More notes from Bumbershoot:
Being stationed at a stage is liberating in a sense because you can watch the ebb and flow of the crowds, and don’t have to abide by it. It’s also restrictive for the obvious reason that you have to listen to the bands, even if you don’t want to. What I learned yesterday, through the sets of Speaker Speaker, The Briefs, Copeland, Sparta, and the Veronicas, is that my taste for punk music has completely left the building.
The only real punk band of the bunch is The Briefs, but every single one of these bands, with the exception of Copeland, showed constant signs of Blink 182 fandom. And Blink 182 ain’t exactly punk, but thats also kind of my point; I think about the fact that Blink 182 has informed an entire generation of pop punk and times like yesterday, when band after band after band reminded me of them, I can’t help but complain.
Speaker Speaker was harmless, though a bit dull. It was really during the Briefs when I started to feel a strong distaste for the constant, on-the-beat one-two drums. The rhythm is so stiff, you watch the kids try and dance and they can’t figure out what to do with their limbs so they just sort of bang their heads or stare off into space. And they yelling, oh, the yelling. When Copeland arrived, it was like an intermission; they are your standard indie rock band, sensitive boy singer with a badass electric guitar. I actually heard some nice melodies in there, but unfortunately the rest of the music was quite boring. And I’m not sure if I liked the music b/c it was in comparison to the other bands, in which case I was bored for the same reason. Sparta is an Austin rock band and they were actually really good. Traces of Blink 182 schtick were there in the double-time bridges, but mainly it was pretty entertaining – they have a big sound. And the Veronicas, well, they’re pretty cool, I guess. It was nice to see some women up there. I liked their songs, they reminded me of Michelle Branch. If Kelly Clarkson knew what was good for her, she’d check them out. The music is completely mainstream pop; the indie style speaks more to the fans then the uniqueness of the sound.
I also caught part of Leslie Feist’s show, but was immediately annoyed by the piercing backing track she had, singing three-part harmonies with herself, only it sounded more like a bad karaoke malfunction.
It was fairly exciting to be part of the festival staff, and I was repeatedly faced with the flakiness of the more administrative people in contrast with the folks on the ground (stage managers, security guards) who were getting the right things done in spite of it all. I spent much of the time incredibly entertained by conversations going on the walkie-talkie.
I’d like to see Bumbershoot have a higher number of really great bands. The thrill of the presence of greatness was not nearly as omnipresent as it should be at an event like this. I don’t think it’s a choice between regional “talent” and mainstream pop, and I feel like it is treated that way; in the course of being so adamantly “Anti,” though, Bumbershoot feels quite mediocre. I wonder what the kids are saying.