September 3-5, 2011, Seattle, Washington — To say that I enjoyed myself at Bumbershoot 2011 would be an understatement. In their four years co-producing the event, One Reel & AEG Live have truly achieved something special incorporating numerous venues inside the seventy-four-acre Seattle Centre over labour day weekend. Bumbershoot’s greatest assets are its use of space, the variety of musical acts, presentations of other mediums of art, Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project, and beer gardens with great stage views.
On the first day, Seattle sextet Pickwick played two dazzling shows filled with their mixture sultry garage hodgepodge, while Swedish act Little Dragon had the crowd dancing on the Fisher Green stage. Adorned in gold clothing and electric blue shoes, vocalist Yukimi Nagano pranced around the stage, perfectly in sync with the synthpop being generated from her bandmates. Ray LaMontagne and his backing band the Pariah Dogs closed the evening with their soulful folk, playing hits such as ‘Jolene’, ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’, and ‘Trouble’.
Day two started out on a high note with an intimate performance from Tennis in the KEXP 90.3 music lounge. After minor sound issues, Toro Y Moi delivered a solid performance, but I can’t think of a time that Chazwick Bundick played a bad show. Once his intergalactic love jams get into full swing, it’s hard to limit your hips’ fluidity. The final highlight of day two was the Kills. Watching the raucous Alison Mosshart is always a pleasure, but since she began singing for the Dead Weather, there is definitely a new level of swagger to her step. Dressed in leather and leopard print, and with fierce blood-red hair, Allison and guitarist Jamie Hince deafened the crowd with harder songs like ‘Sour Cherry’ and silenced the crowd with the heart-wrenching ‘The Last Goodbye’.
On the third and final day of bumbershoot, New York electro act Phantogram killed both their KEXP lounge set and their Fountain Lawn evening set. Also, Charles Bradley probably caused an extraordinary amount of pregnancies with his revivalist approach to soul, while at the same time subliminally telling us to never give up on our dreams. The man was born in 1948 and only became active in the early 2000s; it is never too late. The epic festival closed with a performance by Daryl Hall and John Oates, and they sure did make my dreams come true. Aside from their choice in clothing (picture your sixty-four year old trying to fit into your sisters pair of skinny jeans), Hall and Oates still have the energy and vocal talent that assisted them in their domination of the music charts in the ’70s and ’80s.