By Joseph Sutton-Holcomb / Special to The Seattle Times
The concept of throwing a show to advertise a much bigger show just makes for a silly time. It doesn’t matter how awesome the music is, there’s just no getting that promotional taste out of your mouth.
But Bumbershoot threw an announcement party Thursday night and even gave it a trendy, alliterative name: The Pink and Purple Pickwick Party. Hosted by Jeopardy! powerhouse Ken Jennings, and co-hosted by Ken Jennings’ extra-wide mottled grey and mauve tie.
But all Bumberhype aside, Pickwick did make it a party. That’s just what those guys do. Their bluesy party soul oscillated between contemplative and explosive. One moment it felt like gospel, the next, like Zeppelin.
Before that, local singer-songwriter Naomi Wachira warmed everyone’s cockles with a batch of shockingly sincere ballads. The Kenyan-born troubadour’s songwriting, bare-bones and candid, tackled the big-picture stuff: love, womanhood, the importance of appreciating your fellow humans. In the middle of her set, she bravely did an a capella song for the chatty crowd, showcasing her rich vocals.
Before a video announcing the lineup, Jennings hosted a whimsical, Bumbershoot-themed “Jeopardy” parody with the grand prize of a platinum festival pass.
Then came what the rest of the world was waiting for. The festival lineup.
I’m excited for the diverse contemporary hip-hop: Danny Brown, Big Freedia, Schoolboy Q and J. Cole along with locals Ra Scion grayskul.
But Bumbershoot, ever hospitable to families, always digs up some fantastic classics. These shows, some of which will happen at the newly-reclaimed Memorial Stadium, are frequently sublime. This year’s offering includes Bobby Womack, Elvis Costello (with The Imposters), The Replacements, The Afghan Whigs, interplanetary funk bassist Bootsy Collins and Mission of Burma.
Bumbershoot: The lineup for 2014