Bumbershoot Festival signifies a lot of things for Seattle, but the main mark of Bumbershoot is that fall is upon us. The annual Labor Day arts festival in downtown Seattle traditionally comes with both good weather and the need for umbrellas, aka a bumbershoot. Bumbershoot’s place in music festivals across the nation includes one big distinction; it name isn’t merely the Bumbershoot Music Festival, but the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival. The addition of arts is noticeable, for as much music stretches across multiple stages in Seattle Center, there are just as many comedians, writing panels, art exhibits and impromptu busking performances on the festival grounds.

Gary Numan

Bumbershoot has always done a great job of getting some old school acts to show their face, and the crowd make-up is always funny because of it. Those watching Gary Numan were no different. Numan has been churning out music since the late '70s, but the majority of today's youngsters know him for the chart-topping hit "Cars" and its early, slightly rudimentary use of electronica in music. I am also one of those ignorant youngsters, aware of who Numan is and his contributions as one of the pioneers of electronica and gothic rock, but with really no idea what he truly sounded like outside of "Cars". To almost put Numan's performance in a nutshell, I'll direct you to the tweet I sent immediately into his set (ignore my typo please, and for my shameless Twitter plug, follow me here). As dusk set, the lights were blaring for Gary Numan, who even at the age of 55, contorted his body for dramatics at angles I haven't hit since I was four-years-old. Gary Numan was just heavy as shit, and it was awesome. Even "Cars", which he launched into about five songs in, was heavy as shit and all of it was unexpected for my ignorant ears. Gary Numan's performance was watching all the precursors for Trent Reznor laid out right in front of you, and almost seemed like a live-action History Channel viewing. Bumbershoot has always been the best about scheduling these kinds of acts, and it was the perfect way to end the first day of music.
Bumbershoot still remains one of the more diversely curated festivals in the nation. That is probably why they referred to it completely as Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival. In its 42nd year, the 2012 edition was not lacking in diversity, as the main headliners over the course of Labor Day Weekend varied from Jane’s Addiction to Mac Miller and Skrillex. With six musical stages, and a wealth of other stages hosting comedy acts, readings and various panels, it is impossible to catch everything over the weekend. So here are the highlights instead, not in any particular order of awesomeness.

 

M83

M83 acquired quite a bit of hype this past year. In fact, 2011 may have been THEIR year. With their hit single "Midnight City," it seemed like nearly everyone was jumping on the M83 band wagon. The funny thing about that is the band has actually been around for years; they released their first record in 2001. Securing a spot on the main stage for Bumbershoot 2012, M83 played to an audience packed with fans and those simply curious about the band. After witnessing this performance, I can tell you that I've truly never seen anything like it. The intro was a spectacle all on its own with lasers and complex flashing lights that even I have a hard time describing. Both lead singer Anthony Gonzalez and keyboardist/back-up singer Morgan Kibby were extraordinarily entertaining. Their vocals were nearly spot-on with their record, but not in a lip-syching kind of way like we're used to at the award shows. The instrumental drum solos were riveting and exciting. The performance was everything that I hoped it would be, but I'm afraid to say that it is unfortunate that all many are remembering is the crowd of kids rushing to the floor and causing mayhem break loose. You can read all about that mess here. - KATIE NGUYEN

 

 

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

This funk/soul band has been around since the mid-'90s, but if you didn’t know any better you would assume they formed in the early ‘70s. Carried on the shoulder by the spectacular voice of Sharon Jones and then brought to the forefront by the impeccable revivalist sound of the Dap-Kings, this big band lives up to all they hype their live show comes with. Despite playing on the main stage of the Key Arena, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings were able to generate energy in the crowd that transported you straight back to a seedy bar in Motown Detroit. Their music is approachable by individuals of all ages, as are their tributes to the various dances of the '60s and '70s, which are like an instructional video led by Sharon Jones herself. Her spirit is infectious, even if you weren’t alive to experience the origins of the music the band aims to bring back to a new century. Sharon Jones’ energy, charisma, and stage performance are liable to make her and the Dap-Kings the best set of any festival they attend, and Bumbershoot was no different.

 

Seattle's discipline-defying Bumbershoot Festival is annually packed with everything an art-minded individual could want, from comedy and dance to art installations and music. Our festival preview for 2012 pulls from all areas, but has a minor focus on dance, as we will presenting our Motion & Movement in Music Video discussion panel this year. Read on for details and our top picks!

 


The Miracles Club

Friday, September 1 - 11:00pm @ Exhibition Hall The Exhibition Hall will be the perfect place for The Miracles Club to churn out their indie house beats and get the crowd pumping with the moves of resident dancer Ryan Boyle. And, did we mention? They'll be premiering their new music video, "The Wheel", at our Motion & Movement in Music Video panel at Bumbershoot, on Monday, September 3rd. - VIVIAN HUA

 

See all Previews & Picks For FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

Mudhoney

Saturday, September 2 - 6:45pm @ Fountain Lawn Mudhoney is a Seattle institution. Blam. You can’t really talk about Seattle music accurately without giving Mudhoney its own chapter. If you’re the kind of person who loudly expresses their desire to “support local music” and you’ve never gone to see Mudhoney, then you’re a hypocrite, plain and simple. - RYAN PANGILINAN [... and another recommendation.] Mudhoney are often coined one of the godfather’s of grunge, and its fair to say that after still kicking for close to 25 years, the band is just as good and dirty live as it was in its heyday. - PETER WOODBURN

 

See all Previews & Picks For SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2

REDEFINE magazine presents Motion & Movement in Music Videos

Monday, September 3 - 3:30pm @ Leo K Theatre This panel will explore how dance and movement intersect with modern music videos. Select music videos will be screened, followed by an open community dialogue with associated dancers, directors, and musicians. Topics covered may include differences in dance styles among different musical genres, trends of modern dance in contemporary music video, and spontaneity versus choreography in the creative process. A related brochure, featuring Q&A with directors and musicians, will be distributed with further information about the participants and videos screened. SEE ALSO: MOTION & MOVEMENT IN MUSIC VIDEOS EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT

 

See all Previews & Picks For MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 3 Director ELY (Eugene Lee Yang) and producer Cathleen Cher of Polica's "Wandering Star" (below) will be present and visiting Seattle from Los Angeles.

 

REDEFINE magazine has teamed up with two of the West Coast's largest festivals, Bumbershoot and MusicfestNW, to present Motion & Movement in Music Videos, a pair of complementary panels exploring how dance and movement intersect with modern music videos. Select music videos will be screened, followed by an open community dialogue with associated dancers, directors, and musicians. Topics covered may include differences in dance styles among different musical genres, trends of modern dance in contemporary music video, and spontaneity versus choreography in the creative process. A related brochure, featuring Q&A with directors and musicians, will be distributed with further information about the participants and videos screened.

 

Bumbershoot

Seattle September 3rd, 2012 Leo K Theatre in Seattle Center 3:30pm - 4:40pm FREE w/ Admission (SCHED EVENT LINK + FACEBOOK EVENT LINK)

MusicfestNW

Portland September 7th, 2012 Holocene 6:30pm - 8:00pm FREE & Open to the public (FACEBOOK EVENT)

Panelists

HONEY OWENS BUMBERSHOOT + MUSICFESTNW Vocalist/Producer, The Miracles Club - "The Wheel" (Music Video Premier) RYAN BOYLE BUMBERSHOOT + MUSICFESTNW Dancer/Choreographer, The Miracles Club - "The Wheel" (Music Video Premier) SEAN PECKNOLD MUSICFESTNW Director, Here We Go Magic - “How Do I Know” ELY (EUGENE LEE YANG) BUMBERSHOOT Director, Polica - “Wandering Star” AMY O’NEAL BUMBERSHOOT Choreographer, Reggie Watts - “F_ck Sh_t Stack” ANDREW SLOAN MUSICFESTNW Director, Onuinu - “Ice Palace”

 

Director and musician Q&As after the jump!

 

The Bumbershoot Festival always throws together one of the more eclectic line-ups in the nation, with a fair combination of "must see"'s, "I've heard about them"'s, and "who the hell are these people"'s spanning across all genres in the musical world. So, with a packed schedule, and a surprisingly gorgeous...

The Bumbershoot Festival always throws together one of the more eclectic line-ups in the nation, with a fair combination of "must see"'s, "I've heard about them"'s, and "who the hell are these people"'s spanning across all genres in the musical world. So, with a packed schedule, and a surprisingly gorgeous...

The Bumbershoot Festival always throws together one of the more eclectic line-ups in the nation, with a fair combination of "must see"'s, "I've heard about them"'s, and "who the hell are these people"'s spanning across all genres in the musical world. So, with a packed schedule, and a surprisingly gorgeous...

Anvil Anvil Aterciopelados Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes The Redwood Plan The Whigs Fences Feral Children HEALTH HEALTH Hole Meat Puppets Meat Puppets THEEsatisfaction Ω...

This year's Bumbershoot may have been a bit smaller, rainier, and less musically-sophisticated than it usually is, but that doesn't mean there weren't some amazing performances. Here are some of the best from this year's lineup.

 

Baroness

While Mastodon may get all the grandiose hype for their concept albums about a plot that makes David Lynch's films look like a childrens' films, the real American metal torch is being silently carried by Baroness... or... less silently and more in a mind-blowing, aggressively gorgeous style. Blue Record received a ton of acclaim, which all justified. And Baroness, like all good metal bands, are able to take the intensity of the studio and ratchet it up on the live stage to absurd proportions. In a festival that tends to lack the noise, Baroness brought it -- and then some -- in a masterful, technical fury that is currently unmatched on the national stage.

This year, Seattle's arts and music festival, Bumbershoot, has followed in the steps of festivals around the world and gone carbon neutral. What that means is they've paid for all of the carbon that needs to be offset, including that created from round-trip travel for performers, and that which is...