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Bumbershoot: A Seattle tradition

Established in 1971, Bumbershoot takes place every year over Labor Day weekend and stretches across the 74-acre Seattle Center beneath the city’s iconic Space Needle. Bumbershoot programs a diverse array of arts including live music, comedy, Words & Ideas, theatre, film, visual arts, children’s programming, and the Indie Market featuring urban crafts. Festival details are located at

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Thus spoke Bumbershoot 2013: Memories and pics


Beats Antique

SEATTLE — Lets get existential for a sec, shall we?

Can every moment in life, every passing period be reduced to a pinpoint memory — an image, a sound, touch or smell — that perfectly sums the moment? Can memory of a football game be reduced in one play? A childbirth with a feeling, a year of high school with a kiss? When you think of your wedding, do you remember the way the cake touched your lips, or how your uncle drank too much? Is your grade school experience the smell of fall and the chill of the wind while waiting for your school bus, or hand-painting with a lovable second grade teacher?

Maybe, maybe not. Maybe moments in time are an amalgamation of sights, smells and sounds; a running movie with certain parts clearer than others.

Either way, you must ask yourself: How will Bumbershoot 2013 be remembered?

Will it be a slow progression of moments, ranging from the high sun when you arrived on Friday, to !!!’s dance-worthy boxer set? Did you tour the booths full of elephant ears and colored masks before watching Heart’s “Barracuda” and epic rendition of Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Were you crammed against the front gate as Crystal Castles closed out the show? Did you catch the Joy Formindable on the KEXP small stage and see the drummer call out to the crowd?

Or was your experience different? Did you smoke weed with a newly made friend while the Physics sent you on a lyrical journey. Maybe you shared a first kiss in the beer garden as Sally Ford and the Sound Outside belted away. Did you watch the Beats Antique improvise without their laptop, while standing next to a gorgeous ex you questioned if you should have left in the first place? Did you cringe as comedian Natasha Leggero kicked the toddler out of her set?

Again, maybe the memories of Bumbershoot 2013 are more concise; concrete. Kendrick Lamar’s hand-waving. Blonde hair. Charles Bradley’s silk shirt. Tank-tops. Flip-flops. Fun. MGMT. EDM at the EMP. !!!.

However you remember Bumbershoot 2013 is fine. But let us not argue that it was indeed memorable, in its entirety and in its instant.

Q13 Staff Photographer Nancy MacDonald

Freelance Photographer Tom Roth 

Bob MouldSEATTLE — Tired of all the sun and weather references in Bumbershoot reviews? Nope? Neither are we. Especially because  a sunny day in Seattle is as rare as a smiling Bob Mould onstage. (Not that he didn’t have plenty to smile about.)

While it was a perfect summer day in Seattle, there were a few things that made it even better — two of them we wrote about below.


When Bob Mould took to the stage Sunday afternoon at Bumbershoot in front of a crowd peppered with old-school punk rock fans, many of them with their children in tow, he swiftly created a sea of heads bobbing in unison to his one-two punch.

The 52-year-old and his bandmates ran through a dizzying set that spanned from his earliest solo work to Sugar and tracks from his latest, last year’s “Silver Age.” Moving with a pace that was a strong as a racehorse and galloping forward with precise energy and intent, Mould’s songs rarely clock in at more than 3 minutes, but nevertheless leave you breathless and waiting for more.

It’s true some things get better with age and Mould sounded as strong, vital, and relevant today as he did 25 years ago for those of us fortunate enough to have been listening.

Attacking each song with a youthful exuberance and a smile (yes, that was Bob Mould smiling onstage) the trio’s tautness also carried a contagious energy that seeped into the crowd.

There’s the old adage that if you’re going to keep doing something, then do it well and Mould proved to be living proof of that.


You could say it was a stoner’s wet dream – the Breeders, those cheeky chicks from Ohio – playing their classic 1993 album “Last Splash” in its entirety.

But to laud “Last Splash” as merely a rite-of-passage, basement oeuvre would discount the musical timelessness of the album.

With the original line-up, Kim Deal on vocals and guitar, twin sister Kelly mirroring her, Josephine Wiggs on bass and Jim Mcpherson on drums, the band approached the set with a calm, but studied demeanor. (Carrie Bradley on violin was the only new addition to the group.)

To be certain, there is no bass riff that – to this day – comes close to that on “Cannonball.” Snaky, but not slippery, the riff carries the song, making it buoyant and exuberant and as classic today as the day it was released.

“Do You Love Me Now?” was a sweet lament and its pace carried a just-on-the-edge-tears hesitancy. “Driving on 9” featured a nice back-and-forth between Kelly and Bradley while “Divine Hammer” reminded us all that while Frank Black may have gotten the lion’s share of attention in the Pixies, Kim certainly played an integral role.

Throughout the set, as each player stepped in and out, what it showed was that the song’s are much more intricate and carefully paced than the Middle America hooks might initially lead you to think. And in the end, those two chicks have still got it – in spades.


Bumbershoot Saturday’s sites, sounds and sun


Fans cruise Saturday at Bumbershoot

SEATTLE — The prominent line of thinking for Saturday at Bumbershoot 2013 was such:

“The music is great. But the sun,man. The sun is freaking awesome.”

It’s hard to say the bright, 80-degree day was anything short of perfect for Seattle’s premiere outdoor music and comedy festival. Tank-tops, sunburns and short shorts were as abundant as Bumbershoot’s six or seven music stages. The sounds of elephant-ear grilling, crowd murmuring and amp reverb crowded the ears.  Puffs of fragrant smoke could be seen from the depths young adults endlessly cramming toward a stage. Kids and parents alike frolicked in the fountain. Suds and buds flowed in the fenced in beer gardens.

Not enough description, yet? Just look at those pictures, baby.

Since the sun was so high, it seemed silly to head indoors for the comedy acts, no matter who the headliner was. No, I mostly stuck to the outside and listened to my share of high-minded jazz, over-the-top indie pop and a little bit of hip hop. But, I did see Kendrick Lamar and Heart on the Main-stage, as both played to crowds of very different, but equally rabid fans.

Bands of note — if it’s possible to name a few — were the Robert Glasper Experiment, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires and !!!.

The Robert Glasper Experience opened their set with a long, high-energy Radiohead cover. But it wasn’t like any Radiohead song I’ve come to know. Infused with instrumentals, trumpets and synth, the band gave new meaning to psychedelic, high-intelligence jazz free-form. New meaning to what, you say? A great way to start off my day, the band offered a little bit of everything and fans of both rap superstar Kendrick Lamar and the aging rock tunes of Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience enjoyed the jazz.

!!! has long been a stalwart on the indie scene. Singer Nic Offer came out wearing only boxers, and quickly followed up with stunning dance moves. For a band I first heard in mid-high school, it was tough to imagine they could still put on a show that would excite me, given I haven’t heard much of their new music. But they did. They even RE-excited me on the music, as I downloaded THR!!!ER, their April release, last night. Good on you, !!!.

The true show-stopper of the night has to be Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires. Now, I’ve always been a sideline funk fan, listening to Funkadelic in the basement with my father at a young age. But to see a funk show live, to grove with an impeccable band and gritty, sultry vocals put me into the game. A lifelong James Brown impersonator, Bradley’s first album debuted in 2011. Bradley takes no second billing to the Godfather of Soul. Download his music, now.

But enough yapping and random thoughts. Here’s some pictures:

Q13 Photographer Jerry Green 

Freelance photographer Tom Roth



2013 Bumbershoot preview: Monday

NatashaSEATTLE — It’s Monday, and if the weather holds out, you’re enjoying a nice Labor Day holiday. You’re a veteran Bumbershooter by now. You know the drill. Time to sit back, grab a beer and tune into those, uh, tunes.

Bumbershoot runs Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at the Seattle Center. The event opens at 11 a.m. daily. Indoor venues have limited seating and can fill up fast. For a full list of available activities, such as bands, comedy shows, art pieces, indie marketplaces, theater and other odds and ends, click here or buy tickets here.

Also, as any festival goer knows, the handy Bumbershoot schedule iPhone app is a must-have.

Bumbershoot Monday Preview

Monday, September 2

MGMT 3:30 p.m. on the Mainstage – No, they’re not the powerhouse, hear-them-everywhere on the radio kind of group they were shortly after releasing their 2008 album, Oracular Spectacular. But they’re still good. And they’re still fun. Expect MGMT and their five-piece backing band to put unique melds on all of their psychedelic, brit-pop songs.

Alt-J 2 p.m. on the Mainstage –  This British band’s hit single “Breezeblocks” is at once dark and vibrant. Compared frequently to Radiohead, there’s something in the sound of the voice — if not the lyrics– that is unique and drawing. The band one the coveted British Mercury Prize in 2012, and has appeared on the Silver Linings Playbook, giving them an international following.

The Maldives 1 p.m. on the Starbucks Stage – Who doesn’t appreciate good folk rock, especially when it’s heralded from the Northwest? Featured many times on KEXP, their slow, steadied pace reminds one of a late-summer campfire, or grasses stirring in an open field. A perfect band for a mellow Monday cool down. 

BASSNECTOR 9:45 p.m. on the Mainstage — What’s the last day of Bumbershoot without some EDM? Deep, dark and heavy, BASSNECTAR’s live shows are a site to be seen. Be prepared for some head bobbing.

BellaMaine 12:15 p.m. on the Fountain Lawn Stage — Another KEXP favorite, the indie rock band from Anacortes is straight out of late 90s skateboard video produced by acclaimed filmer Ty Evans. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Think Modest Mouse. Think Built to Spill. Think Blonde Redhead. The band has hints of malaise and depression, with an upbeat, complex voice. Kind of like John Updike. Too many metaphors? Well, just listen to BellaMaine.

The World Champion Judah Friedlander 1 p.m. on the Comedy at the Playhouse – Known for his role as a horny writer on NBC’s “30 Rock,” Friedlander keeps up his not-so-humble attitude in his stand-up routine. Friedlander joins Natasha Leggero and Matt Besser, the founding member of Upright Citizens Brigade.

The Marijuana Chronicles 6 p.m. on the Words and Ideas Stage — The latest literary collection in the drug chronicle series, and it comes at a time when pot stores are gearing to open up around the state. Writer/spoken word poet Maggie Estep is joined by literary star Amanda Stern.



2013 Bumbershoot preview: Sunday

BumbershootSEATTLE — Bumbershoot Sunday can be tough. The hangover from Saturday doesn’t subside until 2 p.m., especially if you decided to see Crystal Castles late. With any luck, your back is burnt from the sun, your feet and neck hurt from rocking and your wallet is drained from a day of beer and festival food.

But, Bumbershoot Sunday is also the best. Though you’re tired, a groove settles in like a warm cloud. You’ve found the stages. You know the good food. You may even know the location to the one or two toilets that aren’t overflowing.

You’re just ramping up.

Bumbershoot runs Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at the Seattle Center. The event opens at 11 a.m. daily. Indoor venues have limited seating and can fill up fast. For a full list of available activities, such as bands, comedy shows, art pieces, indie marketplaces, theater and other odds and ends, click here or buy tickets here.

Also, as any festival goer knows, the handy Bumbershoot schedule iPhone app is a must-have.

Bumbershoot Sunday Preview

Sunday, September 1 

Death Cab for Cutie 9:45 p.m. on the Mainstage Is there anything better than hometown heroes on the mainstage? Death Cab for Cutie will play it’s breakthrough album Transatlanticism in its entirety Sunday night. That’s right, folks. We’re talking college favorites — if you’re my age — such as  “The Sound of Settling,” “Tiny Vessels,” The New Year,” and others reverberating off the Sonic’s 1979 Championship banner. For late 20-somethings in large framed glasses who have lived through a period of narrowing job prospects and blurry eyed iPhone use, this is our Zeppelin. Just with more slow angst.

The Zombies 8:15 p.m. on the Starbucks Stage – A stuffy acquaintance once described The Zombies as, “little more than the Beatles light.” While similarities are noticeable — not the least of which was the throngs of screaming teen girls — the band had a noticeably more psychedelic sound early on. The group dissolved in 1968, but the founding members resurrected The Zombies, who will grace the Starbucks Stage with songs such “Time of the Season” and “She’s Not There.” I expect to see one or two gray-haired sandals wearers in the audience.

DJ Girl 6 9 p.m. at the EMP — If Death Cab for Cutie is a late 20-something’s Zeppelin, EDM is the late teens’ Rock and Roll. From stories I hear of Paradiso, raves I’ve recently been to in Europe and headliners such as Tiesto selling 100,000 tickets to shows, EDM’s presence and power is undeniable.  A mainstay of Vegas clubs, DJ Girl 6 has performed with big names such as Janet Jackson, Seattle’s Sir Mix-a-Lot and Maroon 5. Expect a packed dance floor.

Tegan and Sarah 2 p.m. on the Mainstage — Can you remember the last festival that featured two sets of sisters performing? Tegan and Sarah will follow the day after Heart, bridging the gap between hard female rock with and the electric indie worlds. The sisters are coming off their seventh album, Heartthrob, which has a pop, electronic feel different than their past excursions.

Natasha Leggero 6:15 p.m. at Comedy at the Playhouse — Leggero’s Coke Money comedy album is a standard on my playlist. Playing at once a ditsy, loose sorority sister and a witty, sharp feminist, Leggero is alongside Sarah Silverman and  Kristen Schaal as one of the strongest voices in contemporary comedy.

WTF? Live with Marc Maron 4:45 p.m. at Bagley  – A down and out comedian who openly admits he contemplated suicide, Maron rose to fame as a frank and funny interviewer on his WTF? podcast.  Maron has discussed his falling out with popular comedian Louis CK, Carlos Mencia’s plagiarism scandals and Bruce Willis’ lazy work on the film Cop Out.

Audrey and Nelson: A Puppet Sex Musical – Audrey & Nelson is a puppet sex musical. That pretty much sums it up right there—puppets singing about and having sex. Audrey and Nelson, two twenty-somethings (portrayed by puppets), meet at a bar, get drunk, and fall into bed.


2013 Bumbershoot preview: Saturday


Kendrick Lamar will perform Saturday at Bumbershoot

SEATTLE — Remember last year when we had a story on our front page with the headline “BuMPERshoot 2013″ and all the other TV stations lambasted us on Twitter for being such newbs?

No? We don’t, either.

A year later and typos or not, we have our BuMBERshoot (notice the spelling) coverage down pat. We’re talking 24-hour wall-to-wall coverage, interrupting endless quality programs such as X-Factor, King of the Hill re-runs and Seahawks games to bring you nothing but Bumbershoot.

Breaking news be damned, for three days this weekend we’re delivering to your TV 24-hour concerts, comedy routines, raucous parties… Wait. I’m being told by my bosses (i.e. everyone in the newsroom) that we WILL NOT interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you wall-to-wall Bumbershoot coverage.

However, the powers that be have assured me that we will provide adequate coverage of the annual Seattle music and comedy festival in our nightly newscasts, as well as all the coverage we can possibly pump to the website.

Lucky us. If there’s one thing I know, it’s Internet coverage. Below is a brief preview of some exciting and must-see acts. We will also have photo, video and written recaps from each day of the iconic festival. So while we can’t go full-bore like I suggested — they laughed out loud when I suggested we forgo Seahawks coverage in lieu of Bumbershoot — we will do our best to provide with you pics, news, Tweets and Instagrams of one of my favorite Seattle events.

Plus, we won’t misspell anything this time — I promise.

Bumbershoot runs Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at the Seattle Center. The event opens at 11 a.m. daily. Indoor venues have limited seating and lines can fill up fast. For a full list of available activities, such as bands, comedy shows, art pieces, indie marketplaces, theater and other odds and ends, click here or buy tickets here.

Also, as any festival goer knows, the handy Bumbershoot schedule iPhone app is a must-have.

Bumbershoot Saturday Preview

Saturday, August 31

Heart 9:45 on the Mainstage  — Sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson’s iconic songs Barracuda and Straight On are as ubiquitous on classic rock stations as weed smoke at Bumbershoot. In fact, the Seattle band itself is a stalwart at the end-of-summer festival. Since the early 1970s, this sister duo has hard-rocked its way into the heart of even the most bittered dudes-are-rock Van Halen fans. Ann and Nancy headline Bumbershoot’s opening night, hopefully stoking up the crowd for a full holiday weekend of rock. But, if the “real thing don’t do the trick,” there’s….

Kendrick Lamar 4 p.m. on the Mainstage – In 2012, 26-year-old Kendrick Lamar’s album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City” garnered critical acclaim from all over, including Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and NPR. But it’s not Lamar’s critical acclaim that have legions of fans crowding his shows. The Compton Kid’s songs “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and “Poetic Justice” hint at a deep, existential existence combined with a masterful lyrical mind. Lamar’s a can’t-miss at Bumbershoot.

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience 9:30 p.m. on the Mainstage — There’s no denying that Zeppelin rocks. There’s no denying John Bonham rocked. But does his son? Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience is a multimedia tribute to drummer John Bonham, featuring live renditions of the band’s classic tunes, rare home movies and concert footage, plus storytelling by the younger Bonham. Jason was asked to open for Heart after performing Led Zeppelin songs with Ann and Nancy Wilson at last year’s Kennedy Center Honors, which recognized his late father’s band with a Lifetime Achievement award.

Crystal Castles 10 p.m. on the TuneIn Stage – Canadians sure know how to do music, eh? Just visit your Rush catalog. Dark lyrics and trance-inducing beats are sure to flow from these techno-rocker’s set.

Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside 9:30 p.m. Plaza Stage – Sally Ford is a powerhouse. Touring in 2012 with rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson, Ford’s voice takes a backseat to no one. Songs like “Party Kids” are sure to have you twisting from this band from Portland, Ore.

Patton Oswalt and Friends 6:30 Comedy at Bagley – Oswalt may be best known for his role as Remy the Rat in Pixar’s Ratatouille. But to comedy aficionados, he takes a back seat to no one. Up there with contemporaries Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman and Dave Attell, Oswalt will perform in his sixth year at Bumbershoot with special unannounced guess. Borrowing from an Osawlt bit, the show is sure to get near “the edge” if not “Caligula crazy,” like KFC’s Double-Down sandwich.  

NerdProv 3:45 p.m. at Theatre Puget Sound Stage – Sometimes improv is cringe-worthy. Hell, most of the time it’s cringe-worthy. But not if you’re watching some clever nerds. Come get your geek on with a special team of improvisors! From comic books to video games, Star Wars to Star Trek, RPGs to MMORPGs, we can take your nerdiest suggestions and bring them to new comedic life.  

Here’s some more don’t miss acts on Saturday: Gary Numan of electro-pop “Cars” fame; the classic soul of Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires and Nacho Picasso’s attitude.

Local News

Bumbershoot 2013 lineup

bumbershootSEATTLE — The legendary power-pop band The Zombies will be featured at the Bumbershoot festival this summer, along with hometown heroes Death Cab for Cutie, Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame members Heart, and Grammy-winning band fun, it was announced Thursday night.

Rising hip hop star Kendrick Lamar and breakthrough EDM act BASSNECTAR will also be among the 100-plus musical acts performing at the Seattle Center over Labor Day weekend.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Now in its 43rd year, Bumbershoot has offered one of the most diverse musical lineups in the world, in addition to a full spectrum of arts programming that includes comedy, theater, film, literary, visual arts and spectacle elements.

Confirmed musical acts are listed below by day.  Single tickets (day-specific and flexible any-day versions) are now on sale. Additional programming for comedy, film and Youngershoot will be announced later this summer.

Saturday, August 31


Kendrick Lamar

Crystal Castles

Gary Numan

Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience

Maceo Parker


Icona Pop

Joey Bada$$

Washed Out

Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires

Thao + The Get Down Stay Down

Robert Glasper Experiment


ZZ Ward

Diamond Rings

The Physics

Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside

Lake Street Drive

Kris Orlowski

Cookie Monsta

Nacho Picasso


Ernie Watts with New Stories


Gus + Scout


Davidson Hart Kingsbery

Total Experience Gospel Choir

The Flavr Blue

Sean Majors

Dave B

Human Spirit

Matt Jorgensen +451

Down North

Tyler Brown

Sunday, September 1

Death Cab for Cutie plays Transatlanticism


Tegan and Sara

Matt and Kim

The Breeders

Ra Ra Riot

Beats Antique

Vintage Trouble

The Zombies

Vicci Martinez

Eric Burdon

Bob Mould

David Bazan

The Duke Robillard Band

Mates of State


Charli XCX



Nikki Hill

Ramona Falls

Matt Pond


The Redwood Plan

Ayron Jones & The Way

The Grizzled Mighty


DJ White Shadow

DJ Girl 6

The Comettes

River Giant

Supreme LaRock


Rise Over Run

DJ Phase

Monday, September 2



Allen Stone


The Joy Formidable

Trampled by Turtles


Justin Townes Earle



Delta Rae




Redd Kross

The Men

Ivan & Alyosha

The Sheepdogs

The Mowgli’s

The Lone Bellow

The Maldives

Kopecky Family Band



St. Paul de Vence

Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands

Hot Bodies In Motion

Red Jacket Mine

Cascadia ‘10

Three-day passes for Bumbershoot 2013 are currently $120.  Single, day-specific passes are $50 and single Any Day passes are $55. Platinum and Gold passes (which sold out in 2012) are also available. All tickets are available for purchase at