Bumbershoot 2008: Saturday in Review

The Needle

Bumbershoot 2008 kicked off this last Saturday of Labor Day weekend, and I was on hand to score some pictures and find some new live acts for all of you to put on your must-check-out lists. Considered by some to be a weak line-up this year, and others to be an amazing lineup, I have to say the lack of any extreme, must-see headliners benefited me, since I managed to check out new acts all weekend long that I would never have looked into otherwise.

Davin Stedman and Decurrian of The Staxx Brothers

Saturday kicked off with a lively set by Seattle locals The Staxx Brothers. They had a ragtag look of their own but they managed to get a noon crowd up on their feet and dancing, further aided by a bumping George Clinton cover.

Neko Case on the Main Stage | Photo by vocoders

The mood died quickly as we made our way to the main stage for Neko Case, however. I may have been let down after such an energetic set by The Staxx Brothers, but Neko Case just didn’t do it for me this sunny afternoon. I think I’d have to be sitting in a fancy venue like the Ryman Theatre on a Thursday evening to really dig her live. She recognized the mood, though, reportedly stating “Welcome to our show, where we play our bummer songs for you in the middle of the day.”

Anyway, with little desire to let the mood drop but with little idea of where to go for a dance party, we dropped by MC Grynch’s set at the Fisher Green Stage. For a vague idea of what a Grynch show is like, imagine that smaller white kid with glasses in math class who didn’t talk a lot, and now imagine he’s a rapper. Need some help? Try this:

MC Grynch takes the stage

As you can see, he’s not your average rapper. He’s a lot more like Mac Lethal’s kid brother, or his protégé for that matter, considering his rapping style. It wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, but if you’re a hip-hop aficionado you’d do well to check Grynch out.

A little rhyming was enough to get me back over to the main stage for Lucinda Williams. After Neko Case I was a little worried that I had over-hyped Williams in my own head, but she more than lived up to my expectations. Although I missed her set-ending covers, including AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll),” I managed to catch a satisfying chunk of her own songs, enough to send me to her next Seattle gig, at least.

I briefly attempted to check out Thao and the Get Down Stay Downs set on the Rock Star Stage, but packed doesn’t describe the crowd at her show. After snapping some photos, I had caught as much as I needed before grabbing an early evening beer at nearby T.S. McHughs.

Thao Nguyen of Thao and The Get Down Stay Down

Thao and The Get Down Stay Down at the base of the Space Needle

Thao and The Get Down Stay Down

After getting some evening pep into my system, I headed back into the festival and inadvertently caught one of the best sets of my weekend. Wreckless Eric, best known for his 1974 single “(I’d Go The) Whole Wide World”, took the stage with wife and songwriter Amy Rigby and proceeded to more than captivate a small but enamored crowd for a full hour. Eric and Amy were quite the entertainers and were full of stage banter, which spilled over into such songs as “Men In Sandals,” a chastising rant about men’s choices in summer footwear, and other similarly fun-spirited melodies. Finishing off the set were the hits – “Whole Wide World,” “Take the K.A.S.H.,” and “Someone Must Have Nailed Us Together” – and those of us who stuck around were certainly glad we did.

Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby

After such a memorable set I was more than ready for a little dancing of some sort, which was certainly not provided by Band of Horses — I should have gone to Man Man — so we were forced to hold our dancing feet steadyl until my most anticipated set of the night, !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Beck is great and all, but I’ve seen him before and I needed to dance. As any LMB reader knows, !!! is a dance party. And, sure enough, we danced. Perhaps that’s why all my pictures were blurry, or maybe I just wasn’t equipped for the late-night light fest, but I’ve got some to share nevertheless:

Nic Offer knows how to scream.

But Shannon Funchess knows how to scream, too.

Not to be upstaged, Offer climbs as security looks on.

The right place and time to dance? If you’re the lead singer of !!!, that time is NOW.

After rehydrating and enjoying some random festival food treats, we caught Beck’s last few songs, which included “Lost Cause,” “Chemtrails,” and a final encore of “Where It’s At” and “E-Pro.” While I would have loved to catch the rest of the show, I was certainly happy with what I managed.

Beck | Photo via , Photo by Chis Graham.

More on Sunday and Monday’s highlights soon! Until then, here’s the full photoset at Flickr.