I’m a huge fan of music, but up until yesterday I’d never been to a music festival in my life. It’s not because I haven’t wanted to go to one either; it’s just never worked out (mostly because I’ve worked weekends for much of my career). After two and a half days of hearing acts at Bumbershoot from my office in Seattle (the television station is directly across the street from where the event was held), I finally got into the mix last night.
I could only squeeze four hours out of Bumbershoot (I was off work at 7pm and the last show ended at 11pm), but it was worth every second. I saw parts of four different acts, but I was constantly surrounded by music the second I walked in the gates to the second I walked out. After my quick glimpse at the festival, I wished that I could have spent every hour of every day at Bumbershoot over Labor Day weekend (if I didn’t have to work, obviously).
The range of music you find at Bumbershoot is amazing. I heard everything from pop, to folk, to electronica — and I was only there for a few hours. On top of what I heard in the crowd, I also heard a wide range from my office. There was the Heartless Bastards, Ian Hunter and the Rant Band and Wanda Jackson (the “Queen of Rockabilly”) — just to name a few. It’s a great way to experience a lot of different music all in one place.
The first act I strolled upon at Bumbershoot was Lights. I knew nothing about her when I saw her on stage, but she was cute, little and she was rocking out. Lights romped around with the microphone, jammed out on her synthesizer and even went solo on her piano (her band literally left the stage). It was fun to watch. Lights honestly reminded me of someone like No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani when she was on stage, but I was completely duped by her performance. I wanted to learn more about Lights after I got home, so I googled her. All of her songs sounded like your typical pop artist (think Jessica Simpson). I was stunned, disappointed, and realized that I can easily get caught up in a live concert — no matter who it is.
I slipped away from Lights for a few minutes to check out Hey Marseilles. Again, I didn’t know much about them before I saw them on stage. They’re a local, Seattle-based band that sounds a little like Mumford & Sons, but they’re not nearly as good/developed. Hey Marseilles didn’t do nearly enough to lure me in with their first few songs, so I kept moving on (sadly, I chose eating dinner over watching the rest of their show — that’s how little they impressed me).
After a quick bite, Passion Pit was the next group to grab my attention at Bumbershoot. Several people recommended Passion Pit to me in the past, but I never really took the time to listen to them, and honestly the snippets I’d heard on iTunes weren’t all that intriguing to me. I will say this — I’m a big fan of Passion Pit now that I’ve seen them live. Lead singer Michael Angelakos rocks. He’s was all over the stage, swinging the microphone over his head, and even banged away on the drums at one point. Passion Pit definitely won me over. I plan on buying their latest album Gossamer (released July 24th) when I’m done writing this.
Right before Passion Pit wrapped up, I made my way to the main stage at KeyArena to catch the end of Skrillex. I’m not into electronic music at all, so I had no idea how huge this guy was. The arena (which holds 17,459 people) was packed to the brim. Every section was closed, because all the seats were taken. I finally convinced one of the workers to let me through (since I was by myself), and I wound up on the side of the stage. It wasn’t the best for hearing Skrillex jam, but it gave me a great opportunity to see the crowd (the average age couldn’t have been older than 20). It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. I’ll compare it to a rave on steroids. People were shirtless, there were glow sticks, lasers and fireworks, and the crowd never stopped moving to the music. I shot this video to give you a feel for what it was like:
I was skeptical at first, but it was totally worth seeing Skrillex in person (for the people watching alone). I was so impressed that I wrote an individual post about my full Skrillex experience — check it out!
I’ve always been a fan of music, but I’ve really grown to love it over the last five or six years, and thanks to my experience at Bumbershoot, my passion for music keeps getting bigger and bigger. I can’t wait for another live performance or the next band that’s going to knock me right off my feet. I think I might be addicted.
Did you go to Bumbershoot? If so, who did you see? I’d love to hear all about it! Simply leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+. Don’t forget to also check out more of my take on music right now on http://allaroundtim.com.