Bumbershoot 2011 : Minus The Bear, Tennis, Lemolo, Head Like A Kite, Pickwick, Campfire OK Festival Recap
September 6th, 2011 – Seattle Center, Seattle, WA
There was no better way to kick off my Bumbershoot weekend than with a set by local band Campfire OK. At noon, I found myself front row at the Fountain Lawn Stage bracing myself for the high-energy packed performance that the band is notorious for putting on. Campfire OK is a band with an immense amount of passion, talent and potential for growth. I don’t know about most people, but it is a rare sight to catch me dancing at noon. Only a band like Campfire OK can make me do something that crazy, but it turns out I wasn’t the only one this weekend, because everyone around me was groovin’ along to their songs. Campfire OK’s lasting impression on me came from the fact that the band enjoyed performing for us as much as I enjoyed watching them. If the crowd was dancing, the band members on stage were dancing much harder. Lead singer Mychal pounced on the keys of his piano in a manner of organized chaos while the lovely Melodie Knight engaged the crowd in hand claps. Anytime I heard a solo coming from the band’s magnificent trumpet player, I, along with everyone else, was instantly mesmerized. Believe me when I say that this is only the beginning for Campfire OK, because I am predicting great things for the future, including an upcoming album!
You know a band is about to throw down one hell of a performance when the line has already reached max capacity 30 minutes before a show. Had my brother and I showed up just one minute later, we would’ve missed out on Pickwick’s set. We were literally the last two people to be admitted into the venue, and we were able to witness an unforgettable performance by the up-and-coming band. I had been catching a lot of buzz about the band over the last few months, but I never take much of that to heart until I see a live performance. Pickwick was nothing short of amazing. In fact, I think I was so caught off guard by the performance that I had to do a double-take. The chemistry between all of the band members was light-hearted and intimate; I felt like I was watching a performance by a group of my own friends who were just having a grand ol’ time making music on the spot. Lead singer, Galen Disston, has a voice that has been stuck in my head ever since, and I’ve since decided that he is the one responsible for stirring up my recent soft spot for soul music. Pickwick are something else, and Seattle is extremely lucky to house a band like them.
minus the bear
Minus the Bear was one band that I had been looking forward to all weekend long. It had been a little over a year since I last saw them briefly perform last minute at The Vera Project for the Pepsi Refresh Project commercial, but my love for the band stemmed several years before that. This year, the band celebrates their 10-year anniversary and they made sure to include all of their hits and my favorites throughout their set. As the set went on, every few songs, bassist Cory Murchy would throw up double-thumbs up to the crowd to which we all responded with cheers in a mutual agreement that we were pleased with their performance. I was thrilled to hear that this year’s Bumbershoot lineup was reaching back into their Seattle roots by highlighting some of Seattle’s best musicians and bands and even more ecstatic when I heard that Minus the Bear was on the bill. The band may have spent the last ten years in the music industry together, but they’ve still got it, and they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
I was introduced to Tennis when I heard their single, “Marathon” for the first time on the Urban Outfitters’ Music Mondays — a weekly post that showcases five songs from up-and-coming bands. I knew that it would be highly likely for me to enjoy the rest of their songs if I already had a history of having “Marathon” on repeat for days. Lead singer Alaina Moore is dreamy and absolutely sensational. My heart just about melted when my ears were greeted with her soft and delicate vocals. I couldn’t help but be reminded of a vintage romance vibe and envisioned the entire set as a soundtrack to a romantic comedy movie like (500) Days Of Summer. Tennis initially started as a husband and wife duo — adorable, right? Together, Moore and her husband, Patrick Riley, along with drummer James Barone, charmed Bumbershoot’s Fountain Lawn crowd Sunday afternoon and made everyone fall in love with them.
head like a kite
Head Like A Kite frontman Dave Einmo and I are essentially peers at Seattle University. There are days when I will cross paths with him at the library and think to myself, “Whoa. How does this guy manage to hold it altogether?” Einmo is pulling a Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, and he’s pretty damn good at it. On Monday afternoon, Dave Einmo and Trent Moorman graced us all with their presences by donning white bell-bottomed jumpsuits and taking the stage to the Star Wars theme song. Immediately after that, the duo launched into an entertaining performance that included Einmo singing to his mannequin head prop on stage and a guest appearance by a delightful-looking panda. Everyone that came to Head Like A Kite’s performance knew that they were getting a show that afternoon; Einmo and company certainly delivered just that.
Both Meagan Grandall and Kendra Cox take home the award for giving the most mesmerizing performance at Bumbershoot. The lovely ladies are not only gorgeous in appearance, but both embody beauty, grace, and class within their sound. Like Pickwick, I later learned that the venue had reached capacity before Lemolo’s set had even begun, shutting out many attendees who were unable to catch this performance at the EMP Level 3 Stage. As I took my spot near the corner of the right side of the stage nestled in the cave underneath the stairs, I glanced out at the eager faces in the crowd. During the set, that eagerness transformed into joy and wonder. Though the dream pop genre may not pack the same power as Bumbershoot artists like Big Boi or Mad Rad might, make no mistake that there is a power deeply rooted within the duo. With Grandall doubling up on vocals and guitar and Cox taking on drums and keyboard, one might start to question if it would be easier to distribute the instruments on to more band members — but the lovely ladies proved that they can manage just fine on their own. Their humbleness, passion, talent and ability to support each other are what makes them such incredible women and musicians.