess as a frontwoman puts her in a league of one on the scene today. Throwing around her guitar like a toy and bounding across the stage with fluidity, it’s impossible to make it look as easy as she does. Her bandmates do a pretty killer job too. Rhydian Dafydd on the bass and Matthew James Thomas on drums both play off of Ritzy’s abounding energy quite well, albeit trying to keep up with her here and there. All of this being said, it was terribly unfortunate that power issues caused the band to have to exit stage for a short time while technical issues were worked out. But when the band eventually returned to a crowd of stalwart fans, they brought even more energy and closed out the festival with a deliriously good time.
The Joy Formidable: