Sunday was Sweetie's and my day for Bumbershoot, Seattle's Music & Arts Festival. No bumbershoots were needed this weekend! The sky was so clear that you could even see The Mountain, a.k.a., Mount Rainier. But it never got as hot as had been predicted, which was good.
Despite the gorgeous weather, we began our day indoors. Or rather, in a lineup to get into the Bagley Wright Theater. First up for us was Kristin Hersh. She did a show based on her memoir Rat Girl (which both of us loved). She did readings from the book interspersed with songs (of the period, I think). I was captivated! A lot of people seem to use humour to distance themselves, and their readers, from sometimes painful reality. For Hersh, humour provides no distance. I was so touched that she basically stood naked and vulnerable in front of us, sharing her story. It was powerful. If my day had ended right there, I would have felt I'd gotten my money's worth.
There was much more to come, however. The theatre is cleared between acts, so we went outside to see what was next on our list. And very quickly we found ourselves back in the very same lineup, although somewhat farther back. This was to see the Trey McIntyre Project, a contemporary dance troupe from Boise, Idaho (srsly). They performed two long-form pieces. The first was called "Oh, Inverted World" and was based on music by The Shins. It was gorgeous! I just wish I hadn't been fighting to keep my eyes open—a combination of The Shins' music (beautiful but mellow) and a bit too much time in a darkened theatre (second show in a row—should have re-caffeinated). The second piece was called "The Sweeter End," with music by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The dancing was wonderful, and the choreography very inventive.
After the dance show, we took a bit of a shopping break. Sweetie found a beautiful bracelet to match a blue dress that she bought in Hawaii. And it matches many other items she owns. We wandered from the market section over to the Fountain Stage, where we saw part of a set by Thee Oh Seas, originally from San Francisco. Two drummers, no bass player, and a weird looking electric 12-string! They've been around since 1997, but they were new to me.
We wandered off in search of food. The festival layout is a bit different than in past years, and some things weren't in their usual spot (we didn't find the Ballard Bros., purveyors of awesome blackened salmon burgers, until we were leaving the grounds). We split a halibut taco with garlic fries, since we were really more peckish than hungry. Good stuff!
The chronology gets a bit confused at this point. I know we went by some more vendor booths. I bought a really cute short T-shirt dress, "made in Portland, Oregon." They were also selling these cute black panties with glow-in-the-dark stars and planets on them, Sweetie bought a pair. And that must have been when there was a bit of a lull in our schedule and we took a break. We got stamped and walked up Mercer into Queen Anne. We paid a visit to Easy Street Records, a very cool store. I bought some used PJ Harvey CDs. Sweetie went for Throwing Muses (with Kristin Hersh in mind). Then we walked across the street to T.S. McHugh's Irish Pub & Restaurant, where I procured a very tasty pint called Clem's Gold (a nicely hopped golden ale).
We headed back to Seattle Center, grabbed a falafal sandwich on the run, and lined up to get into Exhibition Hall to see Anti-Flag. The lineup was huge! We thought of bailing, but we stuck with it, and eventually we made it inside. Anti-Flag hadn't started playing yet! They went on about 25 minutes late and rocked hard. After all that, however, we didn't stay for too many songs. We wanted to make sure to get a spot to see the Butthole Surfers at the Fisher Green Stage. It was outdoors, and we needn't have hurried. We also kept calling it the Fisher Price Stage. Somehow, that just seemed to flow better! The BH Surfers played a really good set, although I like their sound better than most of their songs, and I do get a bit annoyed that the singer plays so much with a synthesizer. Their bass player rocks! Sweetie noted that this summer we had seen two of Kurt Cobain's biggest influences: the Meat Puppets and the Butthole Surfers. I reminded her that we had also seen the Pixies not long ago, so that makes three influences!
After that set, we wandered away for a bit, because it was going to be a while before the Kills hit that same stage. We then wandered back into a throng and waited. The Kills went on just a bit late. We went because I really liked songs I'd heard from them. And I know we're supposed to like the Kills. I expected to like them. I know it would be Not Cool not to like them. And really, I thought they were fine. But they didn't blow either of us away. The guitar sound was oddly annoying. The fact that they are a two-piece with backing tracks is limiting. I know this is what you do, kids, but really, maybe you should just bite the bullet and hire a drummer and a bass player and maybe a keyboard player. They do have good songs, at least sometimes. But maybe the grandmas were just reaching the end of a long day. We headed off to kill (no pun intended) a bit of time before our shuttle arrived, pausing briefly to catch a few songs from a band called Carbon Leaf.
We could have tried to squeeze in some more activities, and once upon a time we probably would have. If we'd stood in some other lineups, we could have got special tickets for comedy shows. The Improv Shakespeare Company and the Dead Parrot Society both looked like they'd have been worth checking out. We passed on Broken Social Scene (and thus did not see our obligatory Canadian band while not in Canada) because Key Arena is a brutal place for sound. We had also thought of trying to catch No Means No. We thought of trying to get into what would have been a really small venue to see Dan Savage and his husband Terry. I'm kind of sorry we didn't catch at least some of War Paint, an all-female band who sounded pretty good as we walked toward the BH Surfers. But in the end we were tired and happy. On the way back to our hotel, we even had a nice chat with the driver of our shuttle (originally from Manchester and with a cute accent).