The Bumbershoot Festival always throws together one of the more eclectic line-ups in the nation, with a fair combination of “must see”‘s, “I’ve heard about them”‘s, and “who the hell are these people”‘s spanning across all genres in the musical world. So, with a packed schedule, and a surprisingly gorgeous summer weekend in Seattle’s hands, I trekked in to try and make sense of it all.

Seattle Center – Seattle, WA – September 5th, 2011

my goodness

This local Seattle duo has been burning up the presses around here and with good reason. The guitars and drums are steeped in the blues and the punk has just the right amount of rock and roll to keep it all grounded. And My Goodness is a fantastic live band to boot. Despite a few technical difficulties here and there, the band smashed through a set of their only album so far, plus a few new diddies. It can’t ever be said enough: see My Goodness while you can — because bands this good don’t stay this small for long.

big boi

I went into this with incredibly low expectations and ,I have to say that he shattered them all. Even without André 3000 at his side, Big Boi launched into all the Outkast hits he knew the crowd wanted to hear over an absurdly bass-driven set that made most of the normal beats to the songs absolutely unintelligible. For the one hour he was on stage, Big Boi was locked in and hardly taking even a second to breathe. It has been a while, but the man is still an entertainer at heart — a good one at that — and has the back catalog to make the spectacle worth it.

greensky bluegrass

This five-piece bluegrass band is just a slice of good ‘ol American pie. The band specializes in rambling bluegrass tunes and are prone to some downright righteous jam sessions. Greensky Bluegrass do a fantastic job of merging some of the older more traditional sounds with the new-age bluegrass most kids are listening to nowadays. Often times, they left the music speak for itself, and occasionally, after a hearty instrumental go around, they speak for the music as well.

ravenna woods

This local trio plays indie rock in a way that no one wants to hear — with dark lyrical content. But you’d never guess it if you were just listening to the music, with its tribal drumming beats and dexterous fingerpicking on an acoustic guitar. Ravenna Woods are making a name for themselves, halfway based on their own interesting take on acoustic soft-spoken, sort-of indie rock, but mostly for their intense live show where the band seems more likely to dive off the stage in a fit of thrashing than to actually finish the song.

hall & oates

They opened with “Maneater”; not really much more needs to be said beyond that. Although each song featured a brand new extended saxophone solo not available on the studio versions, karaoke’s famed duo put on a surprisingly solid set. Unfortunately, that factor of surprise comes from low expectations. Bumbershoot has always done a good job of booking that one band you would see for the novelty but wouldn’t actually directly pay money for. Hall & Oates, the famed mustached duo, are just that act, and a perfect way to close out a gorgeous sound filled weekend.

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