The Dusty 45s"Best-kept secret" is a term tossed around far too liberally, but it's safe to say that Billy Joe and the Dusty 45s are one of those secrets in Seattle. Straight out of the city's juke joints, the Dusty 45s offer a raucous modern take on some old familiar sounds. The band makes no excuses for their love of '50s sock-hop rock, reverb-soaked surf-twang, and the occasional vamping venture into lounge-y territory. While '50s rockabilly and surf may have a little bit of a stale, mothball smell to them, the Dusty 45s have the rare ability to rejuvenate some classics alongside some soon-to-be classics of their own. Starbucks Stage, 1:30 p.m. GREG FRANKLINPicture & Sound: Music VideosIn a festival packed full of music, why would you want to sit indoors and watch music videos? Because a) most of these bands aren't playing Bumbershoot this year, and b) there's some cool short-form filmmaking being done here. For instance, Fleet Foxes' "White Winter Hymnal" is set to a whimsical claymation short directed by none other than Sean Pecknold, brother of Foxes singer Robin. Seasons change, plants sprout and die, and the stars wheel overhead under the power of a giant hand crank.Local director Matt Daniels turns Damien Jurado's "Caskets" into a haunting prairie tragedy, like a cross between Terrence Malick and an old daguerreotype come to life. Also featured are efforts for Modest Mouse and Radiohead, and you know Radiohead isn't playing Bumbershoot this year. Or ever. SIFF Cinema (McCaw Hall), 2-3 p.m. BRIAN MILLERYeah Yeah YeahsYou may be doubting whether a three-piece art-rock band whose collective weight equals one Midwestern dad has the, shall we say, kazoongas to hold a big festival mainstage. After seeing them at Lollapalooza recently, my answer is, well, yeah. Times three. How many of the bands Brooklyn puked across America in 2003 can you even remember the names of right now? Yeah Yeah Yeahs' music, which in itself carries enough charge to light up a stadium, is only enhanced by natural-born rock star Karen O. With a voice like Chrissie's, Debbie's swagger, and Polly Jean's raw fury, she's got all the makings of a legendary diva—and her flair for costumes proves there's a whole lotta Cher in there, too. Samsung Mobile Mainstage, 2:30 p.m. MA'CHELL DUMA LAVASSARParenthetical GirlsListening to Portland's experimental pop outfit Parenthetical Girls is sort of like understanding the theory of quantum physics presented in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. If you think about it too much—like in that scene when Bill and Ted find a set of keys they planted outside a police station using a time machine days before they discovered time travel or knew they would need the keys—it stops making sense and gives you a headache. But if you just relax and give yourself over to the music, you realize you're hearing something imaginative, innovative, and potentially groundbreaking. The haunting strings throughout "Windmills of Your Mind" echo the up-and-down pitch of Zac Pennington and Rachael Jensen's vocals, creating a complete pop symphony with no guitars or drums. The same goes for "The Weight She Fell Under," in which the dominant instrument is a xylophone. In the words of Bill and Ted, this is truly excellent music. EMP Sky Church, 3:30 p.m. PAIGE RICHMOND"Mystery Guest" & Eugene MirmanWhat kind of insult is it to one of our favorite comics that he gets second billing to "Mystery Guest"? Seriously, WTF? But the key thing is this: Mirman is performing all three days at Bumbershoot. He knows the lay of the land, how the festival works. He's been here before. He's recorded for Sub Pop. He killed at the SP20 Comedy Night last fall. "Mystery Guest" could be a ruse, or it could be a buddy he grabs from another stage. And today he could enlist Charlene Yi, Patton Oswalt, David Cross, or even Doug Benson. Or just some random dude out of the audience, even you. Or he might impart a few life lessons from his tongue-in-cheek self-help book The Will to Whatevs: A Guide to Modern Life. So while we may not believe in "Mystery Guest," we're quite sure Mirman will be funny. Comedy Stage North, 3:45–4:45 p.m. BRIAN MILLERSera CahooneThough she's earned her indie cred drumming in bands like Carissa's Wierd and Band of Horses—and tried her hand at fronting her own, Prim Rosa—there's no denying that Sera Cahoone's dusky voice ultimately lends itself best to folk music. Her latest record and first official Sub Pop release, Only As the Day Is Long, is a somber album of languid, heartrending, guitar-driven songs laced with plaintive harmonica. And it makes a powerful case for all the drummers who quietly yearn to move to the front of the stage to go ahead and do so. If she follows the path of former drummers Neko Case and Mark Pickerel, Cahoone should soon find herself better known for her own tunes than for the bands she was in before. Starbucks Stage, 5 p.m. SARA BRICKNERCommon MarketRA Scion is the James Agee to Sabzi's Walker Evans. Together, the Seattle-based MC and his producer create elegiac tone poems to the sepia-toned working poor that are music's, and this generation's, equivalent of Agee and Evans' Depression-era exploration Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Although the duo's 2008 effort, Tobacco Road, probably won't rise to canonical status (life isn't fair, and nobody knows it better than Scion and Sabzi), there are songs on it as heartfelt and inventive and just plain listenable as anything in contemporary mainstream hip-hop. "Weather Vane" finds them at their best, with Scion performing linguistic jujitsu as Sabzi backs him up with a cold, keyboard-laden production. Their newer material finds the socially conscious pair exploring the sounds of the Crescent City—perfect fodder for these local treasures. Fisher Green Stage, 5:45 p.m. KEVIN CAPPVivian GirlsThe blonde bombshell, the fun-loving redhead, the frumpy brunette...to say the Vivian Girls can come off as contrived would be an understatement. They could easily pass as a physical manifestation of the Archies (well, if they kicked out the dudes and hired Cheryl Blossom). Yet the Brooklyn garage-rock trio has become a subject of fascination in the indie-music circuit—and fetishized as well. Still, critics loved their eponymous debut album. It was far from polished; the band makes music that sounds like demo tapes the Shangri-Las or the Wipers might have recorded before making it big in the '60s. It's catchy. But it's also scrappy as hell. Broad Street Stage, 6 p.m. ERIKA HOBARTRoy AyersWhile various artists today try to mimic or recreate the sound of '70s soul, very few if any seem to remember the importance of the vibraphone. During the '70s and early '80s, Roy Ayers dominated the acid jazz/soul jazz realm while using the instrument on classic songs like "We Live in Brooklyn, Baby" and "Everybody Loves the Sunshine." Ayers' funky yet jazz-rooted approach as a vibraphonist was so emblematic of the period that he even scored the 1973 blaxploitation film Coffy. These days he's still making music and collaborating with contemporary artists, but today expect a set of sweet jams hip enough to make fans of mellow grooves and more-upbeat funk enthusiasts happy at the same time. Fisher Green Stage, 7:30 p.m. JONATHAN CUNNINGHAMMSTRKRFTIt took about three years, but Canadian electro-house duo MSTRKRFT finally released the follow-up to their acclaimed debut, The Looks. On Fist of God, Jesse F. Keeler and Al-P deliver hard, grimy beats punctuated by good ol' American rock (and fresh cameos by MCs such as Ghostface Killah and E-40). At times, the hockey-mask wearing jocks/producers take too much glee in journeying to the dark heart of the matter, as evidenced by the torturous breakdown of "Vuvuvu." But on other tracks, such as album closer "1,000 Cigarettes," the Metallica-like guitar riffs and the propulsive street chants of guest MC Freeway combine to make a delicious hardcore romp. Rockstar Stage, 8:30 p.m. KEVIN CAPPDJ SpookyDJ Spooky, "That Subliminal Kid," takes Norman Mailer's advice to approach women like cats, from the side, and applies it to music. Spooky is some kind of mad scientist, throwing chemicals together in the beakers and waiting for a reaction. Drums of Death, his collaboration with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, is all bang and bluster and haunted-house yowlings, while Optometry saw the D.C. native tapping progressive jazz artists such as William Parker. Sense a pattern? Didn't think so. There isn't one with Spook, save for this: The guy thinks harder about the possibilities of turntablism, of the DJ as post-millennial auteur, than anybody else. His music can be too theoretical, true, but when you're trying something new all the fucking time, you're bound to fall down on occasion. The important thing is to pick yourself back up—and DJ Spooky always does. EMP Sky Church, 9:30 p.m. KEVIN CAPP
Special Section: SW's Guide to Bumbershoot 2009 + live festival coverage.