By: Dennis Cook
JamBase Associate Editor
Bumbershoot :: 09.04.10-09.06.10 :: Seattle Center :: Seattle, WA
As much a city-unifying cultural spectacle as a music fest, Bumbershoot plays up all the quirks and characteristics that make Seattle such a hyper-cool town while offering a smorgasbord of stage talent as well as comedy, film and more. Its name comes from a slang term for umbrellas, which seems appropriate given the locale's notorious rep for wetness. Bumbershoot takes place on a 74-acre site originally built for the 1962 World's Fair, and has been running annually since 1970, making this installment the 40th anniversary. Big names on the bill this year include Bob Dylan, Hole, Jenny & Johnny, The English Beat and The Decemberists. Here are a few other acts on this year's lineup that'll brighten your Labor Day Weekend at the Seattle Center.
1. Plants and Animals :: Saturday :: 12:45-2:00 PM :: Green Vibes Stage
A true original in the rock world, Plants and Animals take the raw ingredients familiar to all and mix them up in a way that renews faith in the genre. Like kindred spirits The Slip and Apollo Sunshine, this band approaches their music with a level of craftsmanship and empathetic instinct that is truly impressive. They are currently on tour behind one of the great sleeper releases of 2010, La La Land, which listeners with good taste are encouraged to explore post-haste.
2. Justin Townes Earle :: Saturday :: 4:55-6:00 PM :: Starbucks Stage
Not so much a chip off the old block, Steve Earle's son is happy extension of the line begun by Woody Guthrie and his namesake Townes Van Zandt, a true songwriter's songwriter and boot leather slaying troubadour. Justin is full of tics and scars all his own, too, which makes his work more compelling with each passing year.
3. Horse Feathers :: Sunday :: 1:15-2:15 PM :: Starbucks Stage
Delicate things and ideas who elude easy phrasing soar in this folk-slanted quiet-rock unit, who seem to go from strength to strength with each release and subsequent tour.
4. Billy Bragg :: Saturday :: 8:30-9:45 PM :: Starbucks Stage
For decades has fought the good fight for the right causes AND made a mountain of great music in the process. Rarely has a politics and social justice ever had such a hugely romantic champion. The struggle for connection, be it on a grand scale or one hand cradling another, is at the center of Bragg's oeuvre. Don't miss a chance to see one of the few guys doing what Joe Strummer once did. He's also a masterful storyteller, as this clip shows.
5. Trampled By Turtles :: Monday :: 1:15-2:30 PM :: Starbucks Stage
We've pushed TBT before, but we really think that Dave Simonett is one of the emerging young Americana songwriters out there, and the whole damn band picks with a finger-bleeding intensity and nimble skill that bowls one over live. They're also really smart, nice guys, and that rates in our book. After catching two bracing sets at High Sierra, we're more convinced than ever that these Turtles are picking up speed fast.
6. The Moondoggies :: Monday :: 5:00-6:15 PM :: Starbucks Stage
With a harmony sense that harks back to Crosby & Nash, a gospel sprinkled songbook, focused playing and an all-in energy that compares well with Delta Spirit and Dr. Dog, Seattle's The Moondoggies are ripe for much wider discovery. Their debut floored a bunch of us (JamBase review), and their follow-up, Tidelands, arrives October 12. And kids, we've heard it already and it's freakin' awesome!
Bumbershoot Music Schedule
Bumbershoot Official Site
Bumbershoot General Information
JamBase | Pacific Northwest
Go See Live Music!