This year’s Seattle Center music festival marks my second rodeo, but there are still many firsts to be had.
Today, Seattle’s gargantuan end-of-Summer music fest kicks off, and just like last time I’m in disbelief of all the high quality live music I get to witness. I didn’t think that Bumbershoot 2016 could come close to matching the lineup they had last year; it included The Weeknd, Jhene Aiko, Chance the Rapper, Kehlani, Ben Harper, Raz Simone, Hozier, and Dave B to name quite a few. If this year is anything like last time, I know I’ll be impressed—perhaps even mind-blown—by the talented performers that are coming through, and it’s likely I’ll even stumble upon a couple unexpected gems along the way. Even though it can be painfully difficult to stick to a plan with these festivals, here’s 10 acts I’m planning my Bumbershoot weekend around:
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
I may not be what you would consider a “fan,” but I have always admired Macklemore’s self-awareness, and his connectedness to his Seattle community. To that end, I have also grown to respect him since he dropped “White Privilege.” and My sources—including WOHM editor Mac Smiff—say Macklemore puts on one hell of a show. No one I want to see has a conflicting set time, so I suppose I DO want to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis perform hits like “Thrift Shop” and “Same Love” live. Who knows, maybe he’ll surprise the crowd with other local artists that he has featured on his singles. Plus it’s almost NFL season and I could really use some of the duo’s 12th Man energy.
The Flavr Blue
Speaking of Macklemore features, you have to wonder if The Flavr Blue singer Hollis will hop on stage with Macklemore (or vice-versa) to perform “White Walls.” I know I’ve said it before, but “We Can Go Blind” is a true gem that I just need to rock out to live. This Spring the Seattle-based band embarked on a tour in support of their EP Love Notes. The electro-pop trio has always had strong hip-hop influences, but their sound is eclectic AF. Their new album is romantic, genuine, and has a more spacey sound than previous releases.
I know that comedian-musician Reggie Watts is going to be insanely entertaining if his tapings are any indication of his talent. His music sets are improvisational, using his voice, a keyboard and loop machine to “disorient” and entertain his audiences on the fly. He also leads the house band for The Late Late Show with James Corden. The dude has serious chops and is an absolute riot. I’m gonna have to wear waterproof mascara.
It took me a long time to admit that I even like this song, but “Trap Queen” is probably really fucking dope live, and it seems like an ideal environment in which to get stoned. I’m not missing it.
Third Eye Blind
The pop-rock band catalog is the kind of thing I became familiar with listening to on the radio on my way to school in 2001. To my dismay, they’re actually still active and have been touring as of recently. I’m no die-hard Third Eye Blind fan, but seeing them perform hits like “Semi-Charmed Life,” “How’s It Going to Be,” “I’ll Never let You Go,” and “Jumper,” is just too nostalgic to resist. If you need me I’ll be the one knowing the words, and singing along with a shit-eating grin on my face.
I’ve had a weakness for Jojo’s powerhouse vocals and sassy lyrics on a slew of break-up anthems for 12 smooth years—since she and I were both minors. Oh, how time flies. It seems like it was just yesterday I was blasting her hit singles “Leave (Get Out)” and “Too Little Too Late” in my bedroom while I got ready for school. Shoot I even loved “Disaster” which she released in 2011. Her first album in a decade, Mad Love, is due out in October, and includes entitled “Fuck Apologies,” featuring Wiz Khalifa. I do like the lead single and I’m looking forward to finally hear her sing live.
Tyler the Creator
Tyler the Creator has grown a lot as a composer/producer/songwriter/rapper over the last few years, recently starting his own media company, Golf Media, which is appropriately a play off the title of his apparel/lifestyle brand Golf Wang. I’m not too familiar with Tyler’s catalog, but I must admit that part of the draw is to witness the young man who helped shine light on Frank Ocean. Yep, my desire to see him is 100% out of curiosity, since his Twitter presence is always an amusing scroll, and of course I’ve also heard he puts on crazy high-energy sets.
Tiller is the one Bumbershoot artist that I’ll arrive super early to see, so I can smash all the way up to the front and yell-sing every single lyric from his debut studio album TRAPSOUL, which I have been obsessing over for the last year. When he kicked-off his TRAPSOUL tour at the Roseland in Portland I was astounded to see that Tiller can really sing live, despite what’s implied by some of those distorted vocals on the record. In addition to his killer songwriting abilities, the Louisville singer/rapper has one of the most exciting come-up stories I’ve heard in a while, but still maintains his enigma status by keeping a relatively private existence. He’ll be the one artist I actually fangirl and get butterflies for.
You may have seen Ron Funches on his recurring role on Drunk History, or on NBC’s Undateable, but Funches also spent some time living in Portland, so he knows what’s up in terms of how bomb our in-season blackberries are. His style of comedy is painfully true, self aware and super relatable—and his high pitched giggle add a lovable, endearing touch. He’ll be performing his standup routine on both Saturday and Sunday, so there’s really no excuse to miss him.
Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals
After performing on a handful of tracks from Dr. Dre’s Compton, he is now signed to Aftermath Entertainment. His album Cover Art from 2013 is a compilation of various folk and rock songs by white artists in the 1950s—a counter to commercially successful artists of that time who would remake black music into rock hits without compensation. Details from songs like “Bird” and “Room in Here” off his most recent album Malibu seem to build off this idea, and yet his sound is solidly grounded in vintage soul. Anderson .Paak’s been making quite the splash in the Pacific Northwest recently; his stunning performance during the Soul’d Out music festival had the town on a contagious post-concert high for days, and he’ll also be performing in Portland on the Monday following Bumbershoot! Paak is known for his multitude of musical talents: singing, rapping, playing drums, keyboard, and producing.
Here’s hoping that no one cancels, and that it doesn’t rain (again). #OutHere and Bumbershoot-bound.
Images courtesy Bumbershoot