Day 3 is typically the hardest day for festival-goers. We have already been beat up from the previous two days of the burning heat, smoke-inhalation – and you can take that however you want – and just the general amount of running around. On Day 2 of Bumbershoot I had the pleasure of being able to see 7 different acts, but Day 3 was going to be a bit more laid back for me.
I actually got to Seattle Center a little later than I anticipated due to traffic, but I was still in time to catch Léon, who would start at 5:25pm on the Mural Amphitheater stage. And because I was early for her show, I was able to catch the Nashville family band, The New Respects. The R&B, soul-infused pop-rock group, consisting of siblings Alexandria, Alexis, Darius Fitzgerald and their cousin Jasmine Mullen. Their energetic, soul fusion style was a great way to start.
They played tracks from their debut EP, Here Comes Trouble, and even threw in a brilliant cover of the Beatles‘ “Come Together”. All the while, the sun was blazing down on the quartet, they made a few comments on how hot it was and how Seattle was supposed to be rainy. The crowd chuckled a bit. The New Respects continued with their set of soulful rock tunes that was set off by Mullen’s soaring vocals and it was inspiring. And their songs, “Money” and “Trouble”, are trendsetting tracks. They are fun, relevant and beautifully written and performed.
After a brief reorganization of the stage and a lot of monitor adjusting, it was time for Swedish pop starlet, Léon. I had had the pleasure of catching her earlier in the year at Barboza in Capitol Hill and her set then on a smaller and more intimate stage was fantastic. I could not pass up another opportunity to see her perform. With her recent releases of two singles, “Surround Me” and “Body”, I was excited to see her perform her new tracks.
Léon made her way onto the stage, jumped right in with her first song and still can belt with the best of them. Her renditions of “Treasure” and the Arctic Monkey‘s “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” were absolutely stunning. And at one point, she also quipped at how hot it was and that she normally danced all over the stage, but
stayed near the center of the stage to be near the breeze from the portable fans. She ended up taking off her leather boots and finished there rest of her show bare foot because of the heat. It was pretty amusing and just added to her charm.
She still moved all over the stage and pointed at cameras and phones as she was performing. Her lovely, gravelly vocals on “Surround Me” never missed a beat as she bounded across to the cement platform. And the twenty-something singer-songwriter’s “Liar” was an absolute highlight. Her ability to reach into the lower register, then pop to hit the high notes during the chorus was heavenly.
After I made my way down to Memorial Stadium to catch one of my all-time favorite bands, X Ambassadors. My first experience with Sam Harris and crew was when they opened for Imagine Dragons at Key Arena a few years ago. Their unapologetic, honest alt-rock style was so engaging and brilliant that I text Brandon halfway through their first song and and told him to contact X Ambassadors‘s people. A few weeks later, we had an interview with the lead singer, Sam Harris. True story. Anyhow, sorry about the tangent.
Needless to say, I was pretty excited to see the Ithaca boys perform again and they did not disappoint. They opened with their powerhouse track, “Jungle” and followed that up with “Low Life”. It was a heck of a way to get the show started and people were engaged instantly. They played a couple of new singles, “Ahead Of Myself” and the unreleased “Joyful”, from their forthcoming sophomore album. And in the midst of rocking, Sam Harris took a minute to
confirm that the new record was completed. He also dedicated “Unsteady” to the victims of the hurricanes. He then finished with an eloquent speech about not letting anyone take away your individuality and that the band would stand by the minorities and LGTBQIA communities, then proceeded to tell everyone to stand up, speak up, celebrate our differences and to be a renegade. Which, of course, led into X Ambassadors‘s final song, “Renegade”. It was one of the most inspired sets of the 2017 Bumbershoot Festival.
I was not exactly sure how the rest of the day was going to play out. I knew that I was going to pass on Solange and Odezsa, so I opted to take a short break, grab some dinner at The Armory before heading out to the Monster Energy Fisher Green Stage to catch Spoon and Haim. I had a few extra minutes, so I grabbed a lemonade and made my way to the front of the stage for Spoon. If you don’t know who Spoon is then you are missing out. The alternative/experimental rockers from Austin, Texas know how to put on a show. Under the shadow the Space Needle, in the glow of the neon lights of Key Arena and the International Fountain as a backdrop, Spoon put on a client.
They played a mixture of tracks
from their latest album, Hot Thoughts, and wide range of songs from their extensive library. Like Weezer the day before, Spoon played songs back to back to back with little to no break. I think they greeted the crowd once and ended with a thank you. It was more than a hour of killer indie rock. And after their set ended, the crowd was completely satisfied with the song selection that included “Do You” and “Can I Sit Next To You”.
At this point I was completely exhausted, but had heard so many good things about Haim, that I was going to try to push through the next hour to at least see the start of the set. Unfortunately, lead singer, Danielle Haim, was stricken with a terrible cold and laryngitis. And without the lead singer, Haim was unable to perform their set and additionally cancelled their show in Vancouver the following day. So I took that as a sign that it was time for me to go home. As I was walking out of Bumbershoot, I did hear the cheers and thundering bass of Odesza‘s set, but I could not bring myself to brave those crowds. In any case, I had a heck of a fun time at Bumbershoot as always and I look forward to next year!