Among many, yesterday's Bumbershoot highlights included:

Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo in the KEXP Music Lounge, who led the audience (unfortunately the smallest of the day)


Bumbershoot: Day One

Part Deux

Among many, yesterday's Bumbershoot highlights included:

Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo in the KEXP Music Lounge, who led the audience (unfortunately the smallest of the day) in a group "Ohm" session while she sang in her traditional style over the top. It took some coaxing to get the tentative crowd's (even in a yoga loving town like Seattle) chanting juices flowing, but she took her time, asking everyone to shed the layers of how they perceive themselves, and just come together, from the heart, in the moment. She followed with a dedication to the Dhali Lama, of whom she said "For Tibetans, he is like the sun. Without him, there is no light." I'm pretty sure I caught a glimpse of the Uptight Seattleite adjusting his fanny pack in the front row.

Foot stomping, washboard rapping folkers Cave Singers slayed it, as always, delivering much of the material from their forthcoming Matador release Invitation Songs (out September 25th) with all the floor pounding goodness they've become known for in their short time as a band. It was early in the day still, but the crowd was packed in tightly, mostly on metal folding chairs, until frontman Pete Quirk invited folks to fill in the chair-free spaces in the front, to which a rush of kids responded and sat, cross-legged at the foot of the stage.

The Shins played to a packed crowd in Memorial Stadium, starting off with much of their newer material from Wincing the Night Away and Chutes, before getting the crowd amped with the old school favorites from Oh Inverted World that catapulted them into mainstream awareness thanks to Natalie Portman and her humongous, life-changing headphones. During a hushed "New Slang", the crowd control folks decided to spray the masses with a hose, inciting cheers so loud, they nearly overrode the song. It was enough though, to set teenage girls across the sea of groping, er, helping hands- they were the crowd surfing majority for the melodic set. Proud new papa (to a baby daughter) ,James Mercer was dressed far from the standard indie-rock uniform of Levis and All Stars, and more like like a dapper dad, with 18-hole worthy plaid, slacks and loafers. An encore of Pink Floyd's Breathe had people hooting nearly as loud as they did for the water to be sprayed in their direction.

An antics filled set was delivered by Seattle popsters The Lashes, who entertained the crowd during a long period of technical difficulties by playing Scarborough Fair on the kazoo before they finally got the problem fixed using a foil gum wrapper provided by an audience member. After only two practices since guitarist Eric Howk returned from recovering in Alaska from the accident that left him partially paralyzed, the band was on point, and full of their usual tricks. Frontman Ben Clark used his cell phone to call the breaking news line of what he thought was the TV station across the street from the stage where they were playing to report the "breaking news" that "The Lashes are playing!!!" before breaking into song. A few newbies made their live debut's, including the aptly titled "Look at Us" and the band made several references to the fact that they'd recorded five new songs "in secret" that would be released sometime before 2008. A grand finale saw Clark tossing streamers and full cans of silly string into the crowd full of kids, who put the to good use.

NYC Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello took the stage long after sundown, and with the darkness dimming inhibitions, the crowd went crazy for their high energy show.  Well-practiced, but also probably exhausted, at this point, they've been on the road since May, with little break, this was on of their last shows before heading back to the LES for awhile. Flame throwers on the lawn behind, provided a perfect accompaniment to their rowdy, Eastern European flavored cabaret circus act, replete with accordions, fiddles and much jumping around in colorful costumes. It was the most high energy set of the day by far, the crowd never stopped moving.

Sub Poppers Grand Archives emerged from the mountains, where they're in the process of recording their forthcoming full-length debut, to play on the EMP Sky Church stage. It was a taste of what's to come- they showcased much of what will be on the record, consistent with the melodic, many layered harmonies that got them signed.

Stay tuned, much more from the front lines (or, lines at least) today and tomorrow. 


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