Photos by Marcella D. Volpintesta. Click the photo for a slideshow of The Blakes' set.
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Notes by Travis Ritter
Arrived to the grounds shortly after noon, in time to catch twenty minutes of Fleet Foxes' broadcasting live on KEXP. These days, with the possibility of being heard all around the world, I only hope that someone heard what we did, something that was golden rich with purity and truth. Songwriter Robin Pecknold has a voice of pure honey, a bold cure-all that naturally occurs. Fleet Foxes are one of those bands should have everything that Neil Young, Coldplay, and David Crosby have achieved – the respect of such impeccable song craft that moves and touches you. I've heard that they're in the talks with a record label, and are recording their forthcoming debut with NW indie mastermind, Phil Ek. Their new material is really, really good. I can't wait to hear more when they play at 6:15 at the Sky Church.
Over to Yeti at the Literary Arts Stage, where I had one of the most endearing and sentimental experiences as a writer. Yeti is the Portland based zine published by Mike McGonigal and the time used during their block was as diverse as its pages content. I walked in while a woman, whose name I missed (playwright Stacey Levine, maybe?) She read an eloquent, yet troubling and conflicted account of a woman frustrated by her grandmother. Next up was Spencer Moody, Triumph of Lethargy member, who came out with a child-size acoustic guitar and played an somber, Arab Strap-ish song alongside nimble guitarist Tennessee Rose and then noticeably shaking while reading two pieces of short fiction. Afterward, an afro-sporting, soon-to-be fourth-grader named Joshua Lindenmayer came out and sat down next to Moody to do an interview. Throughout the awkward, obviously first interview Joshua has ever done, he fiddled with the mic and shuffled his chair all around and asked things like “What band are you in?” “What's your favorite band name?” “If you had an island, what would you name it?” and “What is your favorite question I have asked you today?” in between a lot of “umm's” before turning the asking Moody to interview him. This kind of stuff isn't scripted. I remember my first interview vividly, and I think I will remember this kid's for a long time too.
Caught Joss Stone just as her backing band was wrapping up their James Brown-inspired instrumental soul build-up, and she emerged as the first performer at Memorial Stadium today. The place was noticeably more crowded than Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's opening slot yesterday, but Stone worked the crowd like a baby-faced professional, totally in tune with her seasoned seven-piece band and three back-up singers, strutting and working the stage with a soulful, even sexy swagger.
Had to leave to catch Portland hip hop MC/DJ Ohmega Watts, who brought the golden age of hip hop out of hibernation for the people- a block party lemonade and grill feeling set with a lot of typical hip hop posturing and respect-seeking unity. Nothing new, but still right for the mind and attitude of the weekend.
Bounced to the Blakes, whose simple, catchy sound had all the right ingredients to be the next big thing (as much as I hate that phrase) and the reception to their first ever Bumbershoot performance was huge. Autograph sessions afterward? Awesome!
Cooled down with Night Canopy in the desolate north west quadrant of Seattle Center. Amy Blaschke reminds me both of Dusty Springfield and Stevie Nicks. By the time she played solo to close off her set, I was already under her spell.
Coming up: 33 1/3 reading, Fleet Foxes, Roky Erickson, Lupe Fiasco and Wu-Tang Clan.