Festival Review: Bumbershoot 2016

Alex Dixon

Tue October 11, 2016 7:01 am

Day 1 

The festival experience is at an all time high throughout the Seattle area. With lineups bursting with diversity, unique performers, amazing production set ups, great people, and memories that have been established from years of festival antics, there is no better time than now.  

As COSMOS opened up the Bumbershoot, fans from all corners of Seattle flooded to the Mural Stage, catching a glimpse of Seattle’s new school sound being formed before their very own eyes. After taking first place at the EMP Soundoff! Battle of The Bands, COSMOS brought the crowd together with their second festival performance following Sasquatch Music Festival.  A fresh breath of air coursed through the crowd alongside a fusion of Jazz, Soul, and Instrumental electronic melodies led by the rapper and band’s frontman, Campana. A burst of energy and musicianship followed COSMOS’ performance, coming from the Naked Giants of course. The Seattle based Indie Punk Rock band took the beginning of Bumbershoot to new heights with a hype set that got the crowd dancing, leaving the mosh pit on stage amongst the band rather than in the pit. 

While our team travelled towards the Key Arena we got into the venue just in time to catch Bryson Tiller, the TRAPSOUL branded R&B upcomer. Having listened to Bryson Tiller’s special brand of R&B sounds a few times before, I didn’t know what to expect from his live performance; but as he graced the stage wearing a pair of Yeezy Season boots with fog filling the arena, his humbleness and smooth vocals brought the entire crowd together. After telling the good people of Seattle his story, outlining how he went from a pizza shop worker to R&B sensation through the power of the internet, he inspired the masses to follow their dreams and stick with them no matter what situation they might presently be in. 

Zeds Dead finished up the night, fueled by hard hitting trap and house bangers accompanied by a hype frenzy of bass loving fans filling in the Key Arena. As Zeds Dead began to rip their set to pieces the crowd only solidified the fact that the duo is still on top of their game. Being in the pit was a blur of electronic bliss and each audience member instilled a sense of love for the rave culture and friendship to one another that comes with the music. 

Day 2 

Pretty Lights headlined the second day as a defining factor and innovator of what it means to truly create some unimaginable instrumental Electronic music. Armed with a full band at his disposal, Pretty Lights led a synth, pianist, scratch DJ, drummer, and bass / guitarist with his analog mixer set-up. I’ve witnessed Pretty Lights preform with an orchestra in the past but this time around, the full band was just as intricate, simply amplified by the fact that each band member gave 110% towards the set. The drummer blared through complex cadences and beats that flowed into Pretty Lights weaving each and every sound into an original composition. The rhythm was all its own, creating a moment that probably won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

There aren’t many musicians that can physically complement Pretty Lights, especially with his massive set design that was bestowed upon Bumbershoot this year. ZHU is the kind of guy that likes to perform in the wraps in order to leave transparency between his appearance and the art that he’s creating. Backed by an electric guitarist and a saxophone player on either side, ZHU tore the Key Arena to pieces, blasting through genre barriers and replacing musical norms with brilliant electronic overtones. 

Changing up the vibes, Run The Jewels exuded the old school hip-hop sound that harbored the new school scene, one that we know of and enjoy today. As the duo made their way to the stage, the feeling of nostalgia was pounding throughout the crowd. The socially conscious and upbeat sound that Run The Jewels spread had the crowd more than enthused with the show. Once they grabbed everyone's attention, they took it down a notch and made sure to get the message across about our country's current state and how important it is to vote in this year's election. 

In order to set the tone in the Memorial Stadium, Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals rose to the occasion with a fair amount of instrumentals to soothe the souls of many in attendance. As a live band, Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals are at their utmost prime and that's not in the sense of them falling short anytime soon. From genre blending to hype stage antics, these guys really know how to grab the attention of the fans until they’re eating out of the palms of their hands. After playing some of the band’s personal favorites off the album, "Venice", and then switching over to the critically acclaimed hit album produced and created by Anderson .Paak and his crew of instrumentalists, "Malibu". I couldn’t imagine a better situation to enjoy their music in than that very moment of glory housed in the Memorial Stadium. 

Day 3

What it means to be a live electronic act has been completely redefined within the past few years thanks to artists like Porter Robinson. It’s not enough to simply be a selector or curator of music as a DJ or even live mix your music during a performance. Porter Robinson along with a slew of other creatives have taken the liberty of creating an experience. Porter Robinson is at the forefront of this movement taking it as far as singing the hooks to his own songs live, using MPC pads to recreate beats and sounds in order to tweak his creations to the point where fans are falling in love with the entrancing tunes, just as they should. 

Australia has been on a more than steady rise through their powerful and youth filled hold on the new school music scene. Artists such as Tame Impala are paving the way with indie reminiscent psychedelic rock tunes that are enjoyed by music lovers all around the world. As the full band made their way to the mainstage, they kicked off their shoes and began to grab the crowd's attention through stretched out yet impactful lyrics and uncanny musicianship. 

In total Bumbershoot grabbed me as a third year attendee and changed the game for the better, but delivered a more concrete feeling of structure that was saved by the musicians booked. If you haven't checked out the experience unfold for yourself than next year is your time to relive the magic!


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