Despite Chris's cries that this year's Bumbershoot feels nothing like the fests of yore, even a lazy festivalgoer could find pockets of good energy throughout the fest yesterday. You could feel it among the hormone-addled teenage fans at Brite Futures on the main stage, and as the pot haze drifted over the crowd during Shabazz. It was palpable at Trombone Shorty's incredible set in the KEXP music lounge, and in the euphoric crowd dancing ecstatically to Starfucker. To find it, all it took was a bit of wandering.
Morgan Keuler Brite Futures
Locals dominated the lineup Saturday, and with good reason. Starting the day were this year's Sound Off! winners Tomten, whose charmingly fey (if a bit fuzzy-sounding) set began precisely at noon. With former Sound Off! acts Brite Futures (as Natalie Portman's Shaved Head) and The Lonely Forest both playing the main stage this year, Tomten can expect a better time slot in the future.
Yuni! Yuni! Yuni! I can't praise them enough. Earlier this summer I called them a "more interesting Surfer Blood," and I stand by that statement. Their twisted take on surf and African-inspired melodies is complicated enough to keep you interested, but not so schizo as to drive you away. Yuni in Taxco. Remember that name.Brite Futures played the mainstage in KeyArena early in the day. Having the stage inside during gorgeous weather is a source of contention, but BF seemed like an ideal act to rock a stadium. Unlike most young bands, they've played enough big tours (opening for Weezer and Lily Allen in the past, if I remember correctly) to be comfortable on a large stage, and kept things visually interesting with flashy outfits, twinkle lights, and lots of movement. Playing older songs notable for their playful bent like "Me + Yr Daughter" and "Beard Lust" and newer ones from their upcoming album (which had an almost pop-punk bent), they seemed ready for their own Disney show. But first, you'd have to throw out the myriad lyrical double entendres. Having played Sound Off! as youngsters in 2007, you'd think the fans might have aged as well. But they seem to have found the fountain of youth-- it was a largely teenage audience. Expect the same for The Lonely Forest's set today.
I saw a few songs of the electrifying Shabazz before heading over to the Decibel stage at EMP Sky Church to catch another young Seattle band, Beat Connection. There I experienced the only delay of the fest. Apparently technical difficulties prevented a prompt start, and led to a huge line of expectant fans snaking away from the venue. But once inside, all was well, as Jordan Koplowitz and Reed Juenger (plus a live drummer) used their laptops and guitars to whip the enthusiastic crowd into a dancing frenzy. I had to jet before the end of their set, but I hear they did an amazing cover of Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)," one of many cover versions going on at the fest.
San Francisco's Vetiver lulled the audience into a sleepy daydream on the fountain lawn, then Starfucker used the same stage to agitate the crowd into a huge, arm-waving, crowd-surfing party with their imminently danceable jams, inducing acute keyboard hypnosis. It was a perfect end to a day in which local talent shone the brightest.
Random notebook dump: Many acts chose to perform a cover song, including Brite Futures on Ginuwine's "Pony" (with help from Pearl Dragon of Champagne Champagne, who also joined Starfucker onstage-- he is a busy man), Vetiver trying out the Go-Betweens' "Streets of Your Town," Beat Connection on the aforementioned "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)," and Starfucker doing the Cyndi Lauper classic "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." And those are just the ones I witnessed-- I also heard of Trombone Shorty covering Nirvana's "In Bloom" and Red Fang taking on "Never Been to Spain" at a secret show later in the evening.