The concept of writing about Seattle music festival Bumbershoot would not have crossed my mind two weeks ago. I had decided there was no way I wanted to pay for a festival whose headliners included Hall and Oates, Wiz Khalifa, and Ray LaMontagne. C’mon Bumbershoot!
But then a friend offered me discounted tickets and I discovered, upon further inspection, the lineup is not half bad. At least for Sunday and Monday, that is.
Here, in alphabetical order, are the five Bumbershoot acts I am most looking forward to seeing. Some I have seen, while others I have not.
BIG BOI, 3 p.m., Monday
Perhaps the main reason I am amped about Bumbershoot is Big Boi’s Monday afternoon set. The Outkast co-conspirator put out one of 2010′s great records and also managed to put on one of my favorite live shows last year, as well. Big Boi, aka Antwan Patton, has a syrupy smooth flow and a stage presence most hip-hop performers would envy. Plus, there’s the whole Outkast catalog, which he generously pulls from during his live set.
BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE, 3 p.m., Sunday
Canadian rock collective Broken Social Scene released some of my favorite music of the Aughts, most notably their seminal album, You Forgot It In People. Kevin Drew and Co. touched on something genius with that album. I’ve seen Broken Social Scene perform once before at a music festival. Drew stood out among the dozen or so people on stage because of his unmistakeable charisma. The band’s breezy guitar sound is the perfect compliment to a late summer’s afternoon.
CHARLES BRADLEY, 5:45 p.m., Monday
The 62-year-old soul newcomer has the kind of voice that could spark a revival or wake departed musical great James Brown from his eternal slumber. Bradley’s music is of the personal sort, but it has a universal quality about it that makes it stick. I’ve seen YouTube clips of Bradley that gave me goosebumps. I wouldn’t be surprised if his live performance did the same.
KENDRICK LAMAR, 1:45 p.m., Monday
I considered naming Macklemore & Ryan Lewis as my second hip-hop act but omitted them because they are playing MusicFest NW in Portland the following weekend. By comparison, rising Compton, Calif., rapper Kendrick Lamar is not playing Portland the following weekend. So his show gets the nod. I am not super familiar with Lamar’s music. His crack baby anthem “A.D.H.D.” is one of my favorite tracks of 2011. Another part of his intrigue is whether he can put on a live show befitting his music’s energy.
LEMOLO, 4:30 p.m., Monday
By now you’ve probably gathered that I am partial to Monday’s lineup. Sunday has plenty of intriguing acts, such as Toro Y Moi, Warpaint, and Das Racist, but Monday has better quantity and quality. Seattle two-piece Lemolo is a new-ish band that have inspired some comparisons to Beach House. I <3 Beach House. I wouldn’t go so far as to group Lemolo and Beach House, but I am nonetheless impressed with the former’s hazy dreamscapes. Their performance on KEXP in Seattle put me over the edge.