Sights & Sounds from Day 1: Bumbershoot Music Festival

all photos by Lori Paulson | reviews by Jason Kinnard & Karalee Sargent

Despite the threat of rain, the weather held out for a great start to Day 1 of Bumbershoot. The beginning of the day was a great time to catch up with old friends (many who we haven’t seen since last year), meet new folks (LOVE the new staff this year), and get our schedules ready for the day. And what a comfortable new space to do it in. It’s like we’re all grown up in there! We were also happy to finally see the death of Exhibition Hall this year, replaced with a much better Center Square Stage. Overall, love the new flow this year. But enough about that, here’s a glimpse at some of the sights and sounds of Day 1 – Bumbershoot:

The Decemberists – Mainstage

Despite some auditory technical difficulties and an alleged small stage fire (we could smell it, but we couldn’t see it), The Decemberists played a fantastic set. With a nice mix of old and new hits, including a few sing-along opportunities, the Portland-based chamber-pop group rose above the speedbumps to earn a spot on our artist spotlight list. Their songs ranged from “The Infanta” and “The Engine Driver” (Picaresque, 2005) to “O Valencia!”(The Crane Wife, 2006) to “The Rake’s Song” (The Hazards of Love, 2009), as well as a few brand new tracks from a forthcoming album. Masters of musical storytelling, we always enjoy seeing a set from Colin Meloy and gang. – karalee

*Visqueen – EMP SKy Church (PHOTO SET)

The Raveonettes – KEXP Secret Music Lounge

The Raveonettes definitely brought up the volume level inside the intimate KEXP performance space. If you didn’t know this band was Danish after listening to them, there’d be no mistake after you’ve seen them up close. Not only is front-woman Sharin Foo tall and beautiful, her striking platinum blonde hair was something we heard commented on frequently after the show. Their mix of loud guitars and simple drum arrangement was in sharp contrast to their sophisticated nordic sound. Because you know I love Brit-Pop and classic U.K. bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, obviously I loved this. – jason

The Civil Twilight – Center Square Stage

As the monorail silently glided by and the Space Needle loomed overhead, The Civil Twilight played a notably “Seattle” set, especially for a band originally hailing from South Africa. Their ambient, ethereal guitar work was fitting for the gleaming backdrop of the EMP, and contrasted nicely with singer Steven McKellar’s commanding vocals and gentle piano. They played a selection from their self-titled album, which was released in 2009, the highlight being “Letters From The Sky,” a single from their album which was featured on an episode of One Tree Hill.

While we aren’t sure we’d totally support the common comparisons people make to Radiohead and Muse, we certainly think the band is headed in a good direction. – karalee

*Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Broad Street Stage

If we were going to award a band for the most engaged crowd, today we’d give the trophy to Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Though relatively new to the mainstream scene, there was not an empty spot on the lawn at Broad Street, even after the group played earlier in the day at the KEXP Secret Stage. A few technical difficulties held up the band an extra 15 minutes, which resulted in an overflow of anticipation from the crowd – no one could hold still has the band of caped, feathered, ponchoed and flowered group picked up a caboodle of instruments.

Crowd favorites were hits from their latest album, including “Janglin” and “40 Day Dream,” though we’re pretty sure the crowd was even more excited to see frontman Alex Ebert take off his shirt than they were about any of the songs. But we’ll be the first to admit, the hippie sensibilities and the catchiness of the music is endearing. – karalee

* BONUS secret show: Edwarde Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – 107.7 End Session

We were lucky enough to be invited to a very exclusive short set by Edwarde Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. It was almost surreal seeing them in a small impromptu performance space (aka conference room) with the band crouched on the floor, standing, or sitting indian style on office chairs. Edwarde Sharpe and company immediately hit you with their unique style and charm and one of the funniest moments was when a very cute little girl from the audience (we’ll assume it was his daughter) jumped on the lap of their Harmonica Player and sat through almost a whole song, grabbing at the mic and playing with a spare harmonica he had laying beside him. It was about the cutest thing in music ever and we had the best spot in the house. To say every photog in attendance was going crazy is an understatement to say the least.

Although only 3 songs, the highlight of their set was a passionate rendition of their hit song “Home” that was almost better than the original. Another band that just can’t hide their passion. This was possibly one of the highlights of the day for me. – jason

See Me River – EMP/Sky Church (PHOTO SET)

Justin Townes Earle – KEXP Secret Music Lounge

Consisting of some serious Bluegrass guitar chops, a kick-ass fiddle, and a beautiful giant floor bass, Justin Townes Earle & Co performed an exclusive set of music for the unsuspecting KEXP crowd. As an AMA award winner for his last album Midnight at the Movies, we couldn’t wait to hear his new album Harlem River Blues, and the KEXP Music Lounge provided just the right setting for one of the most sincere performances of the day. Those who came to hear his raw voice definitely didn’t leave disappointed and we enjoyed the sincerity of his delivery. It felt like we were watching a private little performance just for us. We also couldn’t help but laugh about their secret band “Alabama Finger Bang” – jason

Born Anchors – EMP/Sky Church (PHOTO SET)

Budos Band – KEXP Secret Music Lounge (PHOTO SET)

Much more in store for Day 2

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~ by clickdagger on September 5, 2010.

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