BumberBlog

After PAX we spent two days at the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival. We saw Vienna Teng Trio, Meat Puppets and some other artists. Oh and we had a late dinner/early breakfast at Beth’s Cafe. Read on for more!

Bumbershoot Sunday began shortly after lunch at Wild Ginger. I’d rank our lunch at Wild Ginger as the culinary highlight of our trip. That’s why I mentioned it in this blog post even though it was previously featured in the 20 sided blog.

We hopped into a Taxi between Wild Ginger and the Convention Center and had it drop us off at Easy Street Records. We picked up our Participant credentials (I’d be handling merchandise settling and running, our friend would be handling audio recording, my wife would be handling artist wardrobe suggestions) and headed into the venue. I found it particularly odd that there was absolutely no search on the way in. Our friend thought it was because we had gone through the press gate.

We walked around a bit, took a picture together under the Space Needle and headed to the Northwest Court Stage, where Vienna Teng Trio would be performing four hours or so later. We checked in with the backstage person and got our Guest passes for the evening. We couldn’t utilize them for anything until after 6:00pm. We caught part of the McTuff Trio’s set. The majority of the acts on the Northwest Court stage were jazz trios. I wasn’t into the McTuff Trio at all. Our friend tried to talk to the sound guy but he wasn’t working during Vienna Teng Trio’s set. Walking around a bit more, we found the Toyota Prius booth and my wife got a Bumbershoot/Toyota sweatband. It was bright orange and our friend said she looked like a Giants fan.

We watched the second half of the Sound Opinions panel discussion with Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot. There was a very vocal Nine Inch Nails fan in the audience and they were talking about how Radiohead’s In Rainbows was an example of name your own price and the band making money still by touring. She cut in saying Nine Inch Nails did it too. Later she brought up the Saul Williams cd and just wouldn’t let up. It was uber annoying. There was also a guy that was convinced that all bands should just write one song and sell it to a major corporation to be featured in a commercial and live off the royalties for a year or so. My stance is, the guy was a moron. Bands can’t earn a living writing one song for a commercial. Jingle writers may be able to do that though. Maybe he needs a career as a jingle writer. Jim DeRogatis then bragged about being fired by Rolling Stone and how he is currently unemployed. Greg Kot was the straight man in the conversation, as he is still gainfully employed somewhere. It was a good way to spend half an hour in a somewhat intimate theatre.

We decided to leave for a while since Bumbershoot allows in and out. Why can’t San Francisco festivals do that? We went out the Not a Public Exit gate and witnessed two teenagers hopping the fence as we walked out.

We went to Easy Street Records, which is awesome. I could have easily spent $200 on cds there without looking very hard. I found it hard to restrain myself and our friend bought some really cool compilations before we quickly came up with an excuse to head back to Bumbershoot.

My wife and I went to pick up our Monday passes while our friend went back to the Northwest Court stage to talk to the sound guy about his set up for the evening. While walking to Will Call, an ice cream truck with a DJ and turntable and a rapper rode by. I thought that was an interesting way for the band to play at Bumbershoot but it turned out it was a legitimate ice cream truck with a live rap band instead of the recorded ice cream truck music. They sold four different varieties. There were animal rights activists all along the entrance path which were trying to distribute propaganda. There were a couple of not very good street musicians as well.

The old folks at Will Call had trouble locating my wife’s purchase but eventually found it. The guy was even proud to find it without her confirmation number that she offered to him. On the way back to the Not a Public Exit gate, someone asked if I would let him into the festival with my Guest pass. That was seriously stupid.

We got back as our friend was still talking to the sound guy.

We took our seats, reserving ourselves a row in front of the soundboard, and hung out for some of the Coryell, Auger, Sample Trio’s set. The Vienna Teng Trio arrived and we went backstage and talked for a little while and snacked on Pop Chips and Clif bars. I got a cup of green tea which helped a bit with my cough for at least a little while. I talked with Ward Williams for a while because I don’t get to talk to him often and I have been listening to his solo cd a lot lately. He said he’s hoping to release some music on his website some time in the not too distant future. Alex had to retreat back to the hotel for a little while and Vienna had to do an interview with a reporter, so I went back out and watched more of the CAS Trio set. They were better than the McTuff trio, but still not the kind of music I’d go see normally.

My wife brought out the merch, which consisted of twenty The Moment Always Vanishing cds, ten Live and World Cafe dvds and some Waking Hour songbooks. She tried to give them to the merch tent and they advised that we’d have to check it in at the main FYE tent down the hill. I ran the merch down and they refused to sell the songbooks because they only were set up to sell cds, dvds, vinyl and tee shirts. They also took a venue cut. They said I could settle on Monday and I asked if I could just come back later because the band wouldn’t be there to settle on Monday. I thought it was kind of peculiar actually that FYE would even suggest that.

I walked back to the Northwest Court stage with my copy of the count sheet and the songbooks. My wife redeposited the songbooks backstage and we settled in for a very public soundcheck. She had also consulted with Vienna and asked her to specifically wear her purple dress for the show.

The Northwest court stage was a very small area situated between Key Arena and a small arts building. They had a beer garden behind the ten row seating area but not much room for a Vienna Teng sized audience. The audience spilled through the seating area, the beer garden and standing room all around. It was cool that she got the crowd that she did being up against such acts as Hole, Weezer and The Dandy Warhols.

After fifteen minutes or so of soundcheck, the band left the stage for a moment and then came back out to perform their show.

It was great to see the trio again. We have seen a lot of duo shows lately and instead of reverting back to the versions of songs they had been playing with Ward during the Inland Territory tour, they have incorporated him into their newer mutated versions of the songs. The sound was pretty amazing. The band was cold. That made them slip up from time to time in the songs. For a non-frequent concert goer, the little mistakes wouldn’t be noticeable because of how well the sound was mixed but obsessed fans and the artists could tell. They played a pretty safe set of songs, which made sense with it being a festival. The crowd participation during Blue Caravan with a key (people jingling their car keys in the air), wind noise (people faintly whistling) and rainfall (people patting their legs percussively) audience orchestra was awesome. Vienna and Alex also recruited the audience to participate singing Alex’s part in Antebellum and they continued to sing along for much more of the song than that. The crowd were not as involved in what could have been a rowdy Grandmother Song.

Post-show, the cds and dvds were obliterated in a couple of minutes and I walked down the hill to settle for the evening. The FYE tent was waiting for the other artist’s cds and three members of the Matt Jorgensen Quintet were still waiting to settle. One of them was arguing that he had been waiting “80 minutes” to settle. I figured I was in for a long wait when I said we had sold everything. While we waited, the band Baroness dropped off their merch for Monday’s show. They introduced themselves to the Matt Jorgensen folks and me and asked which band I was in. I said I was just working with the Vienna Teng Trio and not in the band. They’d never heard of Vienna Teng. It was okay, as I’d never heard of Baroness. A runner came down with all of the unsold stock… for the whole day. That meant none of the bands at the Northwest Court stage could have settled until 10:30 at night. That was insane in my eyes. I let Matt Jorgensen Quintet settle first and then got Vienna Teng Trio’s cut for the show after the FYE guy argued they should have brought more stock because we could have made a killing. I wanted to argue that his venue cut was all he really cared about but instead said something like “The artist just moved and didn’t have much stock and probably didn’t anticipate the crowd.” Then I walked back up the hill, handed the money to Alex, who then handed it to Vienna. We took a group photo with Ward, Alex and Vienna and a couple of our friends and said our good lucks and goodbyes to the band for a little while.

Our two friends, my wife and I then took a drive into north Seattle to visit Beth’s Cafe. Beth’s Cafe is famous for their twelve egg omelets and “all you can eat” hash browns. They also make a killer milk shake. It is in a rather sketchy part of town and is highly supportive of punk counterculture and really took off with young people in the grunge era. The walls are lined with crayon drawings from customers. They had a small game room where we waited until our table was ready. My wife played some Lord of the Rings Pinball while we waited and asked me where the ring I got at PAX was. She playfully insisted that I had lost it. My name was called and our table was ready.

I ordered Bacon and Eggs and a Six Dollar Shake, which consists of a peanut butter milkshake with hot fudge and fudge brownies in it. My wife ordered the one piece of French Toast, one scrambled egg and two strips of bacon breakfast. Our friend ordered a grilled cheese and a peanut butter shake. Our other friend got a BLT and a strawberry shake.

The shakes would have been enough of a meal on their own. The hash browns were gigantic as were the eggs and bacon on my plate. I also got wheat toast with Marionberry jam. The jam was very tasty. The hash browns were mostly butter. The rest of the food was pretty average. It was cool to visit but I don’t think I’d go back to Beth’s unless we were stuck in a jam late at night with a rental car. Beth’s is convenient for being open 24 hours but Night Kitchen downtown is open until 9AM and apparently has similarly average food.

After we finished our meal, our friend drove us back to our hotel and our adventure for the day was at an end at around 1:30AM.

Monday:
Today, we asked at the front desk how to catch the bus to Seattle Center and they suggested that we might like to take the Monorail that runs from Westlake Center to Seattle Center instead. Both cost $2 each way and the Monorail is a direct route. It was actually only about a block from where we caught a taxi yesterday. Oops.

We caught the monorail and got to the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum entrance shortly before 11:00. We called our friends who were meeting us there to let them know where they could find us and I bought all four of us passes with a Bumbershoot discount.

Our friends both arrived and we explored the third floor Reflections: The Mary Wilson Supreme Legacy Collection exhibit. It is always cool to recognize things I’ve seen in television appearances on display in real life in front of me. They had a lot of gowns including one created by a fan for a magazine contest. The fan was commissioned to design more gowns and eventually became Mary Wilson’s personal assistant. There were also photos of other female Motown artists and some outfits that had been worn by Destiny’s Child. They were playing The Supremes over the PA throughout the exhibit but it was strangely all covers of other artists of their era. Our friend said it was probably so the museum wouldn’t have to pay royalties and that made sense.

We went to the Sound Lab and took turns practicing bass, guitar and drums. I was only comfortable with the hi-hat cymbal and playing a drum with my fingers instead of drum sticks. I could play one string on the bass and didn’t even touch the guitar. We took some pictures and had a lot of fun making noise for our ten minute session.

We decided to eat next and had lunch at the Revolution Cafe on the first floor of the EMP. I had a chicken club sandwich. My wife had a barbecue chicken pizza. Our friend had a smoked turkey and bacon sandwich. Our other friend had a cheeseburger. It was museum food. Nothing remarkable but helped to sustain life.

People Eating People started their set on the second floor in the Sky Church as part of Bumbershoot while we were eating. I liked the faint sounds that I heard so I headed upstairs after eating to check them out. They consisted of a girl on a Yamaha keyboard that sounded like a piano on vocals, a girl on a Nord Electro keyboard on backing vocals, a guy on bass and a guy on drums. They sounded a lot like Regina Spektor and I really liked their performance. I debated buying their cd but decided to check them out more online first because I didn’t want to give FYE a 30% cut.

I rejoined my wife and friends in the JBL theater, where we watched Jimi Hendrix’s performance at Woodstock. It annoyed me that they showed the song titles in giant font as each song began to be played. Otherwise, it was cool to relax and watch a legendary performance in the theater. It added to my Bumbershoot experience even if not really a part of Bumbershoot.

We went up to the second floor where BOAT were playing extremely loudly, ear-bleeding and not very good rock music in the Sky Church. They reminded me of Modest Mouse, who I am not a fan of either. We did the Guitar and Jimi Hendrix galleries and exited the EMP. We said goodbye to one of our friends who backed out of Bumbershoot due to the inclement (rainy and windy) weather and officially headed into our second and final day at the festival.

We saw Meat Puppets, a band that I liked a lot in the mid-nineties on the Broad Street stage, in the rain. The sound was messed up a bit and they didn’t play much from the albums I own, but they put on a good set that included the trilogy of songs that Nirvana covered on Unplugged at the end of their set. They played Plateau, Oh Me and Lake of Fire and joked that they were from their album “The Six Wives of Henry VIII” which is actually a concept album by prog rock keyboard player because Chris Kirkwood played keyboard on the tracks.

The band signed autographs after their set and I got my ticket signed. The drummer was doing some early advertising for their next album because it was the first one he would be featured on. I thanked them for playing and they said Curt said they were really happy to be there.

We ate in the Center House food court. I had orange chicken and broccoli beef with 75 cent extra fried rice from Magic Dragon. My wife had spaghetti with marinara sauce from Pizza Haven. Our friend had chicken teriyaki from Teriyaki Tokyo. It was mall food.

Our last band of the festival was Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice’s new project, Jenny and Johnny. I have heard a couple of Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins songs which were okay. This band bored me in the rain. I wasn’t feeling well. I knew Jenny Lewis was in The Wizard, a film about the Nintendo World Championships basically stealing the concept of The Who’s Tommy. I tried to stick it out but gave up about halfway through the set and retreated back to the Center House where I would meet up with my wife and our friend after.

We walked around a bit after Jenny and Johnny’s set concluded and it was dark and cold and rainy. Our next act wasn’t coming on for another two hours so we decided to hop the monorail back to our hotel around 8:30.

And that’s where our Bumbershoot 2010 experience ends.

It was a good trip to Seattle and a lot of fun experiences. I am feeling a bit sicker this evening, probably due to the rain, but it was all worthwhile. I’m glad to have spent so much time with friends and experiencing new games and music this long holiday weekend.

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