The Bumberdiary Day 2

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The Candy’s Brent Stecker returns with more words about his Bumbershoot experience. Here’s what he had to say about everything he experienced during the second day of Bumbershoot 2010.

Crash Kings End Session :: by Brent Stecker

Crash Kings: The day got off to a slow noontime start during Crash Kings’ EndSession set, where they played a few of their head-bobbing pop tunes. I’m not entirely convinced this band is going to stick around as a viable draw, even though “Mountain Man” is a delightful blast of catchy keys, bouncy bass, and head-sticking vocals. It’s just that they’re too much like Cold War Kids, and I’m not even sure if CWK has the legs to sustain their success in today’s musical climate. I hope I’m wrong, because Crash Kings has some serious chops — guitar or no guitar (check it here).

Hole: Holy. Shit. Courtney Love is a friggin’ maniac, and she cannot be stopped. I attended only the EndSession, and was pretty much the train-wreck everybody was expecting but didn’t receive during the main stage set. I knew this was going to be some seriously awesome stuff when the line for press to get in was four times as long as the contest-winner line, and when it didn’t get going until 45 minutes after scheduled. Courtney and some pretentious British guitarist who was CLEARLY drugged out of his mind played four songs, including a fantastically awful cover of Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” but this was not about music in any way, shape, or form.

Love rambled for most of the hour, completely ignoring questions, playfully bantering with Heavier Than Heaven author Charles Cross, name dropping more celebrities and pseudo-famous manager types than you even knew existed, giving out utterly useless facts about her childhood, and spewing information about Kurt Cobain, daughter Frances Bean Cobain, and their legal matters as if it that is totally something she should be doing (I’m guessing her legal counsel freaked the fuck out when they found out about all that she had said). It was surreal, and after bearing witness to the spectacle, I know one thing for sure: Courtney Love MUST go on a speaking tour. She’s the next Henry Rollins.

School of Rock All-Stars: Well, I’m not going to say a bunch of mean things about little kids, now am I? Actually, I might. There were a few classic songs that were nearly butchered, whether it was from nerves or lack of practice, but all in all this set at EMP was a blast. Personally I got a kick out of the hockey-style line changes in between songs. Of the 20-30 minutes I saw, I heard Zep’s “Immigrant Song,” The Cars’ “Just What I Needed,” The Strokes’ “Someday,” and a killer take of a Jimi Hendrix cover of a B.B. King song. However, the best performance was easily “Let It Be,” which saw a diminutive guitarist nail the solo note-for-note, and was beautifully sung by a brave young man wearing some ridiculous vertical-striped pants. I don’t understand these friggin’ kids nowadays.

Horse Feathers: This was by far the sleepiest thing I saw over the three days. Horse Feathers is a slow folk/bluegrass band from Portland (shocker, I know), and they were heavily reliant on banjo, cello, and fiddle. You would think that combination would make for some interesting music, but it didn’t translate for me. Also, this is like the 70th band to put “Horse” in their name since Band of Horses broke big, so originality apparently isn’t their strong suit.

Comedy, comedy, and more comedy: I spent the majority of my day at the comedy stages, and it was a glorious decision. Stay tuned for an in-depth look at the comedy scene at Bumbershoot, but in the mean time I’ll give a grade for each comedian I saw: Doug Benson (B+), Kumail Nanjiani (A-), John Mulaney (A+++), Nick Kroll (C-), Joe Mande (B-), Chelsea Peretti (B-), Donald Glover (B+), Chris Hardwick (A), Nick Thune (B), Eddie Pepitone (B), and Patton Oswalt (A+).

Fences: I dropped by for a song or two before heading off for the last comedy set of the day, and I was legitimately impressed with the songs. I know this group — which is one of those Bon Iver-type bands in that Christopher Mansfield is the band but is joined on stage by some dudes — has been getting some serious hype thrown its way, and it’s for good reason. The songs are solid, and have real interesting grooves and instrumentation. Well, live, at least. What I’m hearing on their MySpace page right now is totally not like what I remembered, and quite frankly sucks.

Weezer: Say what you want about the direction Weezer’s career has taken over the last few albums, but this was hands-down the best set of the entire weekend. Rivers Cuomo was all about having the fun this time around, climbing all over the stage, jumping on trampolines, throwing balloons and beach balls into the crowd, roaming all over the stadium, and even playing the harmonica solo of “My Name is Jonas” from ON TOP OF A PORT-A-JOHN. The set was classic because every one of the 17 songs performed was either a single, cover, or off the Blue Album, which we all know is their best album and one of the 10 best albums of all-time (shut up, Pinkerton lovers). And shit, they even teased “Hot For Teacher,” played a pair of total arena-rocking intros like Def Leppard or something, and proved just how fun-loving they are by covering MGMT’s “Kids,” Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” and the Black Eyed Peas “My Humps” (I think) all in one fell swoop with an insane mega-medley. Like I said, say what you want, but the dudes brought it.
Brent Stecker

About Brent Stecker

Brent is a journalist and small-time musician based in Wenatchee, Wash. His passion for music wasn’t discovered until his teenage years, however, when he first got his hands on a Rage Against the Machine CD. He spent the rest of his adolescence broadening his musical tastes, obsessively learning guitar, and harnessing his writing abilities in journalism classes.