Bumbershoot 2018 Wrap-Up!
I’m Oli Moseley, 19 and grown in West Seattle. This is my seventh year covering Bumbershoot for Easy Street! These are some highlights over the weekend:
SassyBlack - Photo: Paul Moseley
Oh mama, SassyBlack was great, unpredictable, and dynamic, to say the least. She began the show with “I heard you’re supposed to lie about your age. I told everyone I was 32 when I was 31,” and sprinkled very comical and revealing statements throughout her set. Freeform doo’s and dah’s were born into the air as Sassy hit her silicon drum pads. Her modern jazz flow floated over self-recorded harmonies, luminescent synths, and computer-generated 808s. The performance was a conversation with the crowd that shattered the “perfect famous” image through comedy and rawness.
Similar artist- Erykah Badu
jo passed - Photo: Paul Moseley
Vancouver band jo passed put on the kind of show all the cool kids in a 2000’s movie would go to. Their dimensional math rock was dynamic and bashy, contradictory to their soft and humble presence between the songs. Tumbling, tropical notes were met by ringing gothic vocals and guitar licks that would pierce the roof of your mouth. Individually, each member was uncontainable, spilling over the edges with soft rage. But their chemistry as a whole was impressive as they bounced off each others' energy so easily in an ecosystemic dynamic.
Similar Artist- Palm
Superorganism's Orono Noguchi - Photo: Paul Moseley
A musical artist unlike any other, Superorganism is an eight-member group led by small but powerful 18-year-old Orono Noguchi. The colorful group took the stage in shiny plastic raincoats and synchronized dance moves. In-your-face “wa-wa” beats and culty harmonies were accompanied by Noguchi’s vocals with a “fuck all” tone, and the songs were centered around tasteful synchronism and repetition. Psychedelic loop-like visuals were an especially vital component to the musical experience that stuck out from all the others.
The Pink Slips
Grace McKagan of The Pink Slips - Photo: Paul Moseley
Returning to Bumbershoot on the mainstage this year was L.A.-based synth-punk band The Pink Slips. The band thrusted forward their signature avant-garde personas while Grace ejected her thrashing, gender-bending energy and paralyzing eyes. These young artists break the rules and get real shreddy.
lovelytheband - Photo: Megan Raventos
lovely’s sound was a warm ball of light, pulsing, and sometimes bursting, light flares outward. The air was filled by harmonizing synths, heavy drums, and energetic jangle-pop guitar riffs. Wholesome lyrics such as “these are my friends, I love them” manifested much love and poppy sunshine into the world around them.
Similar Artist- Imagine Dragons
SZA - Photo: Megan Raventos
Once an artist low on the list of those performing at Bumbershoot, SZA is finally the headliner and closing act! Dynamic R&B melodies cushion raw lyrics that open up about her insecurities and embrace vulnerability. A powerful lyricist and performer, her subject matter demands a listening ear and she captures eyes with her candid, steezy dance moves. Not to mention she empowers young women and women of color to be strong and accepting of our feelings.
Perky, sweet, and edgy are all words you could use to describe Great Grandpa. The group breaks down paradigms with humanizing and engaging side notes, such as mentioning the difficulties of re-tuning your guitar 14 times during a show. These Seattle-based bandmates are highly likable and also quite witty. In-between song stories consisted of comically relatable moments such as being intimidated to say hi to an "untouchable" human. “Super nice people” said one of the members about the band Fleet Foxes, who they saw from afar at a restaurant. “Didn’t talk to them though.” Musically, the group is dynamic and impressive. Sweet vocals turned spicy swiftly with the flip of a switch and bashy grunge sounds filled the room. Unsurprisingly, this group had the KEXP quarters filled to the brim.
Modern jazz vocalist Moses Sumney, dressed in an avant-garde black jumpsuit, projected a slow and easy vibe during his show. The slow and spacey sounds culminated an encapsulating atmosphere that had people inching into interpretive space dancing. Sweet violin sounds accompanied R&B beats making immaculate yet seductive tunes. In his final song “Plastic,” Sumney showcased his impeccable range and vocal manipulation abilities in an emotional performance that exposed our souls…
OG bop star Lil Wayne took the mainstage by the horns, spitting songs in record time and maintaining a true calm. The artist, whose career first took flight in ‘91, brought iconic songs like “Lollipop” and “The Motto” to life before our eyes. Weezy’s charismatic grin stole the stadium’s hearts and then captured our attention with respectable seniority. With a demographic so large and diverse, it’s indicative that he’s instigated monster waves throughout pop culture history.
Overall, a wonderful and diverse lineup this year. The festival was also wonderful in allowing fine and alternative artists to share their crafts as well. I got to immerse myself in a harmonic bath, witness murals come to life, and watch acrobats bend and twist like a twizzler.
Harmonic Bath - Photo: Megan Raventos
Unicorn Rainbow - Photo: Oli Moseley