Bumbershoot 2011: Day 1, Part 2 Review and Pics

Little Dragon at Bumbershoot 2011 (09/03/11)
Bumbershoot 2011
Words and Photos: Drake Lelane

Enjoy the conclusion of Drake’s epic Day 1 at Bumbershoot 2011. -ed.

Bumbershoot 2011 Day 1 — Part 2
The second half of Saturday started with two of the buzziest of buzz bands in Seattle right now: Shabbaz Palaces — Sub Pop first real hip hop offering, and Pickwick — Seattle’s answer to Stax soul, by way of beard folk. Naturally, both were scheduled over the top of each other, so much sweat was achieved in trying to capture both. Between Pickwick, Trombone Shorty and Mavis Staples, the trend of soul and funk winning out over rock began in earnest.

Shabbaz Palaces
Here’s where Bumbershoot’s scheduling failed us this weekend. Having the two buzziest local acts playing at the same time (three, if you count Beat Connection, and I know many do), made for a manic evening. I only caught two songs before sprinting off to try and squeeze my way into the Pickwick set and photo pit, but first impressions had me wishing I could see the latest from Diggable Planets’ Ishmael “Palaceer Lazardo” Butler in a smaller setting. The wide open space did them no favors when neither Butler nor Tendai Maraire can venture far from their sound producing stations. I heard they impressed in the smaller KEXP lounge show that began the day, so there’s that.

Pickwick
Where Shabbaz disappointed, Seattle’s Pickwick more than picked up the slack, filling the tiny EMP 3rd floor and leaving a line of over 200 people waiting for any chance to make it inside. The Stax-inspired act do more than just recall the dirty soul of an era long gone, they manage to pull the audience into the act, with hands raised and smiles adorned. Pickwick took advantage of folks’ desire to see them by playing on three different stages, having earlier played stripped down at the small Toyota Free Yr Radio stage and then a day later in the KEXP lounge. Armed with a few singles, the band is set to explode when their album finally drops.

Vetiver
The sleepy pop folk sounds of Vetiver have always seemed better heard than seen, and their stoic stage presence made a case for leaving their set to go buy their latest, The Errant Charm, and checking out another performer instead of coming back. Love the band… don’t always love seeing them.

Little Dragon
This Swedish synth pop act is kind of the opposite of Vetiver for me. Dynamic stage presence and lovely to watch, but I’m still can’t say I’m a fan of their music. Yukimi Nagano’s colorful outfit and ballet-like grace at least made them fun to photograph.

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue
One of the highlights of day one, Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue were a funk bag of sweaty energy. Let’s point out one thing, straight away — Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews is short the same way that Kristian Matsson is not the Tallest Man on Earth. The dude’s been leading bands, though, since he was six, so once a shorty, always a shorty. While the high energy of his instrumentals were a highlight, including an amazing version of Nirvana’s “In Bloom” — tremendous even if pandering, his soulful vocal contributions were a delightful surprise.

Meklit Hadero
The best description I’ve heard of Hadero’s sound is to imagine is Joni Mitchell were born in Ethiopia, and even that lofty praise perhaps does her East African-tinged jazz some injustice. Hadero’s previous addresses are neatly stamped on her music, fusing New York Jazz with African rhythms all wrapped up in the West coast folk of her current San Francisco home. Amidst all the running back and forth to get in as much as I could, her set was the perfect respite from the hustle of the day.

Minus the Bear
Celebrating their 10th anniversary, locals Minus the Bear made sure to play all the fan favorites spanning their time together, and the crowd ate it up accordingly. While they’ve always seemed kind of generic to me, their live set was riveting enough to make me reconsider where I’ve been keeping them filed.

Mavis Staples
The night belonged to soul sister number one, and church was in session from the opening number. Arms raised and head to the sky, it was hard not feel the presence of something bigger than all of us when Staples voice rang out. And when she covered The Band’s “The Weight,” it capped the evening off better than anything someone could have dreamed, short of a celestial hand coming down and carrying off a winged Staples into the sky. Sweet dreams are made of these.

More of Drake‘s pics from Day 1 of Bumbershoot 2011 after the jump.

Shabbaz Palaces
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Pickwick
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Vetiver
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Little Dragon
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Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue
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Meklit Hadero
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Minus the Bear
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Mavis Staples
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