Bumbershoot, finally

9 Sep

It’s wednesday, and I’m a terrible person for not posting this AS SOON AS I GOT HOME MONDAY. But my head hurt and I was tired as hell.

But I’ll try not to go on too long about the bands themselves, because that’s what my articles for Popwreckoning are for. That’s partially why this took me so long, because I was busy writing up my recaps for them. Hopefully, they’ll be up in the next couple days.

I’ll start from the beginning –


We started with Katy Perry, mainly because Libby wanted to. I figured I should to diversify who I was seeing that day to include a somewhat comprehensive recap. But surprisingly, the second half of her set was really fun. Sure, I was surrounded by tween girls and horny teenage boys, was weird, but fun enough for 1 in the afternoon, which felt like far too early to really get into anything. And Katy Perry ACTUALLY kissed a girl. It was hilarious, because one of the security guards lifted her up with her explosion of tutu coming from her butt, putting his face in her ass, as she leaned over the front rail to kiss a girl. O.O Scandalous! One of the chicks standing behind me actually shouted, “OMG SHE KISSED A GIRL!” Wow. Shit your pants who don’tchya? Katy Perry did make her way through a cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” which was actually quite fun, because I was singing along to that one, only thinking of the scene in Shaun of the Dead when they were all beating the zombie in the pub with pool cues to the beat of the juke box. It was remotely entertaining on her part.

That’s what Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head was for – having fun. Libby hasn’t listened to their stuff, but I dragged her along anyway. I’m SO glad I did, because they were awesome. A friend of ours said they were better the last time he saw them, but I didn’t care what he said. They were so much fun with their infectious songs about sexy facial hair and holding hands in the shower. After that, I really want to hang out with them. Like seriously. They’re basically all my age, and I saw a few of them walking around the festival for the next couple of days, so I contemplating going up to say hi. But I think I need to figure out a way not to fangirl at everything. If I want to be in this business, I have to chill out and not act like a goofy fan. But I will DEFINITELY be going to see them again when they play in town – which shouldn’t be that far off, since they live here.

But really, there’s a song about sexy facial hair – “Beard Lust.” Seriously. AWESOME.

Okay…I can’t remember what happened next. I think we…um…went shopping? No! We went to the Northwest Rooms so I could show Libby the walls I put up in the art galleries. She didn’t find it nearly as cool as I did, but she did sit forever and draw stuff on the walls covered in butcher paper. I can’t draw, so I didn’t find it nearly as amusing. There was this guy posing for people to draw. He was only wearing underwear.

Next was Matt & Kim. Holy crap they were awesome. I didn’t hurt that they were so genuinely happy to be there. I don’t think you could find a more joyous and humble band. Kim did not stop grinning and Matt pumped up the crowd, with the mere instrument of his keyboard. Keyboard and drumkit. That’s all it took to start a huge dance party on the Broad Street lawn. And it rained, quite a bit actually, but it didn’t matter, because after Matt had started the opening riffs for “Daylight” several times, the rain STOPPED. They even broke out into a short homage to “Final Countdown” by Europe. Seriously. It was so much fun, but not too crazy because the crowd wasn’t ginormous that we didn’t get pummeled by crowd surfers. But there were a fair share of those – even in the somewhat small crowd compared to anything the main stage produced. People were throwing tortillas for christ’s sakes! The taco stand was right outside the Broad Street Stage, so it was fitting. At one point, Matt was like, “are these tortillas? Someone must have told you, because tacos are my favorite food. Really all sandwiches.”

So someone threw a sandwich on stage at the end of the set. Really. A wrapped-up sandwich.

We ran into a couple chicks from PHS who got Matt to sign their stomach inside the Center House before we got food. And then we realized I didn’t have my wallet.

Yeah, I didn’t have my wallet. So we used Libby’s money to buy food, got our hand stamped and went out to the car to see if the wallet was there. At that point, we didn’t have main stage passes and didn’t really want to go see anyone else that night, and it was already past 8, so we left and went back to my aunt’s house so I could write about all of saturday’s wonderful festivities.

Oh! I almost forgot! When we were standing around doing…something…in the middle of the walkway that afternoon, THIS GUY and THIS GAL was standing right behind me.

Yeah, I was standing THIS close to THAT amount of famous. I didn’t even say hello, and I felt starstruck. I mean holy balls.


Now sunday was much rainier than saturday. Like, there were puddles all across the ground at the mainstage, and the steps were slippery, and the ground at the Broad Street stage was soggy. It was WET. But no matter, Cold War Kids were awesome anyway – and again – as it poured down rain, and they started playing “Hang Me Up To Dry,” the rain fucking STOPPED. It was so perfect, yet again. Weather, sometimes you amaze me. But anyway. The crowd for Cold War Kids were very low-key, which wasn’t the greatest, but the band sounded AWESOME. At one point, the lead singer was like, “I see now that the sun’s coming out, clothes are just coming off of people.” That’s what happened. After we all started stripping off our rain jackets and hats, he took off his jacket and overshirt. It was perfect.

When thy were done, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were on in half an hour, so we hung around inside the main stage for awhile, shopping, drinking from the free water hoses, etc. And then Karen O, Nick Zimmer, and Brian Chase took the stage. I’d missed out on their performance at Sasquatch, and I got a SECOND CHANCE. When I saw that they joined the lineup, and literally jumped for joy. Literally.

I’m SO FUCKING GLAD I got to see them, because no one’s energy can rival that of Karen O’s. An Nick has got to be the coolest person ever. He’s like the living representation of a Tim Burton character. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more perfectly coifed hairstyle. It’s like a cross between Robert Smith’s crazy ‘do and RPattz’s unkempt mess. That’s the only way I can describe it. But they were A-MAZING. Everything from “Date with the Night” to “Skeletons” to “Maps.” It was all good. Karen O has got the most inexplicable voice though – you got her melody drawl in “Maps” and her almost orgasm in “Date with the Night.” That’s kinda what it sounds like. But again, it was all AMAZING. Before they started playing “Maps,” and we all knew it was coming, because Nick switched to an acoustic, but before they started playing, Karen O was like, “this song is about love. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Seattle – Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Seattle – love.” And she put her hand over her heart. It was both an “aww” and a “rock on” moment at the same time. And to top it all off, the crowd was great too. We were all dancing and crowd-surfing at 2:30 in the afternoon. They should have been the headliners instead of Jason Mraz, that’s all I’m saying.

After the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, we went and got some lunch from the Magic Dragon inside the center house, while tiny chicks danced to the Jonas Brothers in the kid’s pavilion. It was weird. I told Libby, “it will be the end of days when the Jonas Brothers are playing Bumbershoot.” Hehe.

But then I realized that my camera’s batteries were dying. I kept the camera off for awhile, but then noticed that I didn’t have the amount of power in my batteries that could take pictures during the Vivian Girls and Jason Mraz. So before the Vivian Girls even started, I got my hand stamped, quickly walked down to OfficeMax on Mercer to pick up some batteries. It only took me twenty minutes total, so I made it back in time to catch most of the Vivian Girls’ set. They were pretty good. Great album, not a lot of energy, so Libby got bored. But I got some good pictures. And you could really tell the difference in the crowd from yesterday’s Broad Street performers Matt and Kim and Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head to the Vivian Girls on sunday. Not a lot of brightly colored pants on sunday. But anyway. Libby was bored, so we left before they ended to go shopping for a bit and to wait in the stand-by line for Patton Oswalt. We met these two guys and this lady names Melinda. It was funny, because one of the guys – Ian – had a couple chinese symbols tattooes on his arm, he was wearing “Southpole” gear, and had just gotten another chinese symbol in the black henna (which is really bad for you.) So I figured he was a douchey frat boy. But no, we all got into a nice conversation waiting in line, and he’s a theater guy, who was just in Fiddler on the Roof. It was weird, but my sister and I were pretty sure he was trying to hook up with Melinda’s daughter because Melinda was asking him about contacts for her daughter for modelling and acting. He told her a couple people’s numbers, but then was just like, “here, give me my number.” Melinda was pimping out her daughter, unknowingly. Haha.

Once it was time for everyone to pile into the Charlotte Martin theater, the security guy counted off the standby line, and literally, it cut off right after us. We just barely made it in, and I was so thankful, because Tommy Johnagin and Patton Oswalt were so fucking funny I almost pissed myself. Patton’s set was a lot of the stuff from the album he just released, but I didn’t care. I’d already had a great couple weeks of funny, and this was a nice way to finish off the laughter. I didn’t end up seeing any other comedians on monday, but that’s okay.

Back to the music. So Jason Mraz wasn’t bad. He really wasn’t. He started out kinda boring. I really only went because Libby wanted to go, and I wanted to make her happy. It took me awhile to get into the music, because it was really chill and kinda slow – again, I questioned the scheduling. But the ladies LOVE Jason Mraz. All the chicks standing around me went NUTS for him. But in all honesty, musically, he’s really good live. Like a younger, hotter version of Dave Matthews, but not headliner-of-Seattle’s-biggest-music-festival-good. It just didn’t fit. But once he got into the more up tempo songs, and a cover of Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long,” I got into it. I was dancing, chatting it up with the girl next to me, singing along. It ended up being fun. Not any insane moshers, that’s for sure.


Monday, another rainy day. And this day started out a lot rougher than the previous two days. We arrived about an hour later than we had been, and our trusty parking garage was all full. It was those damn Black Eyed Peas that filled our garage. So I drove around for 20 minutes looking for parking, temporarily parking in a $9 garage before realizing that it closed at 6:30. WTF? So I drove some more before settling on the $15 at the Fisher Plaza, where we parked last year. It wasn’t empty, but not super full, so I was satisfied.

I got there just in time to see Say Hi, which was one of the bands I REALLY wanted to see. And I ran into Jenn, one of my WAS buddies from the interwebs. Say Hi was good, and I got some fine pictures. I just love the lyrics Eric Elbogen writes, about vampires, Star Wars, it’s so random, and so funny. The bassist, I think his name was Andy, was pretty damn hot. Eric said at the beginning, “Andy, ask me something.”

“Um, why did you change your name?”

“Something that doesn’t put me on the spot. Dangit, two gigs and you’re already screwing up!”

Apparently, he was new to touring with Say Hi, which used to be Say Hi To Your Mom. I don’t know why they changed their name, but I’m glad they did, because Say Hi To Your Mom is a mouthful. I especially loved “Sweet Sweet Heartkiller,” one of the songs off “Impeccable Blahs,” which was all about vampires. Hehe. OMG TRUE BLOOD! Wait, stay on topic.

Libby was volunteering monday, so she didn’t get to see anyone until Franz Ferdinand that night, and Laura showed up, which I wasn’t aware of until sunday. It was nice, because I didn’t really have a lot of people to hang out with, and having Laura there, even if she was feeling low, helped. But I didn’t actually get to see Laura until after Mirah, who was AMAZING live. I walked over there by myself, which was okay, because her music is a very personal, organic experience. With such a tiny voice, comes such an interesting, powerful energy. She had everything from the violin to the clarinet to some crazy sitar-looking thing in her band. And at the beginning, this was pretty funny.

“I wore this shirt, it’s from 1985, from when we used to wear half shirts. Remember half shirts? Now it’s kind of like a quarter shirt.”

It made me laugh. But Mirah has such a beautiful instrument, and I could tell by the way people just shut up on the lawn. That was the kind of performance you had to be quiet to enjoy. I’ve come home to download even more of her stuff.

I think I might have rushed through the last bit of this, just to get to the bit about FRANZ.

Okay. Franz. We got in line quite early, and still the main stage was uber crowded when we got in there. Laura’s foot was hurting, so we sat for a little bit before I ventured down into the mosh pit 15 minutes before they went on stage. I made me way as close as I could get without being rude and shoving people out of the way. I don’t like being rude. But once they started, I didn’t even care anymore. I was dancing, and shoving people, but then again, so was everyone else. Started out with “No You Girls,” then “Dark of the Matinee,” then I can’t even remember what order everything else went in. The security guards sprayed us all with water because people were getting out of hand. They needed us to chill, but nobody chilled. I think it was “Bite Hard” next. I don’t even know.

All I know it that Alex Kapranos is a GOD. Good lord does he have a sexy voice. It’s been 5 years almost since I saw them at the Key Arena, and this was SO MUCH BETTER. The Key Arena sucks for live shows. But Alex, Nick, Bob and Paul all jumped on stage, all energetic and fantastic, and I don’t even care if I’m sounding like an uber fangirl right now. I’m allowed to, aren’t I?

Halfway through their set, my feet were starting to ache from jumping so much, and “This Fire” started, and we all started jumping. You couldn’t not rock out to “This Fire.” All of a sudden, I felt a sharp THWACK on the back of my head. I’m not sure if it was the guy’s head or his foot that hit me, but I could barely make out a floating body above my head as I tried to un-dizzy myself, holding into my throbbing head. At that point, I tried to make my way out of the mosh pit, but it was useless. So I kept dancing. I didn’t care if I had a concussion, it was FRANZ! Five minutes went by, I was still having fun, but my head hurt like a MOTHER. So I gave into the pain and squeezed my way out of the pit, afraid of getting clobbered by another crowd surfer.

But then I couldn’t find Libby or Laura, and started freaking out. My head hurt, I was missing the band I’d come to see, and I didn’t know where the fuck my sister was. Eventually, I found them, and they tried to get me to go see a medic, because I overreacted and said I might have a concussion.

Libby: “Are you dizzy?’

Me: “No.”

Libby: “Are you okay?”

Me: “Yes.”

Libby: “Are you overreacting?”

Me: “Maybe.”

Libby: “Are you telling the truth?”

Me: “Probably.”

Libby: “She’s fine.”

And I took a swig of water from the free water refills booth and danced for the rest of the set in the middle of an open area next to this old guy with a fisherman’s cap on. I was contact high, and it was marvelous. I didn’t even care that my head hurt, I had a good amount of air by then, which is what I was missing in the middle of the mosh pit. But what was so cool – at the end, the finale of Franz, they played an extra long version of “Lucid Dreams” with the electro outro. Libby and Laura and I were doing everything from the electric slide to the macarena to random raving dance moves – and I’ve never even been to a rave.

It was so awesome I didn’t even care that I couldn’t stay for Modest Mouse or Metric because Libby had to be to school the next morning.

It was just…awesome.

❀ Abby


2 Responses to “Bumbershoot, finally”

  1. starbright31 09/09/2009 at 1:19 pm #

    I’ve always enjoyed Jason Mraz best in the live setting- even the recorded stuff isn’t as good as what he does live. I like how you’ve said he’s a younger/hotter version of Dave Matthews- I’ve always compared him to like a better version of John Mayer without the weird guitar faces and that’s a hell of a lot funnier and not a douchebag. I can see understand he’d be a headliner because “I’m Yours” has done so damn well, but I agree that Bumbershoot might not have been the best place for him to headline- if it was for somewhere here in California it’d work out better.

    And “Alex Kapranos is a GOD” – YESSSSSSSS. I hope you can see Franz Ferdinand again in a setting that’s not as rough as how Bumbershoot sounded- from yours and Jenn’s accounts of it, I’m kinda relieved I didn’t go even though I miss the hell out of this damn band. Glad to know you danced your ass off to ’em. πŸ˜›

  2. Amanda 09/09/2009 at 5:03 pm #

    Ahh, speaking of Jason Mraz.. I’ve been wanting to see him live since 2003! The timing of his shows in the NW just haven’t worked out for me at all. I’m missing him by ONE day later this month in Portland and it’s killing me. lol.

    Anyway – FRANZ!! It’s too bad you couldn’t enjoy the show from the pit, but I’m glad you still had a great time seeing them. Hope they’ll come back around for a proper gig soon, preferably when I’m able to attend too, lol. πŸ™‚

    Glad you had a great time @ Bumbershoot. πŸ™‚ My cousin went and I haven’t heard her recap yet.. Just a few tweets saying “Karen O” & “FRANZ!” LOL.

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