Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Interviews as Sexless Dates

Interviewing is like dating companies or recruiters.

You meet them online.  The first thing a smart girl does is google them and really give their profile on linkedin or careerbuilder a good once (or twice) over. I carefully consider the possibility it will be a good match.  Then, if we both see fit, we schedule an interview/date.

I dress up, spending time to look my best. I arrive a little early with butterflies in my stomach as  I face the semi-known. The interview/date starts with handshakes, small talk, and eases into more meaningful conversation. The next period of time flies by in a rush of nerves, questions, eye contact, nervous laughter.

Well. . .it's getting late. . .I should go . . .

We exchange niceties, shake hands, and part ways.  The drive home provides time for my racing mind to unravel what just happened.  Did they say that? What did that mean?  How does that mesh with my expectations and wants?  I call a friend to go over all the gory details and make a plan to go forward.  Pros and cons are laid out. Options suggested and considered. 

If it went well, I walk away with adrenaline rushing, a smile on my face and hope in my heart. Then it's just like dating.  I wait to get an email or phone call.  It never comes soon enough.  I both want the call to come and dread it.  If they aren't interested, it's a call that may never come because no one ever man's up and just says "that was a good interview/date but it's not quite what I am looking for.  Good luck in your search". No one can be bothered to let someone know, gently and nicely.  It's easier to vanish.

If it didn't, go so well then they end up on here as a tale to tell.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

General Date Fail Times Three

I've written about specific dating scenarios that went poorly.  There have been cringe worthy interactions, some that might have left you (and definitely left me) scratching my head. This is not that.  This is a scenario that's happened more than once, more than twice.  It's one I know you've all had. Here's how it would go:

I met Jon online.  His profile didn't make me jump up and run around but I like to give guys the benefit of the doubt. I've met some guys that are much more interesting and magnetic in person than they appear online. We emailed through the site then started texting.  We met in person.

He's nice, he's funny, he's gainfully employed, he's mildly funny, but. . . there's no spark.  On paper, he's a good maybe even a great guy.  He would probably be a great date and potentially a great boyfriend.  The catch is that there aren't any butterflies in my stomach.  I don't want to end the date with a make-out session. I could see that he would be a good friend, an activity partner, a whatever. 

What is it about the unknown, barely describable "thing" that someone must have?  It's an unmesurable, invisible quantity yet it's so important that I've had three first dates with good guys that I didn't see again because we didn't click.

Do you, fair reader, reckon that you can manufacture the "it" factor? That that "thing" can develop over time?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dodged a Bullet

Portland is off the table.

.    .     .    .     .

That was my sigh of relief you heard. While the option to move somewhere new and different always has an appeal, I'm not sure Portland and I would have been a match made in heaven.  More that we would have ended up on Maury Povich arguing about who hated who first and ending with one of use tackled by the security staff.  I'm not saying if it would have been PDX or me, but it would have been ugly.

After two days there I looked Danielle in the eye and said "I don't think I can move here".  She laughed and I reiterated with "No really.  I think it might be too much".  I moved to Spain a Catholic country with a pace that's glacial for any meaningful business, i.e. banking, official paperwork processing. I live in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country where I was awakened every day for months by the call to prayer of the mosque. Traffic meant it could take two hours to go four miles and the only beer was Heineken and it's local equivalent Bintang. I've spent weeks in countries where everything bites and the temperature and humidity are the same number.  I think I draw the line at Portland.

Here are some snippets of the notes I made on the music agenda. A lot of these seem to be directed at the hipsters, so only take them to heart if you are a hipster. And if you are, message me to seek treatment.

The 80's are gone.  Either know that you loved them and let them go or know that you will never get it because you're 15 and your elders are (or should be) wise enough not to allow you to repeat their mistakes.

There is one Zoey Deschanel. You aren't her.

There are lots of guys who look like pictures of my uncle from thirty years ago - a big, bad, dark beard, floppy semi-curly hair, skinny to the point of needing force feeding. He had thick black framed glasses, a strong Jewish nose (hey, I've got it too), and a general air of nerdy/unstylish. It wasn't good then I'd imagine, it was hilarious as kids when we saw the pictures and it's not ideal now. His style has changed, so should yours.

Why do you look so gay but bring your girlfriend to the concert?  If I saw you in Seattle, you 5'5" man in tight pink knee length shorts, white ironic/graphic tank, comb over, bracelet, purple raybans, teal keds with ankle socks, I would know you were at home in Seattle, probably Capitol Hill. In PDX, you insist on dragging your beard girlfriend around though neither of you exchange a word or seem attached to each other.

Come to think of it, most of you hipsters don't seem attached to anything.  You are decidedly detached from emotional response.  I don't know if you're all high or have spent too many years abusing your livers but I swear a smile or facial expression is a normal part of existence.

I realize that burning bras had it's day.  As far as I know, bras are plentiful.  There are lots of them around in different colors and styles and price ranges.  There is no excuse then to go without.  Floppy and wiggly is something that should be saved for jello molds. Bright pink bras should go under bright shirts, not flimsy white ones. Bra straps are not a fashion accessory despite what some magazines and manufacturers produce. If you are wearing a tube top, buy a strapless bra. That's a requirement not a suggestion.

Clothes shouldn't be so tight as to appear painted on nor so loose that you could fit your significant other in them as well.

Men - get your hair situation together.  Fuzzy chests with deep V's, mustaches of the 70's/porn star variety, facial hair that is patchy and a bit all over, Bieber hair, overcolored/overtreated and there fore thinner than thread.  Men in headbands.  Not even for Fernando, sorry Meghan. Sort all that out.  I'm about this close to putting a no facial hair clause in my online profiles because there are so few who pull it off, but I don't want to open the door for 6'2'', 318lbs guys to have a go at me because I hate their beard. Not that I couldn't take 'em. . . I just don't have the time or interest.

Was there a great flood in Portland in the last two years?  Everyone cuffs everything.  Jeans, pants, skirts, shorts. I get that when you're on a bike you cuff the right leg so it doesn't get greasy in the chain but I stopped trying to count people walking around with cuffed pants.  Either manufacturers need to make a PDX specific cut that is short enough for all the flood-fearers or there need to be group information sessions about the correct pant lengths.  Folded up so it's three inches above your ankle (and your legs are the most horrifying white) is not appropriate.

Why can't you afford a shave and a haircut but you can spend thousands of dollars of lots of often lousy tattoos? I have a few tattoos.  I have plans for a couple more but being in Portland for long would be enough to put me off tats forever.  I don't think I've ever seen so many neck tats.  Lots of full sleeves and lots of generally globby tats. I started getting mine when not every person had one, now Portlanders are getting enough for everyone.

Single soul examples of fashion disasters:
Male, 30's, 5'5''-5'6'' pork pie hat, floppy side part ahir, waxed mustache, wife beater tank top in white, nylon baskeball shorts in black past the knee, long, dark argyle socks, leather "dress" shoes like a lot of middle school boys wear when they have to dress up.

Male, 35ish, 5'9'', short sleeve plai button up, beard, BCGs (see previous post), black low top chucks, flatbilled baseball hat, raybans, skinny jean that was too short, black socks.

Female, early 20's, 5'7'', skort dress in bright purple,  blue raybans, keds, long stick strait hair with a leatherband with feathers on it tied around her head just above her eyebrows.

Overall I found Portlanders in need of mending, ironing, shaving, trimming, washing and general tidying up. I think I left Portland with a virus, one that has left me with little defense against "the hipster".  It may have long lasting effects; we shall have to wait and see.

Last two only vaguely related thoughts:
As I get older, 21 seems to be getting younger.  The shows I saw at the Crystal Ballroom had two sections in front of the stage, one of which was a 21 and over bar section.  There were folks in there that make me double take.  Not just a couple that I could assume had snuck in but heaps.  Apparently I'm not old enough to want to question the young whippersnappers about their id.

Drummers are proof that men can multi-task.  Based on some of the bands I've seen recently I should expand that to musicians.  I saw one performer from Beirut switch from a trombone to a tuba to a guitar.  Another in Royal Cannoe played a keyboard, a synthesizer, a guitar and a tambourine. I doff my hat to you all.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sigh, hipsters

This is the blog post that I have been putting off for over a week.  Danielle, here it finally is.  I was avoiding it because I know it's going to get me all riled up.  To be honest, if it didn't, I wouldn't do the post any justice because it made me riled up enough to take notes in Portland so I could rage in blog form.




ok, now, where to begin.  I used to think that Seattle and Portland weren't so very different.  I've heard Portland compared to Seattle of twenty years ago, that's PDX is SEA's little brother. It's definitely not the city I remember from a few short trips there over the years.  And it's not Seattle. 

Immediate reactions: It's white.  REALLY white.  The official figures say that PDX is about 97% white and that the 3% racial diversity exists in just one or two neighborhoods.

It's a social city.  There are probably more bars and restaurants per capita in the city than any I've been to.  They are for the most part very new or remodeled, with interesting food but similar style choices.

Seattle is by it's nature a casual city.  Polar fleece is an acceptable accessories in all seasons and nearly all venues. REI probably sells as many articles of clothing as JC Penneys. Gortex is a necessity, if not a sleek clothing choice.  I usually feel a bit overdressed when I go out, but I'm ok with that.  I would rather be the most put together person in the bar than another disastrous hiker/biker/Seattle action figure who forgot to change after the days outing. Portland takes casual and poorly dressed to a new level. They don't make the small but important distinction between functional wear and appropriate wear.  Seattleites are guilty of going out in clothing that was meant for a purpose - rock climbing, camping - not for fashion.  Portlanders either don't realize there's a difference or scoff at it in wearing clothing who's purpose was to clothe a college student when they couldn't afford anything better or know any better.  Oh wait. . . that doesn't quite work since they spent more on their ironic t-shirt and poorly fitting skinny jeans than I did on my work-sleek Calvin Klein dress and heels. 

Hipsters all think they are unique and different.  What they don't see is that they are all minutely different versions of the same.  Is this what the "you can do anything, you are a special flower" parenting books have lead to?

Select any three (I think three is enough, four is a definite minimum though) of the following list and you have a hipster:
  • Converse
  • skinny jeans, double points for skinny colored pants.
  • Unnecessary wide belt with big buckle.  The pants are already so tight you had to have help getting them on.  I know your butt is hanging out but the belt won't help with that.
  • An "ironic/funny" t-shirt.  They are never either.  Double points of it's seriously worn.
  • A Jason Mraz hat
  • Homeless lumberjack beard.  It could be housing a chipmunk (not the Alvin persuasion), last week's pizza leftovers or the axe you'll use to murder me.
  • A bad haircut or lack of haircut.  I have trouble seeing the difference between the dirty hippie folks who haven't cut their hair because they don't care and the hipsters who spent $65 to look the same way. Triple points for homeless lumberjack beard and long stringy Kurt Cobain-esque hair.  Or alternately, Justin Bieber hair on a male over the age of 17.
  • Super high waisted colored super short shorts. I've only seen them on females, but who knows what's possibly. Double points if they are short enough her ass is trying to escape out the bottom.
  • A long hippie, flowing skirt that you then decide is too long and too flowy so it's tied up at the knee.
  • A plaid button up shirt.  In a concert sea of bodies,  plaid is plaid is all the same plaid. 
  • BCGs. These are the black, chunky rimmed glasses.  A friend from the military told me they call them BCGs - birth control glasses - because they are the only style the military will pay for and you ain't getting laid if you wear em.  Now the caveat might be that you'll get laid, but by another hipster.  You've been warned.
  • Flat billed ballcap.  Break that sh*t in. And don't wear it high on your head, like Heather, this girl I went to junior high with.  She'd spray her bangs up big, like Kelly Kapowski in SBTB and then put the hat on behind it.  (if you do not understand this reference, stop reading now.  You can go google it and still not really understand or you are under 25 and will never understand either). As an aside here, also no super flimsy, 80's style, windbreaker material ballcaps.
  • Neon anything.  Again, I feel like this could easily segue into a Saved by the Bell reference.The brighter the better, especially tops, hats or accessories. 
  • Keds on men. This isn't Europe and you aren't Swedish.
  • Old school raybans.  You know the ones I mean that are really in, again.  Like they were twenty years ago.
  • A mustache.  Now this is a tricky one to write.  I like a good mustache.  Good being the pivotal word in that sentence. This is where my new motto comes in to play.  JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOESNT MEAN YOU SHOULD*.  Sure, you can grow a mustache.  It looks ridiculous on you, your face is rejecting it and you haven't realized it. We are all shaking our heads and chuckling. Waxing it out Rolly Fingers style (again, google it) doesn't make it look less ridiculous.  Now there are a few folks that can pull it off.  There was a fill-in Seattleite guitarist for the band The Heavy at Bumbershoot.  He looked fantastic, plaid shirt, waxed mustache and all. *Apply motto to aforementioned beards, skinny jeans and buying a Hummer.
  • Tom's. ick.
 Apparently it means that I was fashionable at seven.  I used to wear leggings and neon all the time. I wore the windbreaker hat, the raybans (in neon colors of course), keds.  I hated getting my haircut and had the predecessor to the Bieber cut (accidental and unfortunate I can assure you).

For the sake of your sanity and mine, I'll cap today's blog there and allow my rant to spill over to tomorrow.  Look for more scathing hipster don't, don't and why do they's tomorrow.

**Do I need to include googled photos of all this stuff?  I'd imagine a fair number of you know and can picture exactly what I'm referencing.  If photos are requested, I'll add some.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

MFNW part dos

On Friday I ventured out to The Doug Fir for two KEXP Lounge shows.  The Doug Fir is a little restaurant/bar/performance area that looks like a log cabin and is on the corner of/affiliated with a newer hotel. The lounge was a floor underground, which on a 85 degree day provided a wonderful cool respite that more than once was compared to a cave. I missed The Pains of Being Pure at Heart due to a fire that delayed the buses (it's always something isn't it?) so I skipped over to Sizzle Pie to wait for the next show.  Sizzle Pie is a mini-chain in Portland for gourmet pizza that was fantastic.  I would never have thought to put sliced almonds with thin pieces of roast, garlic and two kinds of cheese, but man did it work.  I also treated myself to a Crispins cider and then a local Caldera Amber, which despite being canned, was great.

Upon wrapping up there, I plunged into the underground world of The Doug Fir for Lost Lander.  I'm a big fan.  They have a great sound, which at some points was a tiny bit like Cold War Kids, at other points was more like a band who I like and whose name is completely eluding me right now. They are coming to Seattle Sunday!

After the Lost Lander show, I emerged blinking into the sun and happily strolled to the patio for a Flat Tire Sunshine beer. Very appropriate for the day. I stayed around to catch the Black Mountain show.  Again, it was a band I'd never heard of.  In every way they were a great Zepplin cover band, except that it was original music.  The female singer looked like she was the daughter of the male lead, appearing maybe 18.  She presented a totally unaffected demeanor at all times.  There was never a smile or a scream. She was either high or bored.  Musically, they sounded like Zepplin from the choices of chords, to the feedback and reverb. I was left thinking "why wouldn't I just listen to Zepplin?"

Danielle met me at the outdoor stage at Pioneer Courthouse Square for two shows, but I got there first and saw Gardens & Villa. I wasn't paying a lot of attention at this point as I was people watching and making hipster notes. They seemed benign though not totally uninteresting. The crowd was about the same and both Gardens and Menomena suffered from an apathetic crowd and lots of synthesizers too early in the day. Danielle came in part was through the Menomena show.  Again, I believe they are local.  The area was starting to fill and they put on a good show but were hampered by the stage orientation which had them facing straight into the sun.  The last show at Pioneer was Beirut which required an additional ticket (included in our ticket fee). I feel like I need to listen to them again while not surrounded by and irritated by hipsters. They look like what happens when band nerds get older but don't grow up.  I liked the use of tuba, trombone (both played by a guy who also played keyboard), trumpet (played by a guy that reminds me of ten Spaniards I've met) and even accordion. There was a feeling of trying to do too much on stage by having six members who all changed instruments and stage position. They were clearly a crowd favorite as the area had filled and folks were pushed up towards the stage.

Danielle and I left before the end to make our way over to the Star Theater. The Star was a nice venue.  Small inside with a long skinny set up with a stage at one end, but a big patio outside with two bars.  It was busy but not overly packed.  We had dealings with a waitress who was vacant.  It's strange to run in to someone who is really honestly dumb as rocks.  She had trouble reciting the beers on tap to us even while using her cheat sheet.  A couple more beers here while not paying much attention to Moon Duo (other than to notice the guy in it looked like an appropriately aged and heavily bearded Manson), or Daughn Gibson. Out on the patio we had a interesting conversation with an American Spirit Tobacco Sales Rep about quitting smoking campaigns. We did move in from the patio to hear The Pains of Being Pure at Heart who I liked more than I thought I would.

At this point we didn't have to roam far to find a taxi who, upon Danielle's direction, took us to a Taco Bell where we dismounted the cab and walked through the drive-through. I didn't think they'd serve us since every drive through now has a sign saying "must be in motorized vehicle" but Danielle persuaded the woman to take our order for tacos and nachos.  I wonder how often Taco Bell employees get tipped. The walk that Danielle swore was only a mile was probably a couple of miles and we both launched into bed post haste.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I had good timing for my Portland trip and I didn't even choose it. The company I interviewed with chose the date and time to meet me. It just so happened that it was the same time as MusicFestNW, an eleven year old, four day music festival in Portland. Wooooo! Instead of driving down, interviewing and driving back, I stayed two nights and suffered through two days. Danielle (from previous Bumbershoot blog) was gracious enough to host me and we made plans to do MFNW together on Friday.

I was left to my own devices on Thursday. At about 6pm I walked with Brittany (Danielle's sister) to a great local pub in an area PDX seems to be trying hard to regentrify. The place was beautiful, the jalapeno poppers homemade and fantastic, the local beers different and interesting. From there  I headed to McMenamins Crystal Ballroom to pick up our wristbands, then I stayed for two shows. Fort Lean replaced The Hundred in the Hands.  I'd never heard of them and apparently they are a local to PDX band.  They had a great sound, very up beat and a blend of good song writing with head bopping beats.  It took a while to figure out who they were, as MFNW wasn't good about posting changes like Bumbershoot.  McMenamin's owns several  locations in Washington and probably a dozen in Oregon.  The Ballroom was a pretty good venue; the acoustics were good, it was on the third floor and had a nice bouncy floor for when we jumped around.  There was a sectioned off bar on the audience floor and they had canisters of water out which was necessary considering it was about a million degrees by the time the second show let out.

The second show was Passion Pit. I'd missed their show the week before at Bumbershoot and was happy to catch them at the Crystal Ballroom. They had performed for MFNW at the Crystal the night before.  They didn't let the second show slide but put on an energetic, crowd roaring performance.  The audience was keyed up, singing along and jumping/dancing along. I only know who or three of their songs but thoroughly enjoyed the show.  Both Fort Lean and Passion Pit had something that a few of the Bumbershoot shows were missing - great music engineers.  The vocals were lost to overly reverbed guitars and thumping bass beats. The light show for PP kept the audience as rapt as their electronic feats.

Since this got much longer than I intended, I'll break Thursday's and Friday's reviews into two blog posts.  Friday is even longer.  Apparently, I like talking about music. Who knew? (wink, wink)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Jaunt to PDX

After Bumbershoot ended on Monday, I had a couple days to recover and then on Thursday I headed south to Portland for an interview. In someways, Portland is similar to Seattle.  Many people say it's like the little brother - Still trying to decide what it wants to be, spending a lot of time drinking and lounging around.  It definitely doesn't have a big commercial centers like Seattle does in downtown and on the eastside with Microsoft, Nintendo and the like.
The interview went well but it's still in process to see if I'm going to make the move and take a job there. There is lots of potential, both in the position and with the company which is young and growing. It would be a bump in responsibility and title (hopefully with a commensurate bump in pay) but it would mean moving to Portland and after just two days there, I'm not sure that's a pill I can swallow.  More study is needed.

Revelations from the road:

The speeds for traffic leaving Portland were faster than the speeds when I was headed in to Portland.  You may see why over the next couple posts.

On my way back to Seattle, I saw two houses, a jet plane minus the wings, three hydroplanes, cars with bikes, surfboards and kayaks on top, and two cars changing flat tires. Impressive for just 170 miles.

As much as gas is at home ($3.85 when I filled up to go) it was much more on the road.  I paid $4.15 half way home from Portland. Ugh.

I think Washington was made for nerds and geeks before we even knew there'd be so many gamers here.  There are towns like Ryderwood and Vader.

Between that trip and then one out to Ravensdale I put 400 miles on the car in four days.  And we both survived. 

Expect tomorrow's blog to be my review of shows I saw at MusicfestNW.  I am intentionally putting off my hipster blog because it's going to be long and painful. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Music of Bumbershoot - Monday

Sorry for the delay.  Here's  MONDAY

Monday was far and away the busiest day.  If I'd known then what I knew by the end of the day, I might have given it a pass.  Danielle returned to Portland Monday, so I had a new partner in crime, Michael. By the end of it, I felt bad he'd bought a pass and come because compared to Saturday and Sunday, it was disappointing.

There weren't any huge draws for Monday. It would have been nice to see Hey Marseilles or Passion Pit but they were at the end of the day (8 and 915 starts). Michael had to work Tuesday so we couldn't stay too late.  Honestly, but 730 I was well ready to go. 

I wanted to see the 4:30 show for The Wombats.  We went to get in line just after four and found that it was double the length of of line for the same venue for Civil Twilight.  Based on out estimation of a 45 minute wait in line, we gave it a miss. 

We tripped through Flatstock were I found a couple of great posters for Blitzen Trapper, SilverSun Pickups and The Polyphonic Spree.  There was so much great art there it as hard to stop at just three. 

We accidentally caught part of Omar Souleyman's show.  It was a little strange.  Heavy techno/electronic house music in the back ground.  My guess is that he's from Saudi Arabia and was in traditional dress, including the head covering.  There were a lot of folks who were bopping their heads along.  It left Michael and I sort of scratching our heads and moving along.

The Starbucks stage offered a place to sit and eat in the beer garden.  LP was good.  She was kind of singer-songwriter/folk which I like. She wasn't quite enough of a standout for me to look her up once I got home.

We caught Ana Tijoux on the Fisher Green stage.  The entire lawn was full.  We tried to get in to the beer garden there but again, found the line prohibitive. It was easily fuller than any time of the previous two days. She wasn't at all what I was expecting.  I knew a couple of songs from KEXP that were kind of pop/world.  She came out with a DJ and rapped.  Very M.I.A style both musically and in fashion.

We kicked around a little longer without a focus and finally gave in and went home.  The lines for Skrillex started at 5 (or maybe earlier) but by 6 wound through a huge section of the Seattle Center grounds. His show was set to start at 930.  Maybe I'm too old, but I don't get his sound.  I was happy to not be a fan and stuck in that colossal line.  The reviews after the fact were all raving about him, but it would have been pure suffering for me.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Music of Bumbershoot - Sunday


Ty Curtis Band: We didn't see this show but were milling about when it was on. They sounded good enough for me to check out on iTunes.

Niki & The Dove (Sweden): caught about five minutes of this and moved on.  Definitely not my style.

Eldrigde Gravy & The Supreme Court (local): Following in our newly established tradition of brass, bass and big bands, Eldrigde didn't disappoint.  There were at least eight members in the band. It was a funkin, rocking, soulful good time. They are almost as fun to watch as to hear. They are playing next month again in Seattle and I'll try to go catch them. One of my favorite acts of the weekend.

Civil Twilight (South Africa): We went to these guys on a suggestion that proved well placed.  My only complaint was that they were in one of two indoor venues.  The music was compelling and well tuned (see AWOLnation). They have more of a classic "rock" sound - think Pearl Jam, or Soundgarden but less angry. They have been added to my play lists.

Deep Sea Diver: I didn't catch the whole show but it was an enjoyable twenty minutes, even though all I could see was the back of this kid on his dad's shoulders and next to them a tall guy in a big hat (don't get me started on that rant). A big folksy, a bit pop, it was a nice combo.

Blitzen Trapper (PDX): This was the one show that I really, really, really wanted to see.  I am a big fan of this unclassifiable group.  Their music ranges from bluegrass and country to rock, folk and indie.  They definitely looked the PacNW part with unkempt hair and wiley beards but the music was as beautiful as they weren't.  I was two people back and sang along with those around me.  While there were a couple of songs I had hoped to hear and didn't, I was not at all disappointed in their show.  Lucky for me, they were the last act of the day on the SubPop stage and came out for a two song encore.

It would have been nice to see Keane but by the end of a second marathon day, Danielle and I were both happy to miss the massive crowds and head home at ten.

The Music of Bumbershoot - Saturday



Polecat (local): nice bluegrassy/folk local group. Just saw about fifteen minutes but nice first tunes.

King Khan & The Shrines: Awesome.  They started what because the theme of the shows for Saturday and Sunday - driving bass beats, brass and big voices.  They are showy and his voice (King Khan) reminds me vaguely of Little Richard or the like. The costumes were appreciated though I'm not sure how King Khan didn't collapse from heat exhaustion from running around on stage and the weight of the gold sequins.
I had heard a song or two of theirs before arriving.  There wasn't anything they played that I didn't like. They were the day's biggest and best surprise.

The Heavy (UK): Same stage as King Khan and stellar.  I was barely to the right of center stage and about twenty feet back.  They were really good.  More bass beats, two saxophones.  They had upbeat tunes as King Khan did but with more rap/hip-hop mixed in.
They were using a fill in guitarist, someone local who seriously rocked a handlebar mustache. The frontman worked the crowd with about four songs involving crowd response.  They were well placed at late afternoon when the sun was still up and people we up for dancing.
 I knew more of their songs than I thought and happily sung along. I was hopeful when I saw them listed and they didn't disappoint.  I'm a fan.

Awolnation (Los Angeles): This was our first main stage show.  I like the band and know many of their songs.  They span several genres.  My complaint with this show was that the music engineer and lights engineer must have been partaking in the plentiful amounts of cannabis that were around because the quality of the sound and production were not good.  The reverb was high, the bass and kick drum drowned everything else out.  The lighting was too dark blue and from above for the first half of the show so even on the big screens to either side of the stage it was really difficult to see the band.  Then there were also lots of shadows cast from the scaffolding above on to the screens. The end result was disappointing though the band couldn't be blamed for it.

The end of the day was a bit of three different shows.   
The Helio Sequence (PDX) was very mellow and a good pick for the end of the day.  It was probably more enjoyable for the folks who were half off their heads. The screen projections reminded me of the option on Windows Media Player to see lazers or other graphic imaging to go along with the music.

The Jayhawks(Minneapolis) were ok.  They are very predictable and mellow.

M. Ward  (PDX) was the last we saw before going.  I didn't see much of the show though we were in the beer garden at that stage.  I like his/their sound, though the name gives me less than ideal flashbacks. He had a much bigger sound than I expected.  The songs I knew were more singer/songerwriter-folky mellow but he threw out a couple good rock tunes too.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012


It was a fantastic extended weekend.  The weather couldn't have been much better, especially considering it's September in a fairly northern city.  No rain at all.  The evenings did get a little chilly but it was mostly cloudless and lovely.

Danielle made it up from Portland and was a great concert buddy for Saturday and Sunday. We saw a lot of shows together and a few solo ventures.  Michael joined me on Monday for a shorter last day.  The crowds were much worse on Monday and someone said it was because Skrillex (the show you couldn't have paid me to go to) was performing Monday night.  We had to pass on The Wombats because the line was so long. Some of the beer gardens were the same.  Saturday and Sunday were much more manageable and in terms of crowds, more enjoyable. 

The food was mostly as expected.  The most disappointing food were the Parmesan garlic fries which managed to look and smell of both Parmesan and garlic but taste like neither.  The pork skewer from Monday was probably my favorite, though the Thai coffee and tea was stellar too.

Strangest moment: ooo, tough one.  The Unicorn in gold platforms? The Elvis impersonator on a tall unicycle carrying juggling batons who never juggled? Watching Lovebomb a go-go, a marching band and dance troupe dressed in varying degrees of white and sparkle? I'm going to go with the people watching.  There were lots of different and interesting folks to look at, or avoid looking at as the case might be. It was another example of the fact that Seattle accepts all comers.  You name it, we saw it.  Colored hair, bad hair cuts, too much/no enough clothing, costumes, face paint, piercings, a default tattoo show, pets, a parade of bad fashion choices, etc, etc. 

Happy non-music moments: The inflatable T-rex (until Danielle ruined it!!), finding a coconut earring shop that had business cards with guys who must have been from Bali on them, cute free monster stickers, getting 45 free shampoo samples that I'll donate, free silk screened canvas bag with a cool Bumbershoot logo (worth the 45 minutes in line), randomly bumping in to some girls I know. Most important -  laying on the grass, in the sun with GREAT company listening to good music and enjoying being back in Seattle. 

Music recap tomorrow!!