Bumbershoot Music Festival is located smack down in the threshold of the bustling city of Seattle. It takes place in the last official week of summer thus typically concluding the sparkling and seemingly endless days of the 8 week festival phenomenon. For those of us that are less inclined to Burning Man and more inclined to Wu tang Clan this festival grabs the other half of die hard music lovers slurping on to summer like the nectar of buck a shuck oysters so delightfully suitable on an sunny Sunday. That stated Bumbershoot’s timing is designed to be bittersweet – and it is.
For starters, Seattle isn’t particularly dazzling, it’s interesting, big and important for various cultural and historical reasons but it’s not an invigorating experience of the American renaissance like Portland or Austin.
The festival takes place around the space needle and caters to the young and drunk. It isn’t particularly well organized, Starbucks runs half of it and surroundings are by no means festival-esque. However, if none of that stuff bothers you then it’s a great time with an equally great lineup celebrated by thousands, as the festival is virtually impossible to sell out. Bumbershoot offers musicians, comedians, authors and speakers making it a three-day festival of music, mind candy and soul food. I found myself with the rare opportunity to see Bill Nye, Mac De Marco and Wu Tang Clan in a row. Other exciting acts include the sizzling SZA, Valerie June, Kishi Bashi, Elvis Costello, Mavis Staples and Danny Brown.
Kishi Bashi is Kaoru Ishibashi’s self recorded and produced project who also plays with Of Montreal and Regina Spektor. He is a unique and uplifting marvel currently outfitted with a stellar 4 piece band. Kishi Bashi Plays violin gracefully and gleefully followed with looping and estranged lyrics that somehow elevate the spirit. Kishi Bashi navigates the perfect balance of silly and stealthy. This is what music would sound like if Grizzly Bear and Yo Yo Ma had a child that ran a hot air balloon company in space. They played at the perfect point of the festival when your mind becomes more existential than you would like and you start questioning your life, Kishi Bashi took these thoughts and turned them into psychedelic origami-reminding you that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
This was one of those rare occasions where the whole damn band got together and performed their hearts out to drooling fans clad in Wu Tang paraphernalia, refreshingly ranging in age and archetype. Their performance was solid, fun and energetic. Songs were well chosen from various stages of their wild careers while thousands of fans joined harmoniously waving their “W” signs in the air and having the time of their lives, this girl included.
Bootsy Collins is a legendary funk musician most famous for his work in Parliament-Funkadelic. The concert was a late night portrayal of why Funk music is still awesome. Everything was strategic; the choreography, the posing while wailing on a gimmick guitar and the set consisting mostly of funk anthems. However that didn’t do anything except make it a solid concert that encompassed everything that is important with this fleeting genre. It’s over the top and eccentric which is something we don’t see enough of these days. The performance was everything right about being flashy.
So yes the sweltering heat, ostensibly infinite nights and minimal outfits are over but I got a filing cabinet full of memories to re visit on those impending winter nights when you need them more than anything.