So many live concerts are perfectly planned, canned, preprogrammed, or rote these days, complete with costume changes and offstage musicians filling in. This year’s Bumbershoot — one of the best ever — had none of that. Here are ten unique things you missed if you weren’t at Seattle’s annual Bumbershoot Festival, which ran 8/30-through 9/1/14.
1) Paul Westerberg forgetting the lyrics to “I’ll be You” (though I’ll take that any day over a TelePrompTer and the Replacements were killer).
2) Mike Mills, of R.E.M., playing the basketball during the Big Star Tribute show which Chris Stamey wonderfully put together. Can we do a classic album every year at Bumbershoot Chris Porter, and I can I curate that?
3) Bootsy Collins’ incredible entrance of funk, which brought more bass to the center stage than a convention of low-riders.
4) Mexican Institute of Sound getting three thousand gringos to sing for peace in Spanish. Why can’t there be a Russian Institute of Sound?
5) David Hildalgo of Los Lobos killing it on the guitar — he deserves to win Guitar World’s poll — but also telling the crowd he’d be okay if they split to go see Bootsy.
6) Jessica Hernandez and the Delta’s bringing Detroit blues to the Mural stage, and truly showing what it means when a singer “brings it” to a song. She had nothing left.
7) Daniel Levitin, neuroscientist and music lover, explaining how the iPhone affects your brain on the words and ideas stage, and in a way, why some of the Bumbershoot shows with a jumping crowd felt more fun, as the phones had gone away.
8) The Head and the Heart’s Josiah Johnson jumping down to play in the foot of the stage barrier just as Paul Westerberg had done earlier in the day. Can’t every show have their singer down there?
9) Seeing the incredible Jini Dellaccio exhibit that Larry Reid put together in six days, and those lovely Sonics photos that I feel some responsibility for helping bring back out of the box (Larry filing in for our dear ailing buddy Lance Mercer)
and 10) And the indelible memory that will stick with me when during the Elvis Costello’s show, where the band — mostly together for 35 years — were incredibly tight and muscular in their sound, but a crazy hippie-ish dancer became the only one twirling in the audience (she was a great dancer but with her hot pants and Mother of Jesus shawl, she was out there), I said to my 14 year old son, “I’d give you $20 to dance with her.” I was only joking, but he immediately ran down to her and for four songs I got to see my 14 do the exact kind of stage dancing moves at an Elvis Costello show I did when I was 21. Other kids joined them. It was an Elvis mosh pit, and it was the jubilation of the Church of Bumbershoot.
It was worth way more than $20, it was priceless as was so much of Bumbershoot this year.
There are nearly a thousand music festivals in North America, and nearing 50 in Washington State, but none touch the essence of SEATTLE as much as Non-profit, you can’t camp here, and we’re not sponsored by Red Bull, Bumbershoot, No other festival makes you so proud to make music, write about music, love music, or just love the arts in this city we live in.
Sent from my iPhone because it’s now part of my head according to Daniel Levitin