Bumber-shot: Victor Shade

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Victor Shade :: by Jason Tang

The night before his early afternoon Bumbershoot set, RA Scion, the costume-clad rapper pictured to the left who is also known as Victor Shade, told me his Bumbershoot performance was going to be all about redemption.

Redemption for what? His set at last year’s Bumbershoot as a part of Common Market, the  local hip-hop institution RA Scion is best known for. That set was an excellent merging of performance art, hip hop with live instrumentation and social commentary. It was something you either loved or you just didn’t get. I was in the latter category, but apparently there weren’t enough folks in the crowd last year like me who appreciated the ambition of that Common Market set, so RA wanted to redeem himself.
For those not in the know, Victor Shade is a project loosely based on a comic book hero called The Vision. I’ve written about the story behind Victor Shade previously for feel free to check out the backstory if you like. For Bumbershoot, RA Scion took the superhero concept to a literal level. Dressed in a green and gold costume, he fought breakdancing vandals while rapping and provided one of the most memorable Bumbershoot sets I’ve seen by a local artist in recent memory. He even performed some new material not on the self-titled Victor Shade debut released earlier this year. The performance was definitely one I won’t be forgetting soon.
But the highlight wasn’t seeing Seattle’s caped crusader of hip hop take the stage in full costume, or the pretty slick b-boy moves on display. The highlight came few songs into the set when RA Scion smiled and triumphantly posed a rhetorical question to the crowd: “Are you not entertained?”
The answer was clear based off the crowd’s response to RA’s Maximus-mimicking query, which is why it’s definitely safe to say that after Victor Shade’s Labor Day set RA Scion should consider himself fully redeemed.
Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 13 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, Crosscut.com and others and was the founder and former editor of the defunct music site Ear Candy.