The first two days of Bumbershoot are always charged with a Pokemon-like compulsion to try to catch everything, but by the final day of the fest, things feel more relaxed--you've come to accept that you won't see every thing, that the weekend is slowly drawing to a close, and that that's OK. The result, for me at least, was probably the most relaxed day of covering the festival, though it was not without its excitement.
Big Boi, shining.
Best of the day, and among the best sets of the weekend, was Big Boi's bass-heavy medley of Outkast songs and his own excellent solo material. You could feel the bass rumbling through the bleachers--it was probably the single most impressive audio feat I witnessed all weekend. And then the songs, damn! The absence of Andre 3000 and other guest rappers may be what necessitates doing these songs as a medley, but the rapid-fire result might be worth doing anyway just for the sheer ADHD pleasure of hearing "Ghettomusick" blended into "B.O.B." or the run of "Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik"-->"Playa's Ball"-->"Elevators"-->"We Will Rock You"-->"Shine Blockas." (Some ladies were brought on stage to dance for a couple songs but from where I was sitting they were all handily shown up by the dance moves of one extended family member of Fly Moon Royalty.)
More (including some final thoughts) after the jump...
Going from the bright boasts of "Shine Blockas" to the heartfelt invitations of YACHT's "Psychic City (Voodoo City)" felt like a survey of anthems of summers past, but more happy nostalgic than melancholy. Prior to that set closer, though I saw YACHT do a couple anthems of possible summer futures, namely the flip sides "Dystopia (The Earth Is on Fire)" and "Utopia." Claire L. Evans led the band for these songs, with YACHT founder Jona Bectolt sitting in on drums or killing it on bass respectively. With Evans up front--wearing a white robe to Bechtolt's black button-up and the band's prim grey cult cadet uniforms--the band seemed to be tapping into more of their inner woo-woo B-52s vibe. "Psychic City," though--well, shit, that song is just believer-making magic.
From there on, my day kind of unwound, but a few quick notes:
Dennis Coffey's hot funk guitar licks and his band's classic percussion breaks sounded so damn good under the hot sun on the Fisher Green stage that it was like Das Racist's abysmal muffle of the day before must've happened there in an alternate universe.
Don't Talk to the Cops! are a lot of damn fun. They brought out some pint-sized breakdancers (along with some regular-sized ones) to set off their not-exactly-kid-friendly hip hop goofs; they ended "Meth Heads" by dropping a Dennis Coffey lick after the chant of "Me I drink coffee/So get up off me," which was cute; they threw in a mini-set of evil-twin project Don't Talk to the Cops!, highlighted by some tight synchronized dance moves. The glasses are nice, yes.
At the comedy stage I discovered that Anthony Jeselnik HATES his girlfriends. And his mom. And other women. He made a fat joke about a girl sitting in the front row (after some q&a she said she wanted to be a journalist, and he said "Let me guess . . . food critic?"), and then a couple jokes later, she was the first of many people to walk out. Also, rape jokes! I cannot imagine how Hari Kondabolu hung out in the same green room as this guy except to think that Kyle Kinane must've just held them both in one big, gentle-bearded bear hug/restraint hold the entire time. (To be fair, shit was brutally mean and offensive, but the timing, deadpan delivery, set-ups, etc. were all ace.)
Truckasaurus sounded big and hi-def in the EMP Sky Church, and I would've gladly watched their whole set, but a sense of duty (to myself as much as to this publication) made me leave to check out the night's headliners...
And Hall & Oates were exactly what I expected: Weird, old-looking versions of themselves (which is to say, appropriately aged versions of themselves), playing their songs with the easy professionalism of lifelong musicians and the good humor of old friends. To the presumable horror of this paper's art director, Oates has of course lost the mustache (trading down for what looked from the bleachers like a soul-patch!), while Hall has grown a beard and, wearing sunglasses inside, gave off a bit of a Dude vibe. The overall vibe, though, was decidedly yacht rock, with smooth rocking guitar shredding ended with a tinkle of drum chimes or set off by a sax solo. Like I tweeted, the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery looked different last night somehow. To be fair (or at least honest), if they'd been playing "Private Eyes" the moment I walked in, I would have been in love; as it was, I left after a song and a half's confirmation.
Overall, I don't mind the scaled-back version of Bumbershoot. I like being able to walk around without being sardined the entire time, I didn't miss the Broad Street Lawn stage as much as I expected (it's a nice stage, but I never went more than an hour wanting for something worth seeing elsewhere). But the KeyArena instead of the open-air Memorial Stadium felt like kind of a drag when it was nice out, even though the sound was great. And while Decibel and Bumbershoot's Bumbershoot After Dark seemed like experiments worth doing--sometimes you just gotta throw shit at the wall and see what works--I think it was ultimately a pretty stark disappointment (especially compared to Decibel Festival itself).