Bumbershoot '14: The Must-See Acts We're Crushing On

Shaprece is one of our staff picks for Bumbershoot 2014. Photo by Cecilia Corsano-Leopizzi

After 16 years away, Afghan Whigs returned to the studio for Do to the Beast, which expanded their sound without disconnecting from Greg Dulli’s raging id. Fisher Green Stage, Sat., 10 p.m. —Dave Lake

Apart from the occasional collaboration, Julianna Barwick is a one-woman show. Yet even solo, the haunting chorus she creates will captivate and transport you. Pavilion Stage, Mon., 5:30 p.m. —Cecilia Corsano-Leopizzi

Members of R.E.M. and the Posies will back a series of guest vocalists to perform Big Star’s third album Sister Lovers, a lushly orchestrated power-pop touchstone and one of Rolling Stones’ 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Starbucks Stage, Sun., 8 p.m. —DL

When prose goddess Aimee Mann joins Ted Leo of the Pharmacists, Mann and man become The Both, a fusion of songwriting prowess and glorious vocal synergy. Fisher Green stage, Sat., 8 p.m. —Jessie McKenna

Big Freedia is joy in human form. Her New Orleans “bounce” music makes you shake your “Azz Everywhere” until you attain divine unity with God, much like the whirling dervishes of Turkey. Fisher Green Stage, Sat., 2:45 p.m.Kelton Sears

Columbian electronic group Bomba Estéreo will have you throwing down long-forgotten Zumba moves before your brain has time to process the rhythm of a song like “Pure Love.” Fisher Green Stage, Mon., 6:15 p.m.Zsanelle Edelman

Combining a rough upbringing with hipster style and crazy flow, Danny Brown has wowed hip-hop and non-hip-hop fans alike. His 2013 album, Old, received rave reviews from critics and fans. Fisher Green Stage, Sat., 4:30 p.m. —Terrance Hill

Despite lineup changes and a hiatus from performances, Campfire OK has remained one of Seattle’s most enduring and popular bands, with catchy lyrics and upbeat melodies you just can’t seem to get out of your head. Fountain Lawn Stage, Mon., 2 p.m. —Morgen Schuler

Cataldo, aka Eric Anderson, has stepped up his game with a bigger sound and happier tone on his sophomore release Gilded Oldies. His current tour, complete with brass and woodwinds, makes for a show worth stopping by. End Zone Stage, Sat., 4:15 p.m.MS

Bootsy Collins is a bass-playing god from outer space (also from Parliament/Funkadelic) who founded an online “Funk University” because he basically invented the whole goddamned genre. He is an interstellar gift to Earth. Fisher Green Stage, Sun., 10 p.m. —KS

Elvis Costello hits the mainstage at this year's Bumbershoot.
Photo by Morgen Schuler courtesy KEXP

Whether he’s in country, jazz, reggae, or even string-quartet mode, Elvis Costello can do that. While the punk spitfire of his early New Wave albums like My Aim Is True and Trust has softened over time, his passion for songcraft is as robust as ever—as is his extraordinary voice. Mainstage, Sat., 6:15 p.m. —Gwendolyn Elliott

Craft Spells is back with dreamy pop grooves on their sophomore album, Nausea. The name’s ironic, of course, with its beautiful, melodic sounds and feel-good vibes. End Zone Stage, Sun., 4 p.m. —Anna Erickson

Her voice and songwriting chops are top-notch, so it’s only a matter of time before Shelby Earl finds herself with a career like that of Damien Jurado, who produced her latest LP, Swift Arrows. End Zone Stage, Sat., 5:15 p.m.DL

I’ve seen Foster the People multiple times in the past two years and I’ve never been disappointed. Its music is distinct, catchy, and enjoyable if you don’t listen too close to the words (wtf, “Pumped Up Kids”?). And who wouldn’t want to see Marc Foster moonwalk across the stage while crooning “I Would Do Anything for You?” Mainstage, Mon., 9:15 p.m. —Reut Odinak

Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas is bringing Motown to Bumbershoot. Marrying ZZ Ward’s flair to Tina Turner’s fire and charisma, Hernandez’s rocking, just-released full-length debut, Secret Evil, will set your soul aflame. Starbucks Stage, Mon., 2:45 p.m. —Brian Palmer

Seattle Weekly’s pick for best rock group of 2014, Hobosexual might just be the perfect act to get things going on the festival’s second day, because nothing says early Sunday like loud, irreverent, balls-out rock and fucking roll. Pink bathrobe not included. Fountain Lawn Stage, Sun., 12:30 p.m.Corbin Reiff

Tales of New Orleans and the punk life mingle in the songs of Hooray for the Riff Raff. Frontwoman Alynda Lee Segarra can sing like a songbird and yodel like a cowgirl, and her voice always rings true. Starbucks Stage, Mon., 6:15 p.m. —GE

ILLFIGHTYOU’s snotty caps-lock hip-hop is the best thing coming out of Tacoma right now—the crew’s tight, playful schoolyard flow paired with brilliant production makes it next in line to the likes of Odd Future. End Zone Stage, Sun., 2 p.m. —KS

The musical ferocity that is produced by Iska Dhaaf is astounding; Nathan Quiroga and Benjamin Verdoes are both powerful vocalists and multi-instrumentalists. Their unique blend of modern punk and solemn, dirge-like melodies calls to mind—stick with me here—the spiritual psychedelia of The Doors. Yet there’s enough frenetic, indie synth-pop happening to make them catchy and current. Seeing them live is the best way to truly engage in their boundless energy and primal rhythms. Pavilion Stage, Sat., 5:30p.m. —Nicole Sprinkle

With her thick mop of gorgeous dreads, Valerie June is the blues Medusa of the moment. Have no doubt—her gritty, rootsy guitar work and soulful lyricism will absolutely slay you. Starbucks Stage, Mon., 4:30 p.m.GE

In an alternate universe, the members of La Luz have adopted me from the pound. I wear a collar and do silly tricks that make them giggle. In return I get to sit on their laps and sniff their butts. La Luz, I wanna be your dog. Fountain Lawn Stage, Mon., 12:30 p.m. —Peter Muller

Every song from Neon Trees is like a sugar rush without the crash. Shiny dance-rock tunes like “Animal,” “Everybody Talks,” and “Sleeping With a Friend” are so fun and catchy, you can’t help but dance. Fisher Green Stage, Mon., 8 p.m. —RO

Poliça brings her graceful stage presence and synth-pop glory
to Seattle this weekend. Photo by Morgen Schuler courtesy KEXP

Channy Leaneagh’s haunting vocals soar over Poliça’s hip-hop-infused electronica in rhythmic, synth-pop glory that’s beautiful and surreal. Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon likes ’em, too. Fountain Lawn Stage, Sat., 7 p.m. —RO

DJ Mexican Institute of Sound, aka Camilo Lara, is one talented dude, fusing classic Latin music with a beat to move that booty! He makes music for those who like to nerd out on electronic style and technique without bros fist-pumping at the back of your head. Fisher Green Stage, Mon., 4:30 p.m. —ZE

Mission of Burma made only an album and a half before disbanding in 1984 (it reformed in 2002), but its post-punk sound influenced scores of important bands from Nirvana to R.E.M. and Fugazi. Fountain Lawn Stage, Sun., 7:15 p.m.DL

Portland-based Modern Kin is built from the ashes of Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives, but with a renewed vigor and intensity. It recently performed a 24-hour live-streaming “digital tour” so fans in every time zone could catch a show. Pavilion Stage, Sat., 12:30 p.m. —MS

Nada Surf managed the near-impossible—transcending its ’90s one-hit-wonder status to become respected indie-rock vets—thanks to Matthew Caws’ knack for killer choruses. Fountain Lawn Stage, Mon., 7 p.m.DL

For more than 30 years, subversive culture jammers Negativland have charmed your trademarked socks off your copyrighted feet with witty, sample-heavy beats and satirical jams. Its live shows are always weird and memorable; therefore, you will go see them and love them. Pavilion Stage, Sun., 5:15 p.m. —Matt Silvie

Pickwick’s wide-ranging influences, from soul to funk to pop, have allowed the band to share a stage with indie-rock stalwarts and the Seattle Symphony alike. Fisher Green Stage, Sun., 8:15 p.m.DL

Polyrhythmics invokes the spirit of Cajun party gods, with undertones of spaghetti Westerns, Latin jazz, and Afro-beat. Prepare to dance. Fisher Green Stage, Sun., 11:45 a.m.Brennan Moring

Portland’s hard-rocking juggernauts Red Fang keep getting bigger, and for good reason. The band’s third record, Whales and Leeches, is chock-full of all the heavy goods. Fountain Lawn Stage, Sun., 3:45 p.m. —James Ballinger

Sometimes I think Jonathan Richman is Serge Gainsbourg’s long-lost twin. Both are equally irreverent, and the thought of Richman telling a dirty story about Brigitte Bardot and a champagne bottle seems well within the realm of possibility. Though he’s more likely to sing you a song about horses, lesbian bars, or drummers, of course. Starbucks Stage, Mon., 8 p.m. —GE

After a successful European tour promoting their new EP, In the Light, Sub Pop’s psychedelic septet Rose Windows returns to Seattle for their first-ever performance at the fest. Their music transcends genres. And they get fucking heavy. Fountain Lawn Stage, Mon., 3:30 p.m. BM

Local Seattle trio Sandrider can’t be stopped. Full of melodic, heavy riffs and one of this town’s best rhythm sections, Sandrider will pummel you in the best way possible. Fountain Lawn Stage, Sun., 2 p.m. —JB

Soulstress Shaprece and ambient beat master IG88 are pushing out some of the most forward-thinking music in Seattle. Their most recent EP, Motlen, is rich with smoky vocals, layered synth ambience, and tantalizing beats. End Zone Stage, Mon., 3:45 p.m. CCL

At 75, R&B and gospel legend Mavis Staples had her highest-charting album ever with One True Vine, her second collaboration with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, which mixes new material with covers of Low, Funkadelic, and more. Starbucks Stage, Sat., 10 p.m. DL

Mixing big, slow beats with a gauzy chillwave sound, SZA and her smooth, soulful voice will seduce you. Fountain Lawn Stage, Sat., 2 p.m. AE

Listening to the smooth crooning, lush ballads, and powerful ’80s rock beats on Twin Shadow's sophomore album, Confess, puts me in the mood to throw on my acid-washed Guess jeans and dance like I’m in a John Hughes flick. Fountain Lawn Stage, Mon., 5:15 p.m. —Erin McCutcheon

Malaysian-born singer/songwriter Yuna is sweet and graceful onstage with a voice to match, and freshens her distinctly pop sound with elements of R&B and soul. Starbucks Stage, Sat., 8:15 p.m. MS


Bumbershoot takes place Aug. 30–Sept. 1 at Seattle Center. $62 for single day pass, $175 for 3-day pass. Pick up Seattle Weekly’s print edition for a full schedule and map. Or go to bumbershoot.org for more information. And be sure to check out all our suggestions for music, film, and visual arts.

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