Allrighty then — day two of my wanderings at Bumbershoot 2003.
As usual, I started the day with a little aimless wandering around, peoplewatching, and watching kids play at the International Fountain. These three boys were having a blast, constantly running in, shrieking at how cold the water was and running back out to shiver for a moment, only to to tearing back in a couple minutes later, huge grins on their faces.
The day was another gorgeous scorcher, too — at least 80-some degrees, but at times it sure felt warmer than that. If I didn’t have pockets full of stuff (including my camera) I might have done some soaking in the fountain myself!
The only one of Le Petit Cirque’s performances I caught was this acrobat. Again, the stage was revolving around as he did his tricks, first on top of two small hand-size platforms, then later on just one, as in this picture. I can’t imagine being able to hold myself in the positions that these people do during their shows, just incredible.
My first musical show of the day, and my first venture into the main stadium area, was for Macy Gray. While I’m not a huge fan of hers, I do like a fair chunk of the songs on her first album, so I figured I’d see how she did with a live show. I was actually really impressed, too. While there were times when I was a little curious if she was a bit tipsy as she moved around the stage, that may have just been part of her stage presence, and she certainly put on a good show. Especially amusing was her trying to get the crowd to strip down as much as they would during “Sex O Matic Venus Freak” — even in mid-80 degree sunshine, the predominantly mid-20’s to mid-40’s white suburban crowd was a whole lot more likely to cheer than to start shedding clothes, especially at around one in the afternoon. Still, it was fun, and the closing jam on “I Try” was really strong.
After I made my way out of the stadium, I heard some really good sounds coming over from the Bumbrella stage, and made my way over there. Turns out it was Kinky, who I’d marked down as a possibility, and man did they put on a show. An incredible blend of mexican rhythms and drumming with rock-style guitars and a strong and very well incorporated electronic/synth element mixed in — the entire crowd was moving for their entire set, and later on when I tried to pick up their album, they were completely sold out. I was also impressed with how young they were — they all looked like they were in their late teens/early twenties, and they put on a show to rival (and beat) some of the older, more experienced artists I’d seen. Very, very cool, and I’ll definitely be picking their album up at some point.
After dancing around in the sun for both Macy Gray and Kinky I needed to cool off a bit, so I headed up to the wading pool to kick back for a few minutes. As with yesterday, quite a few families and kids had discovered the pool, and I was able to get some fun shots of kids splashing around in the water. Having that cool pond to soak your feet in midway through a hot day feels so nice too.
After cooling off for a bit I had three different acts marked down at the same time, so more or less at random I chose Carbon Leaf, and worked my way to the Backyard Stage where they were performing, and got another treat. Really solid celtic folk rock, and another show where the audience was obviously packed with fans. At one point the singer mentioned that they had CDs for sale, saw that someone in the audience already had one, and asked to use it for a visual aid, at which point it got handed over — complete with pen for an autograph. After signing it on stage, he complimented whoever handed it to him on a smooth little trick. Carbon Leaf also made it onto my “worth buying” list for the end of the weekend music binge.
Planet Beat Sound System was an interesting group, and a nice way to kick back and rest for a bit. While they weren’t really much of a show — primarily just a DJ and vocalist, with some extra drums added for some of the songs by an Indian drummer — the music was excellent. It was a style of Indian dance music called Bhangra that’s been gaining popularity over the past few years, something of a mix of today’s electronica dance beats with traditional Indian music and vocalizing. Neat stuff, a lot of fun to listen to, and they had a good couple groups of dancers bouncing around on either side of the stage.
Sitting back at the International Fountain, I got to watch a couple little boys indulge in a time-honored tradition for children everywhere — pigeon chasing! At times I almost feel sorry for the birds, but at the same time, I’ve yet to see them get caught, and they’ve got to be used to this kind of thing by now. And besides, it’s fun for the kids.
Next up on the schedule was the Dusty 45s — another incredible show (I had good luck with chosing bands today). Blisteringly cool rockabilly, and some of the best live rockabilly I’ve ever seen, too. Lots of original material, with a couple covers tossed in towards the end of the set, including “Saved!” (which I know from the ‘Commitments’ soundtrack) and “Misirlou” (most recently resurrected thanks to ‘Pulp Fiction’). For the last number, the lead singer/guitar player/trumpet player lit his trumpet as he played — that really is a flaming trumpet you see in the picture. Lots of swing dancing going on in the front rows, too. Another definite addition to my “worth buying” list!
There are DJ’s going all evening long in the Sky Church inside the EMP, so I swung through at one point to look around. The music was really good, but I just can’t justify spending a lot of time inside a building on a gorgeous weekend like this, so it was mostly just a spectator run. Still, whoever was spinning last night had some good stuff going, and the floor was pretty well packed with dancers. On the way in, I played a bit with the reflective outside of the EMP, and got this shot of the Space Needle reflected in the wall of the building as the sun was setting.
As night fell, I worked my way into the main stadium for the tribute to rhythm and blues with Bonnie Raitt, Shemika Copeland, Maxi Priest, and more. Unfortunately, the security was being pickier about not allowing photography, and even if I could have taken pictures, the floor was so crowded that I couldn’t get anywhere near the stage. Having already watched a fair amount of good blues over the weekend, and expecting to see more, I figured that I could live without having to deal with the crowds for this particular show. I ended up wandering around the grounds for a bit longer, than deciding that I was in a mood to finish of my day of Bhangra, mexican electro-pop, rockabilly, and celtic rock with some industrial and gothic music, and found my way home to head up to the Vogue.
And so ends day two of Bumbershoot.