The Heart of Bumbershoot 2013 / by Dean Belder

 !!! showing off

When !!! had finished their performance on the first day of Bumbershoot I simply stood, mostly in awe, but also partly out of surprise.  I thought I had seen what would be the stand out performance of the festival.  I even proclaimed it as such.

Nic Offer decked out in nothing more than a t-shirt, rolling stones boxers and fancy shoes, attacked the stage and the microphone, cutting to the very core of what the audience wanted.  A party, and that is exactly what they got.

With the exuberance only offered by youth, or high levels of methamphetamines Offer teased and taunted the photographers in the pit, offering to show off his boxer and what lied beneath.  He interacted with the crowd, jumping down several times, getting right to the back of the thousand or so people who had gathered. 

From young and old, fat and skinny there was nary an ass that wasn’t shaking.  A testament to a man, and a band who have dedicated themselves to bringing the party, wherever it may be.

Convinced, this was as good as it was going to get, not because the list of bands to come weren’t good, because they were, but because !!! delivered a set so good it couldn’t be beat.

Well I was wrong.

Only a short time later, and a short walk away, The Screaming Eagle of soul was taking the stage.  Now I’ve had the opportunity to see Charles Bradley at Bumbershoot two years ago.  His performance then one of the best I had seen that year, so I knew in the showmanship game he’s no lightweight, and can certainly hold his own. 

When the funk came down, and Mr. Bradley let out one of his now trademark wails, I knew the book would have to be re-opened.  With soulful tune after soulful tune being belted out by one of the finest performers in music today my theory about !!! was on shaky ground, but not completely blown away.

There is one thing better than Charles Bradley.  Charles Bradley backed by a surprise appearance of Seattle’s Total Experience Gospel Choir, who had their own set earlier in the day, but I unfortunately had missed.  They sang to America, and to sum it up in a single word, it was spectacular.

Once again I walked away thinking I had seen the best the festival let alone the day had to offer.  Once again I was wrong.

After an exhausting day, and shooting Maceo Parker, and getting my dance on to some EDM at EMP I was making my way, back to the press room, past Crystal Castles, and past the Fountain Lawn Stage, where they had the video feed from the main stage.  The cheers clearly audible throughout the park as Heart had begun to cover some of their favorite Zeppelin tunes.  Flawlessly.  I figured I would stop and check it out.  Sweaty, sore and ready to go home.  For 40 minutes I watched Heart. 

I watched as once again the Total Experience Gospel Choir came on stage.  I watched as Jason Bonham, son of Zeppelin’s John Bonham also joined Heart on Stage.  Stunned.  I only had one thought… Fuck Crystal Castles.  HEART just fucking blew this show out of the water.  Delivering not only what I now truly believe will be the best thing this festival sees all weekend, but one of the best live performances I have ever seen. 

Up next on Sunday: Tegan and Sarah, The Breeders, The Zombies, Bob Mould, and Matt Pond