Saturday, September 09, 2006
This year at the Seattle Arts festival affectionately known as Bumbershoot, I noticed a lot of changes. It seems that this year the festival organizers have finally come to terms with the overwhelming crowds and evened out scheduling times. I found that I had more than enough time to make it between shows I really wanted to see, where last year I had to sacrifice several show opportunities for the sake of a place in line at one. Very cool. And the lineup seemed to be spread very nicely throughout the entire three days. At about $25 for my presale tickets, I might have paid twice that for the amazing time I had.
Flatstock was back again this year, too. For those not in the know, Flatstock is Bumbershoot's independent poster artist convention, where artists sell, display, and give away their art, posters, and random goodies. Most do promotional art for local shows. The styles span far and wide in terms of how artists deal in form and color, with many many amazing collages (via silkscreening) and multimedia juxtapositions. Danial Danger and Tara McPherson (on the side bar) are two such artists I met at the show last year, and hopefully I'll be integrating the works of some other amazing persons I met this time around.
Now, to the music. Wow. I wasn't expecting such a drastic improvement in acoustics, but jesus. Even at the outdoor stages, all the equipment was working, most (if not all) the instruments could be heard, and the crowds were actually MOVING. This made all the difference after spending five plus hours each day standing in lines, standing at shows, and standing around talking to friends. Saturday I saw, in this order: The Purrs; Rogue Wave; Deerhoof; and Cloud Cult. Sunday: The Village Green; Speaker Speaker; and Izabelle. I'll embellish on my faves.
The Purrs are a great local group with a mellow and surfy rock tone about them. Something you'd want playing in the background as you sip a pina colada and flirt with Money Penny at the coastal tiki bar.
The Purrs band site
I was very taken aback at the crowd who came to see Deerhoof. While the group isn't exactly low-profile at this point, I certainly didn't expect the overwhelming positive reactions to all the abrupt breaks and tempo changes, winded drum solos, heavy bass and timid sub-English vocalizations amidst the otherwise tight and upbeat melodies. And they pulled it off at the crappy dancehall venue, too. It was bloody insane, and I loved every second of it.
Cloud Cult had interpretive painters at their show. If you ever get the opportunity to see them live, go. It isn't really possible to articulate the joy I felt by witnessing an absolute masterpiece emerge from lines and forms on white canvas, each element and color a materialistic realization of the emotions in the music as they emerged and passed. The group is from Minnesota, and their heavy folk and acoustic inflections show it. But they are also human organisms, standing on a floating chunk of rock, on a spinning sphere in the middle of a gaping vaccum. And somehow the tenderness and emotion of the vocals and synth and Cello make me see that, too.
Cloud Cult - Living on the Outside of Your Skin
Cloud Cult - Car Crash
Cloud Cult - Breakfast With my Shadow
Cloud Cult - Fairy Tale
highly recommended: Cloud Cult - 6 Days to Madness
Izabelle is a spacy rock outfit. My friends asked me what they sounded like, and I sarcastically said 'Radiohead,' since "everybody sounds like Radiohead." But suprisingly, these guys resemble the rh fellows more than a little bit. Maybe if they had made an album after the Bends, but before the OK Computer paradigm shift, they'd have changed their name to Izabelle and masqueraded about in that alterego.
Other members who feel inclined to comment about their Bumbershoot experience need only e-mail me their bit. I'll be sure to edit it in with mine to keep them all in one spot. Also the tracks in this and subsequent posts should all be references to urls that the band has provided on official sites. To complain or discuss the issue with track uploads, please see the post below this one and respond there.