By Mathieu Pierre Youdan
August 31, 2014
SEATTLE, WASH. — For those over the Washington drinking age and without a death wish, the second day of the Bumbershoot festival officially started with Seattle’s Red Fang. Their 3 p.m. set got too loud and too fast for the Fountain Lawn stage, who were generally content with lightly head banging and hanging out at the beer garden. Trading Kyuss-inspired riffs for math-rock rooted hardcore, the diversity in printed cargo shorts amongst the crowd was as impressive as the band’s hair styles. Not to mention some insane riffs from competing guitarists Bryan Giles and Aaron Beam.
Across the festival grounds, post-punk legends Dream Syndicate were keeping the dream of the ’90s alive in Seattle. Equally influential to the Sub Pop roster as influenced by East Coast alt-rock, the Paisley Underground group had a more-than 30-year-old catalogue, including 1988’s impressive Medicine Show introduce to a relatively new but enthusiastic audience. Dream Syndicate’s singer Steve Wynn displayed impressive showmanship, with the band enthusiastically throwing guitars on every emphatic beat.
Author Tom Robbins made an appearance in the festival’s Words and Ideas stage, a sort of TED-style talk that the festival had been conducting with notable writers and thinkers. He began the event introducing himself through a pen pal who “owed him a favour,” and went on to describe in a slow and heavily Virginian voice that he was going to by presenting the opening pages of his collected works. The revered writer then went on to hold true to this promise, reading the opening pages of all 11 published works, including cult favourite and feature length film Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, to the applause and reverence of a captivated audience.
Legendary punks and rockers the Replacements were next to appear on the Main Stage. Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson were the sole remainders from their original 1981 lineup, with current touring guitarist Dave Minehan from The Neighborhoods replacing the now deceased Bob Stinson. It quickly became obvious that Westerberg was performing as intoxicated as the reputation that has preceded him, despite playing for 5,000 fans in the middle of the day. “Maybe when we get a little older, they’ll let us play in the dark,” the 54-year-old songwriter and guitarist joked.
Westerberg nearly threw up, dropping the microphone, during his performance of Tim‘s Androgynous, after lighting a few cigarettes and falling on his ass during Sorry Ma, I Forget to Take out the Trash’s “Dont Ask Why.” The band also managed to cover Michael Jackson’s “Want You Back” between aggressive punk jams, as well as a lightning-quick version of Chuck Berry’s “Maybelline.” At the end of the night Westerberg came off stage to play Tim standouts “Left Of The Dial” and “Bastards of Young.” Pretending to end twice before, the band finally finished with Pleased to Meet Me‘s “Alex Chilton,” a quick bow, and a curt exit.
Again making the trek across festival grounds, Big Star’s Third was performed by a musician’s collaboration including Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws, and Mike Mills of R.E.M. Their seven-piece orchestra faithfully followed the track list of the album in its entirety, lushly filling gaps left by deceased singer Alex Chilton on the unfinished album alternatively titled Sister Lovers. After completing the record’s fourteen tracks, the orchestra returned for an encore of legendary power pop album Radio City‘s “September Girls” and “Thirteen,” the audience singing along eagerly to every word.
Funk pioneer and Parliament-Funkadelic co-founder Bootsy Collins finished the night with equal parts spectacle and wonder. Summoning the mothership to reveal original members of Funkadelic along with Bootsy’s Rubber Band, the 62-year-old band leader and funk-bass master showed no signs of slowing through the 90-minute performance. Playing Mothership Connection‘s classic hits “P-Funk (Want To Get Funked Up)” and “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker),” Collins displayed an impressive amount of funk, including an outfit change, a screaming bass solo, and a psychedelic awe-inspiring lit-up and star-shaped bass guitar.
Bootsy finished the set as a true showman, demanding security allow him off the stage “so I can touch my people.” Fans were so eager to hug Bootsy that a line was never established, preventing Bootsy from getting through the back of the crowd. The band began chanting “come back Bootsy!” softly, with the audience in tow, luring the legendary bassist back onstage. Ending the night getting the crowd to chant, “It’s official. Family approved. One Nation. Under a groove,” Bootsy got an extended curfew without permission, and an auctioned Seahawk’s jersey for the Bootsy Collins Foundation. Cool.
Unfortunately BeatRoute will not be posting a Monday update, because as a magazine based in Western Canada, we’re dedicated to having our contributors home for a scheduled work week. But rest assured, we’ve missed Jonathan Richman’s eccentric stage performance, along with the Seattle International Film Festival jury awards, Electro-Pop musician Twin Shadows, grunge rockers Nada Surf, bluegrass punks Reverend Horton Heat, and indie legends Foster The People. Sorry about that, but we travel tight! Check out Seattle-based The Stranger at http://www.thestranger.com/ and Seattle Music Insider at http://seattlemusicinsider.com/ for updates about today’s performances.BC, Big Star, Bootsy Collins, British Columbia, Bumbershoot, Bumbershoot Festival, Dream Syndicate, festival season, Red Fang, Replacements, Seattle, Tom Robbins