Encyclopedia of Bumbershoot!

Eating, drinking, living, and dying before, during, and after Seattle's most important festival.

2012, Bumbershoot

(It's still here!)

Bumbershoot is no longer the biggest festival in the Northwest, but the event, in its 42nd year, is still the most important annual arts happening in town. Others, like Folklife, draw more people, but none encapsulate the Northwest and national zeitgeist quite as well as the 'Shoot. In five years, we may not look back fondly at the music of Gotye or Skrillex—just as we don't exactly pine for Bumbershoot Mainstage alums like Third Eye Blind or Everlast—but these bands are defining the pop-music narrative of the moment. Their appearances wouldn't have been as significant 12 months ago; good on Bumbershoot for catching them now.

Bumbershoot is at its best when it pairs the oft-disposable sounds that people are talking about with a curated mix of music (Tony Bennett), arts (One Reel Film Fest), and conversations ("Remix, Plagiarism, or Theft?") that are either important or exciting to stumble upon. Years ago, a real-estate agent in Moscow, Idaho, told me that "if you can't find something to do in this town, you're boring." Seattleites know they live in one of the nation's busiest touring hubs, and are spoiled cynical. Bumbershoot regulars know that they used to get to see Miles Davis and Beck for a fraction of this year's sticker price, and find it hard to believe that Bumbershoot is still a bargain. If you can't find something worth the price of admission, you may not be boring, but you certainly aren't looking hard enough. We've broken down the most significant (and salty) acts, installations, and eateries—on and off the schedule—to give you a place to start.

—Chris Kornelis, Editor, Reverb Monthly

ckornelis@seattleweekly.com

Actual Rock Bands

(The heavies have their day.)

Plenty of namby-pamby indie-rock bands are playing Bumbershoot this year, plenty of hip, young Brooklynites in vintage clothes, plenty of fashionable Silver Lake artistes in oversized glasses. What's more surprising about this year's lineup, however, is Saturday's metal-heavy Exhibition Hall stage, which features a trio of doomy, gloomy metal acts, the kind not often featured at Bumbershoot. Thankfully, the bands will perform inside, where their pasty skin, sleeves of tattoos, and black jeans and T-shirts won't look so out-of-place in the harsh midday sun. Seattle-via-Bellingham's Black Breath, which combines hardcore, thrash, and black metal, plays at 1:45 p.m. showcasing their bludgeoningly heavy sound for those who dare to show up early enough. Industrial-metal vets Prong, who've recently released their first album in five years, Carved Into Stone, play at 4:30 p.m. And Saturday's metal fest will be capped by a 6:15 set from New Orleans sludge kings Eyehategod, for whom Bumbershoot is one of just six West Coast shows. DAVE LAKE Various times, Saturday, Exhibition Hall

Alcohol, Cheap

(Tracking down the elusive $3 beer.)

The rap on Bumbershoot's beer gardens is that the brews are too pricy. This year, detractors who want to remain on Seattle Center grounds (but are willing to sacrifice a stage view) can take their complaints to POP Kitchen + Bar, where Coors Light will sell for $3 throughout the festival. HANNA RASKIN 

POP Kitchen + Bar, 325 Fifth Ave. N.

Alcohol, Classy

(For imbibers who like it fancy.)

Bumbershoot's very own beer gardens are the plebeian choice for festival quaffing, but a pair of Seattle Center museums are making sure that discerning drinkers aren't at the mercy of Bumbershoot's beverage selection team. POP Kitchen + Bar (the Experience Music Project's resident food-and-drink den) is serving fruity, thematic cocktails for $4, and the bespoke Collections Cafe will offer its usual 36-bottle wine list drawn from Washington and Oregon's top vineyards. While chaos may reign beyond the restaurant's front door, you can relax with a glass of Adelsheim rosé for $10. HR

Collections Cafe, 305 Harrison St.

AM & Shawn Lee

(An enigmatic multi-instrumentalist meets an angel-voiced mustache-wearer.)

These curiously talented niche musicians melded their varied talents into one beautiful album in last year's Celestial Electric, an easy-listening soft-rock/funk affair that was easily one of the year's best. You'd be remiss to miss this one. TODD HAMM 

AM & Shawn Lee, 6 p.m. Sunday, The Promenade

Appleby, Bryan John

(Smart songs from Seattle's folk singer du jour.) 

This bearded, beanied songwriter is one of Seattle's most popular folk singers; he released his urbane, easy-riding debut album Fire on the Vine in July. Appleby and his four-piece band will follow their Bumbershoot performance with a string of dates opening for The Head and the Heart and Blitzen Trapper. ERIN K. THOMPSON 

Bryan John Appleby, 6 p.m. Monday, The Promenade

Armisen, Fred

(Why we hate Portland, love  Portlandia.)

His heavy-metal drumming parody video helped Fred Armisen get on SNL, and a musical friendship with Carrie Brownstein then helped launch their acclaimed IFC series Portlandia. The rest is TV history. Armisen is an acute mimic and character comedian, but he's never cutting with his comedy. He loves his eccentric targets, even Prince. On Sunday, he'll be joined by Gabe Liedman and Jenny Slate; on Monday, those three will be joined by Kurt Braunohler (Bob's Burgers). These two performances will have to tide you over until the third season of Portlandia begins. BRIAN MILLER 

Fred Armisen, 8 p.m. Sunday and 1 p.m. Monday, Intiman Theatre

Atomic Bombshells, The

(A new variation on an old art form, with pasties.)

Whether you think it's salacious or scholarly, the Atomic Bombshells have been in the thick of the burlesque revival since 2003, bringing new life to the traditional bump-and-grind and feeding our current fascination with the retro art form. Take another look at burlesque's Golden Age. SANDRA KURTZ 

The Atomic Bombshells, 8:30 p.m. Monday, Bagley Wright Theatre

Barcelona

(A Seattle band still waiting for Seattle to catch on.)

Had singer Brian Fennell not asked a couple of buddies to play alongside him while promoting his solo work, Barcelona and its piano-rock sound might not exist today. Officially formed in 2005, the band released its debut, Absolutes, in 2007. After a two-year stint with Universal Motown, Barcelona self-released its sophomore album, Not Quite Yours, in May, giving Seattleites yet another reason to love the trio. AZARIA PODPLESKY 

Barcelona, 2:45 p.m. Sunday, Exhibition Hall Stage

Bed Snake

(WET's stage hit is back for one night.)

Staged to great acclaim by Washington Ensemble Theatre this spring, Noah Benezra and Hannah Victoria Franklin's musical romp combines hip-hop, Faust, and crunk-style dance. The tale of a slacker who sells his soul for mad microphone skillz, Bed Snake is a Satanic roar of energy, braggadocio, and violence, augmented by grainy film clips and bloody video games. Don't miss this one-night revival. KEVIN PHINNEY 

Bed Snake, 6:45 p.m. Saturday, Theatre Puget Sound Stage (Center House Theater)

Bennett, Tony

(Artist, gentleman, American hero.)

It's tempting to call Tony Bennett the last of a dying breed, but he's too singular an artist to be lumped in with any of the other drunks, Mafia hacks, or turncoat crooners of his era. He continued to sing the material he loved in the style he helped define, even when it meant he was so outside music fashion he was almost destitute. His eventual rediscovery and subsequent success came not because he made any attempt to conform to contemporary tastes, but by a steadfast pursuit of his art made from a place of personal integrity and genuine love. He's also a lifelong Democrat, a civil-rights warrior, a WWII infantry vet, and a committed pacifist. An American hero, basically. JOHN RODERICK 

Tony Bennett, 3:15 p.m. Sunday, Mainstage

Bushwick Book Club Seattle Presents A Wrinkle in Time

(Finally the technology exists to bring this thing to the next level.)

The Bushwick Book Club writes and performs songs based on books they've read—a very contemporary response to art akin to role-playing or record-remixing. When A Wrinkle in Time first appeared in 1962, a reader might've spent many hours reflecting on the story and discussing it with friends, but the mental technology that would have allowed him or her even to consider working out those feelings in song as part of an organized club did not yet exist. Nowadays, the opportunity to enjoy a full-length concert of music written in response to A Wrinkle in Time, Lonesome Dove, or even A People's History of America is ours for the taking. It is recommended, but not necessary, that you reread Wrinkle, because Charles Wallace is kind of a creepy kid and you may have forgotten some of the time-traveling plot involving tesseracts. JR

The Bushwick Book Club Seattle Presents A Wrinkle in Time, noon Monday, Words & Ideas Stage

Cage, Nicolas

("Not the bees!")

No, Nicolas Cage is not appearing at Bumbershoot. Nor does he have any movies currently out. But the next best thing is a tribute from comedians Alex Falcone, Ezra Fox, and Chris Smith (whose Twilight-bashing podcast you may have heard). They're film scholars of shit cinema; accordingly, today's trio of turkeys will be City of Angels, The Wicker Man, and Ghost Rider. The first two are essentially remakes, the third a crummy comic-book adaptation. The Wicker Man and Ghost Rider feature howlingly over-the-top Cage histrionics—plus a bear suit, plus Wicca, plus those famous bees. BM

Read It and Weep, 1:15 p.m. Saturday, The Vera Project

Cairo at the Indie Market

(Every weekend could use a little retail therapy.)

Take a fashionable excursion through the Indie Market; you'll find the most exceptional items—T-shirts, jewelry, and accessories, either vintage or created by local artists—at the booth belonging to Seattle's hippest boutique-slash-art space-slash-record label, Capitol Hill's Cairo. EKT

Fountain Covered Walkway

Carbs

(Dr. Atkins would freak.)

Folks hunting for fat will be glad to know that the newly renovated Seattle Fudge shop will debut this weekend, but most of the confectionery's Armory neighbors are unrepentant carbohydrate specialists. Among the food court's current tenants are Pie, serving sweet and savory hand pies; Eltana Bagels, offering hand-rolled, wood-fired Montreal-esque bagels from its bakery on Capitol Hill; custom-pizza purveyor MOD (which also offers ding-dongs for dessert); and Street Treats, which first established its ice-cream-cookie sandwich pre-eminence as a rolling food truck. HR

Seattle Center Armory, 401 First Ave. N.

Cherdonna & Lou Show, The

(Drag meets celebrity impersonation for a dark night of the soul in platform heels.)

For those who have not been following along in the songbook, Ricki Mason and Jody Kuehner started out in the modern-dance community, shifted into neo-burlesque, and have added a sideline as drag performers, possibly channeling Cher, Madonna, Hugh Hefner, and a crew of Motown backup dancers. Hijinks ensue. SK

The Cherdonna & Lou Show, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Bagley Wright Theatre

Chicken-Fried Steak at the 5 Point

(It's open drinks after the show, breakfast before, and . . . shit, it never closes!)

There's something comforting and sophisticated about The 5 Point—even though we're fairly certain those two words have never been used to describe the enduring restaurant/urban pit stop in Belltown. You can always get a chicken-fried steak, and they'll serve you a drink any hour (other than 2–6 a.m., of course). There are a lot of places you can fuel up before, during, and after Bumbershoot, but this one will never turn you down. CK

The 5 Point, 415 Cedar St., 448-9993

City and Colour

(This underrated folksinger sharpened his chops on the Vans Warped Tour.)

Dallas Green, former vocalist of post-hardcore band Alexisonfire, goes by City and Colour (get it?) when he wants to let his folky side shine through. While the Juno Award-winning multi-instrumentalist is admittedly more popular in his native Canada, Americans fell head over heels with Green after 2011's Little Hell. He just might be our neighbors-from-the-North's best-kept secret. AP

City and Colour, 7:45 p.m. Saturday, TuneIn Stage

Civil Twilight

(Triumph without lethargy.)

Civil Twilight is often compared to U2, but Radiohead is a more apt analogue for the South African trio's moody, downbeat second album, Holy Weather. Woozy, emotional ballads like "It's Over" are keyboard-driven and filled with echoey, breathy vocals, but a few upbeat, energetic tracks like "Fire Escape" punctuate the album and keep it from becoming lethargic. SARAH ELSON 

Civil Twilight, 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Exhibition Hall

Diane, Alela

(The Portland psych-folk singer goes it alone.)

Diane's last album, Alela Diane & Wild Divine, was named for her backing band, which features both her father and husband on guitars. She's spent this year going it alone, playing intimate solo sets previewing songs from her recently recorded fourth record. EKT

Alela Diane, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, The Promenade

Don't Talk to the Cops!

(Band name; law enforcement-related advice.)

Armed with djblesOne's patented dance-friendly production and snappy hooks from bles and tag-team partner Emecks, Seattle's Don't Talk to the Cops! has begun to take the fun-loving nation by storm. You can hear their records now courtesy of Das Racist's Greedhead label, but the full DTttC! experience is had live, where the team can put their full array of moves on display. TH

Don't Talk to the Cops!, 1 p.m. Saturday, TuneIn Stage

Elvistravaganza!

(The handsomest stranded crop-duster pilot ever.)

Elvis was not a very good actor, and It Happened at the World's Fair (1963) is not a very good movie. But still, Elvis made it partly in Seattle during the 1962 World's Fair; he dines at the Space Needle, visits a Century 21 trailer park (modern!), looks after a lost 7-year-old girl, and sings a few songs. To honor both the movie and the man, local artists will show works inspired by Fair (to be screened in continuous loop). A karaoke lounge will allow you to croon your favorite Elvis tune, and topiary will be pruned to reflect his famous visage. BM

Elvistravaganza!, 11 a.m. to close, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, Fisher Pavilion

Foxy Shazam

(Semi-novelty freak-rock all-stars.)

In the beginning, Eric Sean Nally's nimble voice and never-boring lyrics were all that buoyed the band's somewhat tired piano-rock sound. On their most recent album, The Church of Rock and Roll, however, the band's wild songwriting finally (almost) lives up to their theatrical absurdity. TH

Foxy Shazam, 2:45 p.m. Monday, Exhibition Hall

Free Salty Snacks

(The Streamline is the off-campus haunt that gets you back to neutral.)

Rumor has it the Streamline Tavern never planned to serve peanuts. But a while back, a local paper did a write-up on bars in the neighborhood and mistakenly mentioned that the lovable dive shelled out free peanuts. So people started coming in and asking for them. After a while, the bartenders could no longer bear the sad, rejected, peanutless faces, so owner Mike Lewis declared "If the people want peanuts, the people will get peanuts!" OK, I have no idea what he actually said, but it was probably something incredibly noble and selfless, followed by an anticlimactic trip to Cash & Carry. From that day on, a big bucket of shell-on peanuts has sat near the bar, and every man, woman, and drunkard is welcome to sit, order a beer, and mindlessly peel and eat peanuts until they can't eat peanuts no more. RACHEL BELLE 

The Streamline Tavern, 121 W. Mercer St., 283-0519

Futurama's Bender Bending Rodriguez

(The perfect robot's parents gather 'round to discuss mankind's obsolescence—and a great show's history.)

Often referred to simply as "Bender," the mighty, beer-fueled 31st-century robot marks the very pinnacle of mankind's scientific achievement. With Bender's breakthrough technology, robots are at last capable of undertaking the last tasks still performed by humans—such as drinking, smoking, armed robbery, and public nudity. The human race will no longer be required. All humans kindly report to the disposal heap for processing. DAVID X. COHEN

Cohen and other writers of Futurama discuss the show at 7 p.m. Sunday, Words & Ideas Stage

Ghosts I've Met

(The little band that could—and does. A lot.)

This project from Seattle-by-way-of-Michigan musician Sam Watts stays true to its name, releasing hauntingly beautiful little ditties. Watts, with guitarist Ben Blankenship and cellist Brent Arnold (both formerly of Modest Mouse), have been busy in their two years, releasing a pair of EPs and a full-length album while receiving praise from the likes of KEXP, NPR, and Daytrotter. Here's looking at you, year three. AP

Ghosts I've Met, noon Monday, The Promenade

Go the F**k to Sleep

(Why, so you go back to not talking to each other?)

Go the Fuck to Sleep has a very well-executed premise: It's a children's book written for moms and dads who've kept their edge and want to perpetrate a little good-natured transgression against the children-are-sacred cult of helicopter parenting. Of course, these edgy parents could just shut the door and go back to the adult conversation in the living room instead of sitting up reading nursery rhymes feeling frustrated and exhausted by their child's refusal to be lulled by their soothing voice, but then they wouldn't be the alt-parenting heroes they know themselves to be. Full disclosure: I am moderating this discussion and the Bushwick Book Club is offering their musical interpretations! JR

Go the F**k to Sleep with author Adam Mansbach, 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Words & Ideas Stage

Gold Leaves

(Grant Olsen's glowing guitar rock.)

Local songwriter/heavenly singer Grant Olsen's current project, named for the evanescent Robert Frost poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay," released a fittingly poetic debut, The Ornament, last year. Live, the songs are performed by a full backing band, taking on a more expansive, almost psychedelic quality. EKT

Gold Leaves, noon Sunday, Sub Pop Stage

Gotye

(And the 2012 song that everybody seems to know.)

When 2012 finally hits the books, Gotye's indie-pop sensation "Somebody That I Used to Know" will go down somewhere between the London Olympics and The Avengers as the biggest thing of the summer. After topping the charts in 18 countries, it's no wonder that everyone from Glee to American Idol has jumped on the Belgian-Australian bandwagon. JOE WILLIAMS 

Gotye, 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Mainstage

Gyros

(It's Greek for everyone.)

The Doner Haus stand calls them doner sandwiches, the La Jitana stand calls them Mediterranean shawarma sandwiches, and the concessions run by Athena's and St. Demetrios call them Greek gyros. But no matter the name, marinated beef and lamb on soft pita bread is bound to figure in plenty of Bumbershooters' diets this weekend. The gyro has been a festival fixture since the 1970s, when innovative butchers figured out how to pound raw meat trimmings, bread, water, and oregano into rotisserie-ready cones. (According to a 2009 New York Times story, a Jewish hippie named John Garlic may deserve the coveted title of "gyro inventor.") Organizers of Hellenic festivals reluctantly started serving the New World snack in the late 1970s—"We found that people are associating it with Greeks, so we included it," a souvlaki-favoring Greek bazaar chairman told the Times in '78—but the sandwich soon transcended its faux-Greek roots, showing up at street fairs and music festivals. According to gyro-meat producers, gyro sales skyrocket when the economy's hurting. Expect to wait in line. HR

Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St.

Heartless Bastards

(Long may they wail.)

I won't get sentimental here and yammer on about how Heartless Bastards stands for all sorts of things we are losing in popular music: regionalism (Ohio is in lead singer Erika Wennerstrom's voice, there's no other way to put it); a willingness to find originality and new excitement in roots rock; and a blue-collar musical sense that comes from making a living the hard way, on the road, playing songs night after night in front of people. I won't get sentimental. I'll just say that Heartless Bastards wail. Wennerstrom wails. And long may they wail. DANIEL PERSON 

Heartless Bastards, 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Starbucks Stage

Hedgebrook Busts Fem-Myths

(Riiiiiiiiight.)

A feminist poetry reading. So . . . probably not really busting a ton of "fem myths," if we're completely honest. JR

Hedgebrook Busts Fem-Myths, noon Saturday, Words & Ideas Stage

Helio Sequence, The

(Indie rockers part the waters.)

After the success of The Helio Sequence's 2008 release, Keep Your Eyes Ahead, it would have been easy for the indie-pop duo to create another tight, technically sound album. And that's just what they planned to do. But then their studio flooded, and . . . things changed. The result is Negotiations, a collection of loose, ambient songs that Brandon Summers mostly ad-libbed. Though it's more spontaneous, the duo didn't lose their attention to detail. Filled with well-thought-out synth landscapes and effect-laden guitars, Negotiations is clearly a carefully crafted piece of work. SE

The Helio Sequence, 8:45 p.m. Saturday, Sub Pop Stage

Herzig, Katie

(This Nashville-based chanteuse brings easy listening, heavy thinking.)

You may not be familiar with Katie Herzig, but you've definitely heard her lilting vocals and folk-rock music; her songs have appeared on prime-time favorites like Smallville, Bones, and Grey's Anatomy. Though topics like global warming and the economy appear in her songs, her airy voice makes it all listenable. Ask nicely and she might play her "Sweet Dreams/Seven Nation Army" mashup. AP

Katie Herzig, 5:45 p.m. Sunday, Starbucks Stage

Hey Marseilles

(A local band combines genres like there's no tomorrow, to the complaint of—well, no one.)

Throw indie folk, jazz, and pop into an auditory blender and you've got Hey Marseilles. They're about as Seattle as they come, forming when founders Nick Ward and Matt Bishop attended UW and called Gas Works Park an early practice space. They've since grown, adding five members, countless instruments, and a debut album, 2008's To Travels & Trunks, for good measure. AP

Hey Marseilles, 8 p.m. Monday, Starbucks Stage

Hoff, Christopher Martin

(The city holds its breath.)

A transplant from Georgia, Hoff arrived in Seattle a decade ago, and soon began to learn about his new home by painting it. Until his untimely death in March at age 39, Hoff specialized in plein-air painting—setting up shop on the sidewalk and documenting our viaducts, Dumpsters, and cranes at the port. In his streetscape oils, emptied of people, we see the vacant alleys of Pioneer Square, parking lots filled only with graffiti, construction sites lying dormant beneath tarps and waiting for the recession to end. It's like the city is holding its breath. BM

Christopher Martin Hoff Remembered, 11 a.m. to close, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, Fisher Pavilion

Jackson, Wanda

(The rockabilly queen is produced—and her husband is prayed for—by Jack White.)

When I spoke to Wanda Jackson not long after the release of her phenomenal The Party Ain't Over, produced by Jack White, I asked her who chose the gospel song "Dust on the Bible." I was surprised to hear that White had—and more surprised to hear that when Jackson's husband was in the hospital last year, White dropped her a note saying he'd been praying for him. I asked White about his approach to spirituality and prayer earlier this month:

"It's funny. I don't believe in any religious things very much. I only believe in God, really. But there's times if you believe in God that I think you have to tell yourself there's a good chance he might not exist, and that's the way to sort of look at it from both sides. It helps even everything out.

"Even if you're an atheist, if you can think that you can pray out loud to something, whatever psychological effect that it can have on you and the people around you—like if somebody's sick—it can bring everyone on the same level . . . It doesn't matter if God exists or not, in a real, arbitrary way.

"But in a bigger sense, it can influence everything, because if you try to create a song, or you try to create something like an album, it pales in comparison to what a God could create: a universe. And that's sort of embarrassing that the best we can come up with down here—a bridge or a pyramid or "The Star Spangled Banner"—is kind of ridiculous in comparison to a star or a planet." CK

Wanda Jackson & the Dusty 45s, 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Starbucks Stage

Jones, Sharon

(Author of the most overplayed song in KEXP history.)

Jones' "I Learned the Hard Way" is not a bad song, but when an otherwise stellar independent radio station plays a song to death, fatigue sets in, tricking the listener into thinking the song is bad. Jones is a soul powerhouse; she doesn't need an overexuberant boost of white guilt to help her top the mountain. MIKE SEELY 

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, 1:45 p.m. Sunday, Bumbershoot Mainstage

Kate, Katie

(Local art-rap creator; electronic architect.)

Seattle's own Katie Kate shined as a producer on her 2011 debut, Flatland, and used her made-from-scratch beats to their utmost potential (most of the time). Her creatively delivered lyrics jump from sassy brag rap to chilly future R&B with equal effectiveness. TH

Katie Kate, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, The Promenade

Lights

(Not a band, but a lithe Canadian popstress.)

Lights first came to America's attention in 2008, when her song "The Last Thing on Your Mind" was featured in an Old Navy commercial that aired incessantly during Gossip Girl. But unlike the insufferable Bay Area band Pomplamoose, which basically records songs exclusively for promotional use, Lights has already enjoyed a respectable career as one of Canada's foremost young pop stars. MS

Lights, 8 p.m. Monday, Exhibition Hall Stage

Low

(If only Mitt were as hip as these Mormons.)

If America is having its Mormon moment right now thanks to the dad-jeans candidacy of Willard "Mitt" Romney, it's a pity he's using Kid Rock's music at campaign rallies in preference to that of his co-religionists. Led by the married Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker since 1993 (with various bassists), the Minnesota slowcore band is now on Sub Pop, which last spring released C'mon, a gorgeous collection of swelling ballads and close harmonies. BM

Low, 6:45 p.m. Monday, Sub Pop Stage

L.P.

(The best thing that's ever happened to Citibank's marketing team.)

The initials L.P.—stage name of pop/rock artist Laura Pergolizzi—ring few bells at first mention. But once heard, the curly-topped musician's raw vocals are tough to forget. When Citibank featured L.P.'s "Into the Wild" in a 2011 commercial, audiences actually turned up the volume, and the songwriter-turned-singer became television's faceless voice of the moment. While baby-stepping into her own spotlight, L.P. penned songs for Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, and Heidi Montag. Blessed with pipes that have been compared to Janis Joplin's and Gwen Stefani's, what L.P. lacks in recognition she overcompensates for in ferocity. KELLIE COX 

L.P., 4:30 p.m. Monday, Starbucks Stage

MAD Magazine

(The baby boom honed its sense of humor in those pulpy pages.)

Launched in 1952, MAD helped pave the way for Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and the stand-up comedy boom's generational skepticism toward all forms of authority. It was rude and transgressive even before the '60s began. And though it's still published, it's been overwhelmed by its spawn on cable, YouTube, and the rest of the web. Today, in a talk called "The Joy of Censorship," MAD editor Joe Raiola will discuss how the magazine offended parents and teachers, delighted young readers, and gave the middle finger to an oppressively square society. BM

Joe Raiola, 1:45 p.m. Sunday, Words & Ideas Stage

Maximum Velocity

(A quartet of modern-dance tricksters, close to home.) 

It wouldn't be Bumbershoot without a contingent from the Seattle dance community, so Velocity Dance Center sends some of its best. Zoe Scofield and Amy O'Neal are both well known to Seattle audiences; Kate Wallich and Markeith Wiley are newer additions, but they're all at the forefront of the field. SK

Maximum Velocity, 12:15 p.m. Monday, Bagley Wright Theatre

Mecca

(Classic diner food, and a lot of it.)

Start your day fueling up with a stack of pancakes from this classic diner, or take a break mid-fest and chow down on a hot deli sandwich (the French dip is a winner) or chicken-fried steak with a heaping side of mashed potatoes, all doused in gravy. The comfort food's about 10 times more satisfying than anything you'll overpay for onsite. EKT

526 Queen Anne Ave. N., 285-9728

Niki & The Dove

(The Swedish pop duo stands for light, color, and freedom of sound.)

The cover of Niki & The Dove's first album, Instinct, pictures bandmates Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlöf in front of a bright-blue sky and huge full moon. A shooting star streaks across one corner, while a tropical green forest sits in the background. Karlöf's jacket is studded with jewels; Dahlström, wearing a breastplate with multicolored wings, swoons across his shoulder.

"The vision [for the artwork] was something that is such a precise word in Swedish: hötorgskonst. When I try to say it in English, it doesn't come through," Dahlström says. "It means that . . . in Times Square, for example, there are certain artists that sit there and they paint in a certain style, it's a certain aesthetic. [They] paint wolves looking at the moon, or horses running in mist."

This splashy aesthetic matches the feathery headpieces and streaks of glittery face paint that Dahlström wears in photoshoots and onstage. "We wanted to go against the minimalistic black that reigns in Sweden," she says. "We wanted to do color. We wanted color as a statement of something that isn't in power. All the things in power in the world are somewhat restrained and very conformed in their color, and things that are under power are in color. We didn't want to signal . . . We wanted to . . . " She hesitates, searching for the right words in English. "We wanted to communicate freedom!"

Dahlström is speaking from her hometown of Gothenburg, where she and Karlöf are rehearsing for a fall tour of the U.S. to promote Instinct, released in August by Sub Pop. Its 14 cutting pop tracks feature a disparity of sound that goes with the duo's touchstones of freedom and color: Some spike with sharp beats ("The Fox," "Tomorrow"), some glow with burnished passion ("DJ, Ease My Mind," "In Our Eyes"). Dahlström's distinctively icy vocals tie them all together.

Karlöf, who's known Dahlström for more than 10 years, recalls, "The first time I met Malin was when I heard her singing with her guitar, and it was so beautiful. I envied the piano player that played with her, and I said to myself, 'That's gonna be my goal, to be that piano player.' " EKT

Niki & The Dove, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sub Pop Stage

Oberhofer

(A sort of homecoming for a Tacoman.)

Tacoma-born, Brooklyn-based Brad Oberhofer is just 21. In the past year, his eponymous punk-rock band has released their propulsive first record, Time Capsules II, and made big-name appearances at Coachella and on Letterman's Late Show. EKT

Oberhofer, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sub Pop Stage

1 Reel Film Festival

(All shorts, all three days, one venue.)

Most packages run about an hour at 1 Reel, the nation's largest film festival devoted entirely to shorts. This year's buffet programs include nerds, children's fare, highlights from SIFF, music, and romance gone sour. Remember that SIFF's Film Center is in the old Alki Room, not beneath McCaw Hall, meaning fewer seats and longer lines. Queue early and bring a book to read while you wait. BM

1 Reel Film Festival, noon to close, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, SIFF Film Center

Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The

(Like Belle and Sebastian. With balls.)

Listening to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart spin odd tales of teenage love and sexual frustration over a blistering racket of electric guitars and crash cymbals, it's hard for me not to hear an amped-up version of Belle and Sebastian. Indeed, lead singer Kip Berman's lithe and melodic vocals can lull you into a sense of wholesomeness—which is tempered when you catch a lyric or two from "This Love Is Fucking Right" (about sister love, as far as I can tell) or "My Terrible Friend." But if that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, worry not. The chaos this New York four-piece brings is so complete and wonderful that the lyrics fall by the wayside early and often in the three-minute bursts of their songs. DP

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, 5 p.m. Monday, Sub Pop Stage

Passion Pit

(Purveyors of pretty songs about being down.)

Despite the up-tempo dance beats and chipper vocals, Passion Pit's second album, Gossamer, is a stunning account of Michael Angelakos' struggle to get a grip on his unraveling life. His honest recounting of his mental-health issues and alcoholism would be overwhelmingly depressing were it not paired with the band's signature synth-pop sound—so upbeat that listeners not paying attention could overlook the album's message: Angelakos sings "I'm so self-loathing it's hard for me to see reality from what I dream" amid pounding drums and squeaky harmonies. Even though the sound and subject matter are contradictory, Passion Pit has melded them into a complex and pleasing collection of pop. SE

Passion Pit, 9:15 p.m. Monday, TuneIn Stage

Pharmacy, The

(The local road warriors are back in town.)

Vashon Island's finest band is almost 10 years old but shows no sign of slowing: The garage-rock trio's spent much of the year on the road, promoting two new EPs, Dig Your Grave and Josephine, precursors to the band's upcoming LP, the tellingly titled Stoned & Alone. EKT

The Pharmacy, 4:30 p.m. Monday, The Promenade

Posehn, Brian

(A big galoot with a metal fixation.)

Brian Posehn has made a comedy career out of being underestimated. He's a big galoot often lurking in supporting roles (The Sarah Silverman Program, Just Shoot Me, The Five-Year Engagement, etc.), but never the star. Yet the mountain-tall 6'6" comic has made his . . . er, distinctively bald, jowly, hangdog appearance into a strength. He's always silently looming at the periphery of a scene. He quite literally looks down on the comic commotion, the hubbub at his feet. And though he visually presents as a slacker, he's anything but. Besides comedy, he's a heavy-metal scholar, a serious foodie (of the food-truck persuasion), and a proud sci-fi geek. His three shows will include several other performers and drop-by visitors. BM

Brian Posehn, 8 p.m Saturday, 2:45 p.m. Sunday, 6:15 p.m. Monday, Intiman Theatre

Post-Bone Brunch

(Peso's target audience didn't go home last night.)

The first and only time I had brunch at Peso's, I was clearly the "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others" thing: unshowered and bleary, but wearing fresh clothes and having managed to twist my large, sheep-like hair into two Princess Leia buns. The other lady brunchers had not yet made it back to their closets and eye-makeup remover. As Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" blared at karaoke-bar volume, girls in last night's knee-high boots and cleavage-bearing dresses struggled to keep their uncombed hair out of their chipotle-chile hollandaise. Breakfast margaritas, Bloody Marys, and mimosas—is there a more delicious way to wash down the Plan B? If the walk of shame is a rainbow, then Peso's is its pot of gold. RB

605 Queen Anne Ave. N., 283-9353

Post-Fest's Most Shameful Meal

(Shameful can be delicious, especially at KFC/Taco Bell.)

Somehow it was decided that Little Miss Lower Queen Anne, with her handsome old brick buildings and never-ending nail salons, would behold a Kentucky Fried Taco Hut. Well, really it's only a Kentucky Fried Taco Bell, the ingenious fast-food hybrid restaurant for stoners, preggos, and those who simply want it all. Why settle on just a Cheesy Gordita Crunch when you could simultaneously grip a bucket of extra-tasty crispy chicken between your thighs? Two birds, one gut-bomb. RB

201 W. Mercer St., 283-7575

Promise Ring, The

(Shiny happy emo.)

Born from the ashes of the ridiculously prodigious Chicago emo-core outfit Cap'n Jazz, The Promise Ring came to exemplify emo's increasingly successful mid-to-late-'90s wave: sweet, sappy, heart-on-sleeve stuff that referenced Rites of Spring's punk/hardcore ebullitions just slightly less than it did conventional power pop and pop-punk. What may have paved the way for the Dashboard Confessionals of the world turned out to be a great look for The Promise Ring, though, revealing Davey von Bohlen as a gifted songwriter of hopelessly catchy, charming, and cute pop tunes (though a singer whose raspy, perpetually adolescent voice may be an acquired taste). Reunited for 2012, expect loads of happy nostalgia and adorable rocking-out. EG

The Promise Ring, 6:15 p.m. Sunday, Exhibition Hall

Queen Anne, Lower

(No matter how much fun Bumbershoot is, you'll occasionally want to escape.)

Lower Queen Anne—or as neighborhood marketeers prefer it to be known, Uptown—is renowned for one thing and one thing only: its handy location. Peso's and Ozzie's are the neighborhood's most popular nocturnal haunts, but if you want any level of tranquility, the Streamline, Oskar's, Solo, and Crow are more reasonable choices, and the Bloody Mary brunches at the Mecca and 5 Point (technically in Belltown, but close enough) rate among the city's best. MS

Open 365 days per year, including Labor Day weekend.

Remix, Plagiarism, or Theft?

(The Verve: victims or villains?)

This may be the most interesting conversation of the whole weekend. What are the limits of appropriating another artist's work? Clearly, when The Verve sampled Andrew Oldham in "Bitter Sweet Symphony," they created a wonderful new work and shouldn't have had to forfeit all their publishing money to that asshole Allen Klein. Still, you shouldn't be able to just take a famous photograph, draw some lipstick on it, and call it a completely new thing. Or should you? Probably the person who took the famous photograph would say no and the person who drew lipstick on it would say yes, but all discussions of art and commerce involve passionate and inchoate feelings that are best expressed in the moment. In the long run it'll all be decided by lawyers somewhere, but in the meantime talking about it is good brain food. JR

Remix, Plagiarism, or Theft? 1:45 p.m. Monday, Words & Ideas Stage

Retro Daddy

(Where were you in '62?)

Since we're celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World's Fair this year, who better to educate the Bumberthrongs on Seattle Center's design and decor than the self-proclaimed "Retro Daddy," aka Charles Phoenix. A chef, designer, and author (Americana the Beautiful: Mid-Century Culture in Kodachrome), he knows just what made America hip—or square—during that long-ago JFK era. From Tiki idols to cocktail hour, his lectures are both catty and celebratory. BM 

Charles Phoenix, 1 p.m. Saturday, Words & Ideas Stage

Robot, Gay

(Nick Swardson created the funniest Comedy Central series to never get made.)

How do you make a robot gay? Spill a wine cooler on him and then have him join a fraternity. This is the premise of Nick Swardson's Gay Robot, arguably the funniest pilot to never make Comedy Central's lineup (unless you count Gay Robot's occasional appearances on Swardson's Pretend Time). Swardson often shows up in the sidekick role in Adam Sandler movies, and, like Sandler's, his work is extremely lowbrow. Yet if you're willing to scrape off the mud a bit, you'll be privy to some hilariously clever cultural insight. MS

Nick Swardson, 1 p.m. Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Sunday, and 2:45 p.m. Monday, Intiman Theatre.

Rules

(Bring yer own.)

If you're not crazy about Bumbershoot's gyros, feel free to pack your own lamb sandwich—or whatever else you're legally craving. It's fine to bring food and non-alcoholic drinks to the festival, so long as you observe the strict "no glass bottles and no cans" rule. Reusable water bottles are encouraged, but must be empty when you enter a Mainstage show. HR

Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St.

Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra

(Some of the best music ever made.)

The jazz of the 1930s and '40s as played by the big bands of the day was perhaps the finest American musical accomplishment, and might actually be the highest form of ensemble music in human history. The fact that it is now primarily experienced as Saving Private Ryan movie music or equated with Brian Setzer's rockabilly misappropriation is a dead shame. Big-band music cannot be properly experienced on record. You need to get in front of those horns blowing eight-to-the-bar to begin to know its hair-raising glory, and in actual fact you should be dancing to it as if tonight were your last night on Earth and tomorrow you'll get shipped off with the Marines. If your response to the word "jazz" is to roll your eyes and picture someone on public television lecturing you on how important it is that you appreciate a guy playing a six-minute solo on a muted trumpet, do yourself a favor: Free your mind. This isn't kitsch and you don't need saddle shoes—this is some of the best music ever made. JR

Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Starbucks Stage

Seattle Symphony

(For once, see classical musicians not dressed like Noël Coward.)

If I were in charge, orchestras would can the tux forever. (Why, thanks for asking: black pants, and shirts in golden-brown shades that harmonize with string and brass instruments.) But the SSO is moving in the right direction at least once a year, at Bumbershoot, with its "Symphony Untuxed" presentation: chamber music and chat with SSO musicians. The program seems calculated for maximum eclecticism, from a Bach concerto to light zakuski by Russian composers (Shostakovich, Schnittke, Pelecis) and the beguiling Memo by Michel van der Aa in which a violinist duets with himself via cassette player. GAVIN BORCHERT 

Symphony Untuxed, 12:15 p.m. Sunday, Bagley Wright Theater

Segall, Ty

(Lo-fi bandit; man of many projects.)

Guitarist/yeller Ty Segall has fashioned a career out of making gritty, rocking-ass recordings that transpose the listener back into the garage where the songs were born. Energy trumped complexity again on this year's Slaughterhouse (under the Ty Segall Band banner), and that's OK with us, because we like to party. TH

Ty Segall, 3:15 p.m. Monday, Sub Pop Stage

Skillet

(The future begins with fried chicken.)

The 1962 World's Fair's vision of the future was looking especially decrepit in the Seattle Center House, where Orange Julius—the last vestige of the fair's "food circus"—symbolized the cheap, generic offerings that had become synonymous with lunch on the property. To bring the venue in line with contemporary local dining expectations, the Center took an aggressive stand, terminating Orange Julius' lease, hiring Graham Baba Architects (the firm responsible for the Kolstrand Building and Melrose Market, among other high-profile projects), and recruiting Josh Henderson to open Skillet Counter, a mini-version of Skillet Diner. After landing Skillet, the Center announced deals with independent operators including Eltana, Plum Bistro, and Bigfood. The first new vendors opened this summer. "If we can help revitalize the center, that would be great," Henderson told the Puget Sound Business Journal. "My ultimate dream is to have it end up being like the San Francisco Ferry Building—to have it become a destination all its own." HR

Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St.

Skrillex

(In the tradition of Bonham, music as physical force.)

Dubstep poster boy Skrillex makes way too easy a target: the screamo, the lopsided hair—hell, the whole aesthetic package, really. But while you can blame Sonny Moore almost singlehandedly for "EDM" and the bro-stepping of electronic music in America, it's pretty hard to argue with the phenomenological core of his sound: the drop. Especially live, Skrillex's famous bass-frequency plunges aren't so much a new thing as the latest in a timeless tradition of music as physical force, from John Bonham's thundering drums to the Bomb Squad's sample strafes. You don't think about it, you feel it, bro. Love him or hate him, you probably owe it to yourself to see how it feels live. EG

Skrillex, 9:30 p.m. Monday, Mainstage

Skyward!

(Jane, get me off this crazy thing!)

More than a dozen local artists will help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the World's Fair by . . . looking forward? Yes, Britta Johnson, Dietrich Wenger, Hannah Viano, Iole Alessandrini, and a dozen more will imagine life as The Jetsons imagined life in the year 2062. Whether that means flying cars, robot maids, personal jet packs, or mechanical dogs remains to be seen. BM

Skyward!, 11 a.m. to close, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, Fisher Pavilion

Sub Pop

(Bumbershoot finally just gives the local label the keys to a stage.)

Next year Sub Pop Records turns 25! 25! The label that launched Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Fleet Foxes will be celebrating with what we understand to be all manner of shenanigans. To get warmed up, Bumbershoot handed the local label the keys to their own stage at the fest, and they've responded appropriately, bringing in a number of acts that represent their long history (Mudhoney, the Vaselines), and eclectic tastes (Unnatural Helpers, THEESatisfaction). CK

TacocaT

(If Pabst Blue Ribbon were a band, it would be TacocaT.)

TacocaT is discordant and goofy—like an R-rated Presidents, but with Hillary(s) in the Oval Office. They're an OK band to thrash around drunk to, but it'll cost you a shitload to drink at Bumbershoot unless you smuggle in your own hooch, so we'd recommend waiting for their next sweaty club gig to get the quintessential TacocaT experience. MS

TacocaT, 12:15 p.m. Saturday, Sub Pop Stage (Fountain Lawn)

thenewno2

(Dammit, Dhani! Just say you're a Beatle's kid!)

Thenewno2 is another in the long line of attempts by the children of famous people to forge their own careers by overmodestly subsuming their identities within a "band." In this case it's Dhani Harrison, son of George, who has chosen not to trade on his famous father's name and instead play guitar in an unpronounceable combo. He was one of the best things about the 2002 "Concert for George" tribute, just strumming and smiling through the whole torpid affair, and of all the Beatles' kids he's the one most likely to make listenable pop now that Julian Lennon lives in a house shaped like a giant petunia. However, that he's performing under the name thenewno2 instead of just calling his band Dhani Harrison means that despite a lifetime of digesting Krishna humility with his lentils, he still doesn't have any real friends willing to tell him when his ideas are bad. JR

thenewno2, 9 p.m. Sunday, The Promenade

Too Drunk to Write

(We asked Too Beautiful to Live's Luke Burbank to write about his podcast/lifestyle. This is what we got.)

"Urg. I think I'm too drunk to this." LUKE BURBANK 

Too Beautiful to Live, 1:15 p.m. Monday, Vera Project

Ward, M.

(Better without his female companion.)

Fans of this Portland singer/songwriter were given a reprieve from a three-year album drought in 2012 with the release of his splendid Wasteland Companion. Not that Matt Ward wasn't making music: rather, he was working hard as the Him half of She and Him, a project with actress/singer Zooey Deschanel that was well-received but had a saccharine sheen that left many, myself included, yearning for a return to his more brooding style. There's a consistent, almost static quality to Ward's solo work—not a flaw; Ward's catalog amazes a listener time and again as he finds new spaces within his carefully curated sound (think a wicked guitarist with a warbling voice, backed by a pianist and a drummer in an empty dance hall). Wasteland Companion continues the amazement, though it's notably more upbeat than his previous albums. Perhaps making music with beautiful actresses has certain restorative effects. DP

M. Ward, 9:45 p.m. Saturday, TuneIn Stage

Waters, John

(So much more than a pencil mustache.)

Would you give this man a ride? The famed auteur of classic camp movies including Pink Flamingos and Hairspray, Waters has lately turned his attention to writing. His wit ranges far beyond Baltimore sleaze and transgression, and he loves to travel in search of odd Americana. In fact, while researching his next book, tentatively called The Kindness of America, he's been thumbing his way across the country, begging for rides from complete strangers—many of whom have done high-speed double-takes on the highway upon spying the well-known TV personality. And in exchange for a ride, just think what stories he told them. BM

John Waters, 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Bagley Wright Theatre

Wells, Tyrone

(The Spokane songwriter has come out on top after abandoning his safety net.)

In his 12 years as a solo artist, folk-pop singer Tyrone Wells has done things most musicians only dream of, from signing a contract with Universal Records and releasing two successful albums, Hold On and Remain, to hearing his songs in countless movies and television shows. But he's also done things many musicians would call crazy, including leaving Universal and again becoming an independent artist. After having a revelation on, of all places, a cruise ship, Wells just decided it was time for him to do his own thing. Though the leap may have been scary, it was the right choice. His 2009 release, Metal & Wood, spent nearly three weeks atop the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart, and 2012's Where We Meet might be his most personal release to date. AP

Tyrone Wells, 9 p.m. Monday, The Promenade

Why?

(Yes, that's not a trick question.)

"I use the first person 'cause it sounds more urgent," Yoni Wolf raps on the final track of Why?'s latest, the Sod in the Seed EP, "but the truth is I probably knew myself less than you did." It's a typical Why? riddle—one that will resonate with longtime fans because Wolf has erected a monumental "I" over 10-plus years and four albums of idiosyncratic indie rock and rap. However much it reflects Wolf in real life, it's become a complex, sickeningly enthralling character. Wolf is just as weirdly magnetic onstage, and the band is as nimble and tricky as his raps. EG

Why?, 1 p.m. Sunday, Exhibition Hall

Yams

(Keeping the kids healthy.)

From elephant ears to garlic fries, festival concessions run greasy, but the menu within the Armory is slated to take a nutritious turn any day now. Plum Market, an offshoot of Capitol Hill's popular Plum Bistro, will soon be serving its yammy vegan dishes, and Bean Sprouts, a "hip and healthy" kids' cafe, plans to offer whole wheat mac 'n' cheese, edamame, and mushy split-pea dahl for babies. HR

Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St.

Yelawolf

(Dirty South rap star, Shady Records rep.)

One of the more promising new-ish Southern rappers, Yela has skills on the mike—if you can get past his stuttered delivery, spotty production, and uneven guests. The country-bred lyricist may have seemed like a strange addition to (Eminem's) Shady Records' roster of household names, but he's just the kind underdog/outsider-with-a-chip-on-his-shoulder who fans want to root for. TH 

Yelawolf, 4 p.m. Sunday, TuneIn Stage

 
comments powered by Disqus