Bumbershoot Recommendations: Saturday, Aug. 30

Neko Case, Beck, M. Ward, and more.

Fuck Off And DieKnow someone who is a complete and utter a-hole? Chances are they were popular and loved in high school. The biggest tell, aside from general a-hole-ness, is that they still rock the clothes, lingo (can I get a hella?!), and hairdo they sported at the zenith of their now-faded youth. Like Napoleon Dynamite's poor old Uncle Rico, they never have anything interesting to say, debate, or contribute, because they don't realize how lame it is when your life peaks at 17. That's what's so great about Fuck Off and Die, a celebration of teen angst that is part stand-up and part well-curated depressed-adolescent poetry. Chances are that if you ever wrote, thought, or dared to speak the phrase "Fuck off and die" between the ages of 13 and 18, you are now fairly well-adjusted, and are sure to be the youngest-looking, hippest, and most with-it person at your high-school reunion. Literary Arts Stage, noon. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSARThrow Me The StatueIt's a pleasure to see a green local band bloom into confident performers, and Throw Me the Statue is a prime example of such heartwarming triumph. Whimsical monikers will only get a band so far, but the sunny confections Scott Reitherman's band produces are reminiscent of Guided by Voices' smart approach to a perfectly poured pop cocktail. Keyboards percolate, closely strummed guitars slice off bittersweet melodies, and droll, dreamy vocals tug at your headspace as much as your heartstrings. Their critically lauded debut, Moonbeams, is one of the most impressive local releases of 2008, and as long as they keep their adventurous spirit intact, nothing should stop their star from shooting even higher. Rockstar Stage, 12:30 p.m. HANNAH LEVINNeko CaseNeko Case's long, distinguished career as an alt-country icon began at the honky-tonk end of the spectrum; it doesn't get much twangier than her 1997 release The Virginian. But over the past 11 years, Case's music seems to have left the cowboy bars behind in favor of a folksier, cafe pop. And her most recent record, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, bears almost no stylistic resemblance to her early work; even its direct predecessor, The Tigers Have Spoken, retained a distinctive Western style. While you can't really call Case a country singer anymore, she's become a better minstrel, and one whose music is no longer as readily pigeonholed. Though her new music lacks the tender twang that made Furnace Room Lullaby such a masterpiece, her vocals retain every ounce of their haunting, gut-wrenching sincerity. Seriously, listen to her sing "Star Witness" live and just try not to get a little weepy. Samsung Memorial Mainstage, 1 p.m. SARA BRICKNERThe GirlsOne of the first local bands I fell hard for upon moving to Seattle in the early '00s was the Girls. How could anyone not—they had more energy than third-graders hopped up on Halloween candy, better fashion sense than anyone in town except maybe Michael Maker or Purple Mark, and great, fresh-sounding songs that ram together Cars-style new-wave/power-pop, New York Dolls–style glam-rock, and the good ol' Devo nerdy-herky-jerk. Alongside the Briefs and the Spits, the Girls seemed to be on the rise. Then they broke up for a while before reconvening with a bunch of lineup changes. But they seem to be back on track now—singer Shannon Brown's still front-and-center, and guitarist Vas Kumar is back in the fold—and a new album, fittingly titled Yes, No, Yes, No, Yes, No, is coming out in September. Definitely a good time to check out the Girls again. EMP Sky Church, 2 p.m. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERGEstelleLondon-based vocalist Estelle made headlines earlier this year when she accused the British music industry of promoting white soul singers such as Adele and Duffy at the expense of black artists. ("As a songwriter, I get what they do," she said. "As a black person, I'm like, 'You're telling me this is my music?'") Estelle's material, which is much more danceable and diverse than that of her aforementioned peers, reinforces her demand for a greater share of the spotlight. "American Boy," Estelle's collaboration with Kanye West, sounds like impeccably preserved vintage disco funk, while "No Substitute Love" reimagines George Michael's "Faith" as a hip-hop doo-wop number. Estelle isn't exactly unknown overseas, having amassed three consecutive "Best Female Artist" awards from the UK Hip-Hop Awards as well as a short-list mention for the Mercury Prize. She's still establishing herself as a rising star on this side of the Atlantic, but a fall tour alongside Gym Class Heroes and the Roots should certainly raise her profile. Fisher Green Stage, 5:45 p.m. ANDREW MILLERUnearthUnearth's 2008 double-disc DVD Alive at the Apocalypse convincingly documents the brutality of the group's performances of the past decade. With a new CD called The March set to arrive in October, fans should also hear some fresh material. The March's opening track, "My Will Be Done," which Unearth has played during recent gigs, suggests it's not straying far from its thrash-and-breakdowns sound, though the band might be clearing more room for harmonic solos. The March chronicles an epic clash between "The Evil" and "The Hopeful," and while such dichotomous battles are standard fare in the realm of concept albums, the increasing eloquence of Unearth's political lyrics bodes well for this project. Despite the Massachusetts-based band's recent erudite bent, singer Trevor Phipps won't be lecturing on stage: He pretty much limits his banter to profane exhortations of any mosh-pit stragglers. Exhibition Hall Stage, 6:30 p.m. ANDREW MILLERChrista BellI stumbled upon spoken-word artist Christa Bell's work accidentally last year while checking out Hidmo's monthly hip-hop showcase, Ladies First. There, Bell took the floor to preview her one-woman show CoochieMagik. What followed was a five-minute wo-manifesto titled "1,001 Names for Coochie (and All Names for Coochie Are Holy)." Those five minutes were all it took to get me hooked on her poetry. When Bell first began performing, her material focused on her experiences as a black woman versus how hip-hop portrays black women. But after a few years she felt it was too passive a route to take. "I got tired of responding to hip-hop," Bell says. "I decided to address what change women could make themselves, and that answer seemed to be to confront the shame and low self-esteem they had toward their own sexuality." Hence, the spoken-word musical comedy CoochieMagik was born. Bell performs the entire piece this evening, addressing misogyny, self-hate, and the politics of sexuality. You'd be wise to drag along your man to check out her #1 crowd-pleaser "If You Don't Come (Don't Nobody Come.)" Amen, sister. Literary Arts Stage, 7:30 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTBeckAside from the melancholic beauty of 2002's break-up opus, Sea Change, Beck hasn't struck a chord that felt genuine since 1994's Stereopathetic Soulmanure. Thankfully, cracking open his latest effort Modern Guilt rewards the forgiving listener with 10 deftly crafted pop songs that allude as much to classically clever '60s songwriting as they do to whatever Scientology-fueled spacecraft dropped Beck on this planet in the first place. The kid may not be all right—and perhaps credit should be laid at the feet of sly, beat-savvy producer Danger Mouse—but listening to the rich nuggets tumble out of the self-anointed Loser's psyche has never been so enjoyable. Beck's also an effortlessly entertaining live performer, so braving the crowds at Memorial Stage on Saturday should be worth the headache. Samsung Mobile Mainstage, 9:15 p.m. HANNAH LEVINM. WardA festival stage is a daunting place for a songwriter armed with only a guitar and his vocal cords, so when Portland-based country-folk savant Matt Ward began his set at Chicago's sold-out Pitchfork Festival in July, his understated presence was initially cause for concern. Any trepidations were laid to rest as he gradually added not only more musicians to the stage, but increasingly intricate layers of gossamer-thin guitar lines, stridently paced piano, and robust percussion that spun his initially humble back-porch musings into gorgeous swells of epic pop tapestry. An elegant and precisely calibrated performer who gauges his next musical move as much by the audience's reaction as by his own internal compass, M. Ward is an artist who pays off in spades for audiences who prefer to savor the buildup as much as the delivery. Rockstar Stage, 9:30 p.m. HANNAH LEVIN

 
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