Bumbershoot full of delightful surprises — and a drenching — on second day
Bumbershoot drew bigger crowds on Sunday, despite intermittent rain. Yeah Yeah Yeahs were the big daytime attraction, but the Honey Brothers were more fun. A recap of the day by Seattle Times arts writer Michael Upchurch.
Seattle Times arts writer
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Here comes the sun — or was that a thunderhead?
At Bumbershoot yesterday it was impossible to tell, from moment to moment, if you were about to get drenched or sun-kissed.
A late-morning deluge kept the festival grounds as empty as I've ever seen them. But by 4 p.m. crowds were packing the place.
Indoors entertainment seemed smart at the start, especially after I accidentally waded through an ankle-deep puddle. So I dropped in on Christian Lander, author/perpetrator of the blog/book "Stuff White People Like" — and was immediately in satire heaven.
Lander chronicled his amazing progress from novice blogger in January 2008 to having his blog-based book appear on The New York Times best-seller list six months later. And all for revealing the secrets of white people's eating habits, clothing tastes, leisure activities and consumer activities. Give this guy a stand-up career — he ad libs even better than he writes.
Next up: the taiko/tap-dance fusion of COBU, a troupe of six female dancer-percussionists helmed by "Stomp" founder-performer Yako Miyamoto. Swirling kimonos, swishy harem pants, frenzied koto-playing and Vegas-worthy hair-flinging pushed this thwackfest to the edge of kitsch — but the performers' upbeat energy made it a crowd pleaser.
Venturing outside to the Mainstage, I lasted all of 10 minutes at the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, where the sound was breastbone-vibrating loud and as muddy as the Mississippi. Lead singer Karen O had a beguiling harlequin thing going on with her outfit as she capered around onstage. But that couldn't compensate for the din.
"I've heard enough," one concertgoer said after the band's third or fourth number. Most of the huge crowd there looked as though they were in it for the long haul, however.
Far more fun, at the Mural Amphitheatre, were the Honey Brothers, who bill themselves as "Hawaiian-Appalachian Glam Rock."
That's stretching it: They're more like power-pop accessorized with banjo, mandolin and smooth-rough harmonies reminiscent of Squeeze in its 1980s heyday. Their signature tune, "Panic Attack," was a combo of snakey funk and ukulele hoedown.
"Hoyt Honey" (all of these guys are named "Honey" — and they aren't really brothers) is the comedian of the band, playing the keyboards with his elbow, face and even his entire body
Celebrity factor: Drummer-singer-guitarist "Honey DuContra" is actually Adrian Grenier, who stars as movie-star Vince Chase on HBO's "Entourage." Here, he was just one of the guys — but still awfully nice to look at.
Michael Upchurch: email@example.com
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