New Bands At Bumbershoot – Day 2

Bumbershoot by Caitlin Peterkin

Seattle – After the high energy from Bumbershoot’s opening day – largely thanks to the stellar lineup of acts – Sunday kicked off with full force as festivalgoers enthuiastically walked through the gates of Seattle Center. People had already staked out their patch of lawn at various stages, spreading blankets over the grass and ready to enjoy the full day of music ahead of them.

A handful of waiting Bumbershooters elevated spirits even further at the Starbucks Stage, as when The Beatles’ “Good Morning Good Morning” blasted over the speakers, they stood up, held hands, and danced in circles (above) – a time warp into the past.

The day’s music also had echoes of the past, with acts steeped in classic rock, New Wave, reggae origins, and punk. Best New Bands caught several new bands, all of whom put a modern twist on classic genres.


Eliot Sumner

Eliot-Sumner live at Bumbershoot - Uncredited  (From bumbershoots FB page)

The last time Best New Bands reviewed Eliot Sumner was for her 2014 Information EP, which Zoe Marquedant noted was filled with grittier, darker new wave and synth pop. “It’s a more thought out, mature version and a natural follow-up to Sumner’s last record,” she wrote. “If this is the growth we are to see in-between releases there can only be good things ahead.”

Flash forward to 2015, when the 25-year-old daughter of Sting opened Sunday at the Starbucks Stage with a stunning, deep, and cohesive set. Kicking things off with the catchy, captivating “Come Friday,” Sumner’s sound immediately snagged passersby, who filtered into the lawn and began bobbing their heads and dancing. The track itself showcased the singer’s fresh, husky voice, unique for any pop genre. The song’s brightness and upbeat tempo contrast with the sorrowful lyrics for an interesting juxtaposition: “And when you cry, it’s always me/ I destroyed our hopes and dreams.”

Sumner, on her weathered bass, led a great backing band who kept the momentum on every song and contributed vocals on choruses, helping create a full sound. On “Firewood,” the opening layered “Oh’s” gave way into fuzzy 80’s synth and shimmering guitar, while “After Dark” featured excellent rhythms. Sumner closed the set with “Information,” a truly New Wave-inspired track, with moody, anthemic synth and racing percussion.

With her solid live performance, a US tour this fall, and a full-length album expected to drop this year, Eliot Sumner should be on any music lover’s radar. (Photo from Bumbershoot’s facebook page. – Uncredited)


Israel Nash

Israel Nash live at Bumbrshoot Caitlin Peterkin

Israel Nash brought a taste of desert folk and Southern California 60’s rock to the #NeverTamed Stage early Sunday afternoon. Led by lead vocalist and guitarist Israel Nash Gripka, the Texas-based band also includes brothers Joey and Aaron McClellan (guitar and bass, respectively), Eric Swanson on pedal steel, and Josh Fleischmann on drums. With new album Silver Season due out October 9, the group performed several new songs during their set, including the cinematic “LA Lately,” the shimmering “Parlour Song,” and the drifting epic, “Strangers.” Nash’s Neil Young-esque vocals were versatile in both solos and five-part harmonies, while the melodies were fluid, at times warm and bright, others made more melancholic and pensive with Swanson’s expert maneuvering of the pedal steel. The group cut their storytelling short to devote their short set to the music, jamming together effortlessly and taking their audience on a beautiful sonic journey through the southwestern landscape. Closing with “Rain Plains,” the title track off their 2014 album, Israel Nash, just as they did in L.A. when BNB’s Matt Matasci saw them, “showed their innate ability to massage the most out of a groove without exhausting it, a skill that seems to have escaped too many roots-rock bands.”


Mikal Cronin

Mikal Kronin live at Bumbershoot by Caitlin Peterkin

It’s been a busy year for Mikal Cronin: since the May release of MCIII, the garage pop-rocker has been making the circuit performing at festivals and touring the country, before heading to Europe in November. He filled the #NeverTamed Stage Sunday afternoon with solid performances of mostly tracks off the new album, kicking off with album opener “Turn Around,” whose great rhythm and sweeping synth floated over the lawn. “Apathy,” off his 2011 self-titled album followed, before newer track, “Say,” a sunny track that jogs along thanks to quick, easy guitar and bright harmonies. Perhaps that most standout track was “Weight,” which showcases Cronin’s pop sensibilities and influences ranging from 60’s surf rock to garage punk.


Nikki Lane

Nikki-Lane live at Bumbershoot by Caitlin Peterkin

Nikki Lane has been busy touring the country, “killing” each night by performing tracks her well-reviewed, Dan Auerbach-produced album All or Nothin’. Later in the day, the country anti-sweetheart from Greenville brought her roots to the #NeverTamed Stage, delighting audience members with her blend of Southern charm and tough attitude. Taking the stage with her band, the singer introduced her first song: “This first one is about rednecks, because I’m from South Carolina and there’s an abundance of them.” Launching into her new, “Yippee ki-yay”-filled “700,000 Rednecks,” Lane delivered a sardonic account of being a traveling country singer. Then, supported by her stellar band, including Erika Wolf and Steph Jones on backing vocals, she performed several tracks off her album, including “Good Man,” “You Can’t Talk to Me Like That,” and the title track; each song was carried with effortless harmonies, bluesy – at times raunchy – electric guitar, and a strong rhythm and bass section.

As the group has been touring with Social Distortion, who was also scheduled to play that evening at Memorial Stadium, Lane invited lead singer Mike Ness onstage to join her in the duet, “Love’s On Fire” (on which Auerbach supports on the album), which was a gorgeous, full performance.

After some dirty electric guitar on the feisty Buddy and Julie Miller cover “Gasoline and Matches,” Lane offered how she uses songs to deal with her personal life. “Some people file for divorce, I filed in the form of a song,” she said. “He moved out right after he heard it.” “It” being the track “Man Up,” which brought the house down during the line “Honey, I done took this ring right off my hand” when she made obscene gestures with both hands.

After a rousing performance of “Right Time,” for which Lane and Wolf led the audience in hand claps, the band closed with a stunning rendition of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” Each vocalist soloed for a verse, and the band’s harmonies on the chorus were gorgeous, making for a wonderful close to the set – certainly one of the most favored of the day.

Stay tuned for a recap of the third and final day at Bumbershoot 2015.

All photos by Caitlin Peterkin, except as noted.

Caitlin Peterkin

Caitlin Peterkin

Caitlin Peterkin is a Seattle transplant fresh from the Midwest. She owes her passion for music to her parents, who filled the house with artists from The Beatles to The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel to Carly Simon, and Jackson Browne to Michael Jackson. One of her favorite memories includes being presented with her mom’s original vinyl copy of Sgt. Pepper when she got her first record player.

With degrees in journalism and music, Caitlin’s written for Paste Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and She loves cheese, laughing at GIFs of corgis, road trip sing-alongs, and connecting with people over good beer and good music.
Caitlin Peterkin

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