SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
Babes in Toyland
#NeverTamed Stage at 5
While anything but household names, Babes in Toyland's influence can't be undersold. In some way, the Minneapolis punk trio's output in the early '90s helped birth the riot grrrl scene (Kathleen Hanna sites a Babes in Toyland concert as an inspiration to start Bikini Kill) and the female rockers that followed. After calling it quits in 2001, the band reunited early this year to rock a new generation and delight old fans.
Writers of Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Comedy at the Bagley at 6:30
With stars like Andy Samberg, Chelsea Peretti, Terry Crews, and Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine has one of the funniest casts on television. But that talent would be wasted without a top flight (Golden Globe-winning) writing team crafting the weekly hijinks for the detectives. Get a behind the scenes look at one of most consistently hilarious shows on the the air when the writers from 99th precinct head to Bumbershoot.
#NeverTamed Stage at 8
Just try to not have fun while watching Cake. The group's oddball brand of alt-rock has garnered it numerous radio hits like "The Distance" and "Short Skirt/Long Jacket," and anytime the band plays live, it turns the proceedings into a weirdo party full of dancing and vibraslap action.
Starbucks Stage at 8:45
Modern country music on a Bumbershoot lineup? Your eyes do not deceive you. But Kasey Musgraves isn't a typical pop country princess. Her latest critically acclaimed album, Pageant Material, eschews that safe, over polished sheen for honest songwriting that doesn't sugarcoat the world.
Chance the Rapper
KeyArena at 10:45
After breaking onto the scene in 2013 with his mixtape Acid Rap (which garnered more than a million downloads), Chance the Rapper has continually built his fan base while still remaining true to his own artistic beat. In May he dropped his new album Surf, which musically centers on trumpeter Donnie Trumpet and mixes hip-hop with neo soul and jazz fusion. It's a record that aspires for aesthetic appreciation more than a spot at the top of the charts.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
#NeverTamed Stage at 3:15
Indie rock songwriter (and frequent Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up artist) Mikal Cronin took an adventurous route when crafting his latest record MCIII. The album presents its power pop tunes on an ambitiously massive scale, and succeeds at taking his music to soaring new heights.
Memorial Stadium at 5
Beyond Jesse Lacey's lyrical mastery, it's hard to describe what makes Brand New so great, mainly because the band keeps changing every album. Brand New transformed from heady pop punk act (Your Favorite Weapon) to intelligent and crushing purveyors of emo (Deja Entendu) to torchbearers for the loud-soft dynamic (The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me) to an exhausting barrage of rock fury (Daisy). On second thought, those constant sonic changes are exactly what makes them so great.
Best of Northwest
1 Reel Film Festival at 6:30
Support local cinema by taking in a series of regionally produced shorts. 1 Reel hosts a Best of the Northwest at SIFF Film Center every day of Bumbershoot—each featuring a different lineup—so there are multiple chances to see these up-and-coming filmmakers.
#NeverTamed Stage at 7:45
Led by MacArthur Fellow mandolinist (and future A Prairie Home Companion host) Chris Thile, the Punch Brother push bluegrass music in the progressive direction of classical proficiency. On albums like this year's The Phosphorescent Blues, the band isn't content with the bluegrass traditions, instead focusing on bringing the style into modernity.
Sean Patton, Mike Lawrence, Paul and Storm
Comedy at the Bagley at 10
Bumbershoot's nerdiest comedy showcase doubles as its best. Musical duo Paul and Storm excel at crafting humorous ditties about pirates, nun fights, and more that appeal to indoor kids, while Sean Patton and Mike Lawrence proudly flaunt their nerd cred with gut-busting results. Lawrence even brilliantly named his most recent album Sadamantium (if you don't get that comic book reference, this lineup might not be for you).
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
H.P. Lovecraft Stand-Up Comedian!
Theatre Puget Sound Stage at 3:45
Which is more fear-inducing: nightmarish monsters or performing standup comedy? Both elements combine in Annex Theatre's H.P. Lovecraft Stand-Up Comedian!. The play imagines the early 20th century horror writer as a modern standup comedian that expresses the horrors bouncing around in his mind on stage instead of in pulp magazines. But being a Lovecraftian tale, there is of course the threat of actual apocalyptic monsters ruining everything.
Memorial Stadium at 5:15
As the frontman of The Killers, Brandon Flowers already reached the pinnacle of rock stardom. So naturally, he's now shooting to be a more traditional pop star. This year he released his second solo album The Desired Effect, a joyous collection of anthemic pop songs. While the album caught on more in the U.K. than in the States, it's still worth catching Flowers command the stage even if you're not familiar with the new tunes.
Minus the Bear
Starbucks Stage at 7
As one of Seattle's most consistently great live bands, there's really not much of a reason to ever skip seeing Minus the Bear. The group recently announced a 10th anniversary deluxe reissue of its superb second LP Menos el Oso, so it's safe to assume fans will hear more than a couple songs off that record.
Black-Box Theatre at 8
As the unofficial czar of the Seattle standup scene, Emmett Montgomery is a force for comedic good in Seattle. Not only does the bearded humorist crack up audiences on a consistent basis, but he promotes other local talent through his monthly show Weird and Awesome with Emmett Montgomery at the Annex Theatre and other endeavors. Supporting Montgomery is supporting the local scene.
Pacific Science Center Laser Dome at 9:15
This year Bumbershoot teams up with Pacific Science Center for a robust lineup of laser shows set to the music of iconic artists: The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Outkast, Daft Punk, Nirvana, Pink Floyd (of course), and more. It's hard to think of a much better way to wind down the festival then by tripping out to the music of Radiohead.
Sept 5–7, Seattle Center, $85–$109; Festival pass $190–$750