Best Costume of Bumbershoot: Victor Shade's green spandex and yellow cape.
1. Ryan Abeo looks good in tights. While performing as Victor Shade on Monday afternoon, Abeo (also known as RA Scion of Common Market) donned green spandex, gold underwear, and a yellow cape. (Doesn't hurt that Victor Shade totally killed it.) It's the second year he's pulled off a clever gimmick at Bumbershoot: last year, his Common Market performance featured interpretive dance and balloons.
2. This year, festival-goers were all about sitting down during mellower performances. Blankets lined the lawns at the Starbucks and Broad Street Stage, where people casually lounged for Justin Townes Earle and David Bazan. During Bob Dylan's set, I even spotted some folks reclining on the floor of the Memorial Stadium. For example:
This was taken just minutes before Earle took the stage. Some of these people stood up, but most remained seated.
3. Talking to the audience is totally optional for performers. Neither the Moondoggies nor Fences said more than a few sentences to their respective audiences. Chris Mansfield of Fences, in particular, had some polite thank yous to offer, but otherwise, he avoided the witty stage banter during his Sunday set at the EMP Sky Church. Good thing his poetic songs speak for themselves.
4. Sometimes, the stage banter is the best part of the set. Don't get me wrong: Billy Bragg is a great songwriter, and by taking the stage with only an electric guitar and his body, he proved a backing band isn't necessary to be bad ass. But his political speeches on Sunday night received more riotous applause from fans than his songs did. The jokes cracked by BOAT and the self-deprecating comments made by Earle are close seconds.
5. Every musician needs a great cover song in their repertoire.
To celebrate Bumbershoot's 40th anniversary, some of this year's bands were asked to perform covers of songs written in the past 40 years. This gimmick actually birthed stellar covers by See Me River and BOAT; it may also be responsible for Hole's rendition of "Jeremy."