How many times have you heard or been asked the question, “What kind of music do you like?” Too many to count I’m sure. I typically have the same answer every time: “I like all kinds of music.” I know it seems cliché, but I actually do like all kinds of music, which is one reason why I enjoy Bumbershoot. I enjoyed it more when it was $5 a day, but all good (cheap) things come to an end eventually. Nonetheless, Bumbershoot is still worthy of attendance and attracts an array of music and music lovers. The headliners are often famously mainstream, but it’s this year’s “hideliners” that have caught my eye.
There are several hidden, under-the-radar performances that will be making memorable appearances. Some are local bands taking huge strides towards Seattle’s coveted music reputation, and others are longtime touring bands with a solid fan base. I have narrowed down my top 10 picks for this years “must see” live shows. It wasn’t an easy task considering the talent that has been selected, but I have done so diligently. I encourage you to see at least one of these exceptional acts this year.
10. Nude Pop
This year’s winner of the Experience Music Project’s 2012 “Sound Off!” This band mixes dreamy melodies that have an oddly reminiscent mix of lounge and pop. Their tip-of-the-tongue sound is what I love, and there’s nothing better than blending familiar sounds to make something original. They are certainly on my personal top 10 list, and I am looking forward to hearing the full length that has an unknown release date as of now. They seem to be pretty busy with the buzz they’ve received from the Capitol Hill Block Party and the upcoming Bumbershoot slot they’ve earned, but I hope to hear more real soon!
9. King Kahn & The Shrines
With a career spanning more than a decade long this fascinating act “craptivates” audiences with a Davy Jones, Monkee-esque style that protrudes a “must see” state of mind. I use the word craptivate because I believe that’s how they would want to be described. I’m a sucker for wackadoo stage antics and psychedelic styles, and even though I have never seen them live (but so yearn to) I know this is band will not disappoint. I get the feeling that if I were in South Dakota I would see them on a billboard, just between the 60-foot Jolly Green Giant and the World’s Only Corn Palace, that would display “The Incredible Multiplying Band! Just Add Water and Watch Them Play!”
8. Deep Sea Diver
Sometimes spinoff bands work for me, sometimes not so much. But Deep Sea Diver is a spinoff of two pretty great groups: The Shins and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I can’t help but think of PJ Harvey when I hear Jessica Dobson’s voice, the creative mastermind. I secretly want to see them just for that reason: to fulfill my in person PJ fantasy that never panned out. But nonetheless Deep Sea Diver has a unique sound that blends piano, guitar, and did I mention vocals that evoke PJ Harvey? Eek! This woman is going to hate me.
7. Niki & The Dove
There was a time in my early years of party hopping that I had an affinity towards the digital sound and all nighters, for lack of better terms…raving. I loved to dance! And still do, however, nowadays it’s isolated to my personal living quarters. Which is where I found myself getting my groove on when I first heard Niki & The Dove. Wow! It’s so nice to hear that good classic electro-pop music is still being signed on to labels like Sub Pop. Nice work!
6. Lee Fields and The Expressions
Lee was best described on his web page. I’ll let you click to read it, since my affiliations are somewhat PG-rated. But this guy kicks ass! I believe that’s PG? Anyway, you would think he has been in the industry quite a while by the look and sound of his established persona, and well…he has been. The Expressions however, have not. With an impressive career in the music industry that spans over four decades and a tour resume to match, Lee continues to “bring it.” So much so, that his accolades are higher than ever before. If soul is what you’re in the mood for, then this is where you want to be.
5. Bryan John Appleby
I’m a little biased when it comes to this particular artist, mostly because his latest album was produced in Ballard where I have spent much time working and living. I’m also a fan of poetic folk phrases that reflect concentrated emotion, which is what Bryan John does with his music. I wouldn’t call myself a profound individual by any means, so to find an artist who extracts depth out of me is a rarity. Now we’re not talking goose bumps here, but I have no doubt that his music will evolve with time. I have already recognized this evolution from his first album to the most recent release, “Fire on the Vine.”
4. Omar Souleyman
Global music can be a tough sell, but any true music lover will hear the talent regardless of style, genre, and proximity of sound. After listening to the Youtube vids and reading the comment “I WILL have sex to this song one day” that justifiably received 39 “thumbs up” replies, I was hooked. I will be seeing him come Monday, Sept. 3, and I will be chanting/hopping/clapping/shaking my “bod” uncontrollably like most of his loyal fans. Omar is a Syrian phenomenon who has graciously made his presence known here in the states in recent years. Check out his music and, love it/feel it/appreciate it.
3. The Cellar Door
Too soon to make any overzealous statements towards this band who has yet to debut any full length albums. However, what I have heard is quite fantastical and wholesome. I enjoy bands with plentiful string renditions, which is what this young group of fresh artists has to offer. This is a buzz band that we may or may not be seeing a lot of in the near future.
2. Eight And A Half
Another spin off band of two very talented groups: The Stills and Broken Social Scene. Both bands are great. The Stills + Broken Social Scene = Awesome. Electro-pop-ish-ness.
Watch the videos. Need I say more? Okay I will: The first time I heard Jordan Cook, a.k.a. Reignwolf, the hair stood up on my arms. This is the show to see at Bumbershoot, The Comet, The Sunset, Linda Fest, wherever, whenever. He is the next big thing to come out of Seattle. Although he’s not from Seattle, he recently found himself on an extended stay from Saskatchewan. But! What I believe happened is, a city that clearly has extraordinary musical tastes caught wind to his ferociously raw sound, style, and suave stage presence and claimed him as their own. He’s stuck now. The best way to describe him would be pure rock n’ roll, as cheesy and that may sound. The only disappointment for me is that he’s playing a 1pm show and he clearly deserves a primetime evening slot on a Bumbershoot main stage. However, I have no doubt that his name will be in bold at any like event soon enough.
Nicole Starr is TWIF’s brand new music blogger.