PHOTOS by MISS LOPEZ MEDIA
After a very exhausting Saturday of shows, I decided to pick up at least three more pre-rolls to get us through the last day of Bumbershoot chaos. First up was alternative R&B singer Bibi Bourelly, an artist that was new to me but since Renee said she was dope I was open to checking her out at the Main Stage. The crowd was kind of lame, but Bibi proved her singing chops on a variety of songs, including my personal (new) fave, “Ballin.” After seeing her set I’m definitely a new fan, and discovered I already knew a slew of songs she’s written for other artists, such as Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money,” along with several others off ANTI.
The next great act we saw was the Nashville-based rock and blues four-piece The New Respects at the easy-breezy Mural Amphitheater. They’re definitely not hip-hop so we were excited to expand our horizons. The all-Black, female-led band rocked our socks off and melted our faces off—literally, that stage is right in the sun—with renditions of their own songs like “Trouble,” and a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together.” They were super cool and I’ll definitely be seeing them when they come to Portland.
After that Renee was off to shoot rapper Leikeli47 at the dreaded Key Arena, while I would attempt (and fail) to use my press credentials to make it onto the floor. Unfortunately, I wasted too much time waiting in the “Floor” line, walking all the way around the arena three times, and ended up missing Leikeli47’s set L. But from what I heard, she was fucking great and had a couple of backup dancers that added to the intrigue.
Leikeli47 pretty much always wears a mask when she performs since she used to be very shy. The mask acts as a “cape” for her and also forces the audience to focus on the music. I’m super pissed I missed her, but again, this gives me more incentive to see her when comes to Portland.
After that we decided we needed to get high, eat lunch, and start staking out a good spot for Solange. After all, it was Renee’s first time seeing her, and we wanted to be as close as possible. After uncomfortably sitting through X Ambassadors’ set, we weaseled our way into the front VIP section. There seemed to be more Black and brown people congregated to see Solange than at any time during the festival. Even so, it was strange to me that in the very front of the crowd were a bunch of young white girls. (Clearly some people need to do a more thorough listen to the album.) We would later discover that these girls were likely just saving their front row spots for Odesza, who followed Solange’s set. Solange went on about 10 minutes late, but finally she and her band emerged, dressed in all red and singing a stretched out version of A Seat at the Table opener “Rise.”
Basically, all you need to know is that Solange is the GOAT. Just as she demonstrated on the album, Solange has a masterful ability to be simultaneously confrontational and kind. For her performance of “Mad,” Solange addressed the fact that white people are allowed to be mad, but Black folk aren’t (even though we’ve definitely got a lot to be mad about). This was one of the only times that she sang specifically to white people. For the rest of her set, Solange made eye contact with Black people, and sang directly to the Black women in the audience. I watched her sing to Blossom, who was standing right next to me, for a good 15 seconds, and then later during “Don’t Touch My Hair,” Solange sang to me too! I felt so seen and it was beautiful to see other young Black girls have their moment during “F.U.B.U.” Oh, and during that song Solange also called out one white audience member and told her not to sing the N-word in the lyrics, saying something to the effect of “don’t say it, girl.” IT WAS EVERYTHING.
I love that Solange is using her artistry to bring these things to the surface. Tensions were definitely a little high in the audience, but it was ultimately and overwhelmingly filled with love for little sis and everything this album represents. With that, in combination with Solange’s choreography, incredible band, and red moon backdrop, I would see this show several more times. The End.
Oh, and then we went over to catch the last set of Bumbershoot 2017: Gucci Mane at Key Arena. Unfortunately, we made it too late for Renee to get into the photo pit (it was full), so we had to watch up in the 100 level with the other regular people. Gucci Mane… he was aight.
Overall it was a really fun weekend despite the corporate nature of Bumbershoot and the fact that there are A LOT of annoyances that come with spending time around this many people. Renee and I got to bond and see some truly unforgettable acts! We hope to cover some other music festivals together in the future, since we make such a great team and share a passion for live music. Until then, catch us out in Portland doing our thang. Peace!