Bumbershoot Preview: 90s nostalgia

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It’s no secret that nostalgia for the 1990s is in full effect this year (exhibits A & B:  the Nevermind reissue, Pearl Jam’s destination festival and 20 film) and the lineup for this year’s Bumbershoot reflects that trend with quite a few bands who made their mark in  the 90s performing at Seattle Center this weekend.

Of course locals the Presidents of the United States of America will be the biggest name from the 90s to grace a Bumbershoot stage this year, but there are quite a few other alterna-rock bands that were once favorites of Generation X sharing the bill with PotUSA. Here’s a look at five 90s bands playing Bumbershoot 2011.

Reverend Horton Heat (Sept. 5, 9:15 – 10:45, Fisher Green Stage)

The Reverend’s 1994 record Liquor In the Front, Poker in the Rear is a modern psychobilly classic. That is of course if something from the 90s can be considered a modern classic. The record, which was jointly released by Sub Pop and Interscope Records, put the Reverend Horton Heat on the map thanks to the help of the single “One Time for Me.” Expect plenty of rock ‘n’ roll revelry during their 90-minute Bumbershoot-closing set.

Atari Teenage Riot (Sept. 4, 4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., Exhibition Hall)

The last time I saw Atari Teenage Riot perform was 14 years ago at a former Bumbershoot venue and they put on a set I’ll never forget. ATR was opening for Rage Against the Machine (who also put on a set I’ll never forget) at Mercer Arena and their energy was so intense and the music was so unlike anything I had experienced at the time that I was instantly sold.

The digital hardcore German group had a relatively short eight-year career that included the disputed suicide of Carl Crack who suffered from psychotic episodes. One reunion effort was canceled due to vocal issues with former member Hanin Elias and is back with MC KiDTRONiX. Expect a loud blend of electronic, hardcore and metal from their set at the Exhibition Hall.

Butthole Surfers (Sept. 4, 7:30-6:30, Fisher Green stage)

The Butthole Surfers are probably best known for their 1996 record Electric Larryland which spawned the hit “Pepper,” but they have roots that go back to 1980-something and anyone who has seen Gibby Haynes’ group will tell you they put on one helluva show. The group is known for drugged-up, somewhat psychedelic music but it’s their minor 1993 hit “Who Was In My Room Last Night?” that got my attention as a .

Urge Overkill (Sept. 5, 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., Fisher Green stage)

If you’ve seen Pulp Fiction then you have heard an Urge Overkill song. The band’s cover of Neil Diamond’s “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” is prominently featured in the film (see the video above to refresh your memory). But this Chicago band is more than a one-hit wonder.

Urge Overkill achieved moderate success in the 90s before dissolving and now the group is  paving the reunion trail with first new record in 16 years called Rock & Roll Submarine. And while I haven’t heard the entire record, if its first single”Effigy” is any indication of its quality you won’t be disappointed if their Bumbershoot set has a healthy amount of new material.

Grant Lee Buffalo (Sept. 5, 9:30 p.m. – 10:45 p.m., Starbucks stage)

Grant Lee Buffalo is another band doing the whole reunion/comeback tour thing (see a trend here?). They were  originally scheduled to play one of two reunion shows on their tour itinerary last year at the Tractor but that show got postponed because singer Grant Lee Phillips tore his Achilles tendon. Now Phillips’ Achilles is healed and the band is bringing its reunion to a bigger stage at Bumbershoot.

Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 14 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 editor of defunct music site Ear Candy.