Summer in the City

The Best of Bumbershoot 2016: Friday

Our top picks in music, comedy, and culture for the Labor Day weekend fest.

By Seth Sommerfeld August 30, 2016

Father john misty sasquatch heasvy

Soak in the satirical rock frustration of Father John Misty.

Best of SIFF Jury and Audience Awards
SIFF Film Center at 4 & 5

Forecasts suggest that Friday might be a rainy one (smash cut to panic at AEG/One Reel HQ), so why not spend a little time in the covered comfort of SIFF Film Center? Each day at Bumbershoot, the One Reel Film Festival hosts screenings of the award-winning shorts from SIFF 2016. The jury picks include tales of the first openly gay country album, Italian office romance, and self-love gone horribly wrong, while the audience selections feature South African soccer-playing grannies, U.S. border immigration drama, and a dumped boyfriend showing the apartment he shared with his ex to potential new tenants.

Father John Misty
Main Stage at Memorial Stadium at 6:50

It seems like Father John Misty is getting weary of people not getting the joke. The only rock satirist that matters has expressed his frustrations about the corporation of folk music ("I don't want your fucking burrito money" is a quote of the year contender), music blogs treating his inane actions like news, and  people championing him for the rock star bravado he clearly mocks. Heck, at his Paramount Theatre gig in April, he eschewed all of his typically hilarious and biting stage banter to just (beautifully) play the damn songs. (And the show was still fantastic.) No matter his mood, FJM is always a must-see.

Laser Prince
Laser Dome at Pacific Science Center at 7:15

We're gonna go out on a limb here and say purple may feature prominently in color palette during the Laser Dome's tribute to the late, great Prince. Whether dancing to the legend's funkiest hits, laying back taking in the spectacle of lights, or just seeking an escape from the Seattle Center hustle and bustle, there are plenty of reasons to duck into the dome's darkness on Friday night. Saturday's Bumbershoot slate includes a Laser Prince encore (at 6:15), and the weekend's Laser Dome lineup also includes the Beatles, Nirvana, Michael Jackson, Outkast, Daft Punk, MGMT, and—of course—Pink Floyd.

Blind Boys of Alabama
Starbucks Stage at Mural Amphitheater at 8:30

Friday's Bumbershoot lineup features way, way too much hollow pretty white boy electropop music; that sort of shimmering summery music that lacks any real emotion and can be found blaring out of the cheap Bluetooth speakers at frat party BBQs across the country. Thankfully, the Blind Boys of Alabama offer the perfect counter. The group's current leader and founding member Jimmy Carter has been making glorious gospel music with Blind Boys of Alabama since 1939. The revered collective sung for World War II troops and at Civil Rights rallies, yet still managed to be around to perform at Grammy telecasts that featured Kayne West. It just doesn't get more authentic than 75 years of experience, and you can hear the wonderfully aged soul in their voices. If you're seeking a dynamic stage show, look elsewhere. But if you're looking for the type of musical passion that can touch your very spirit, don't miss Blind Boys of Alabama.

Visual Arts in the Ex Hall
All festival

It's easy to get caught up in the live music and comedy, but don't sleep on the wonderfully varied visual art on display under the Ex Hall roof. The collection includes a new commission by Brent Watanabe, who specializes in digitally bringing animals into atypical human realms, whether its creating a deer protagonist in Grand Theft Auto 5 (Out of Sight's San Andreas Streaming Deer Cam) or projections of critters in galleries or abandoned houses. Interstital Theatre presents Synkhra Pies and Pastries, a functional full scale mock-up of a bakery filled the chaotically colorful, queer, edible, and often musical multimedia musings of Coley Mixan. Rounding out the Ex Hall's offerings, the Seattle Experimental Animation Team brings together local artists to create basic looping animations via large zeotropes, and will additionally show shorts on vintage TV sets.

Also check out: Dan St. Germain (Vera Project at 2:30) | Iska Dhaaf (Main Stage at Memorial Stadium at 3:40) | Reign Supreme (Ex Hall from 4–7) | THEY. (KeyArena at 5:10) | DoNormaal (KEXP at 5:30) | Andrew Bird (Fisher Green at 8)

And don't miss Seattle Met's Saturday and Sunday Bumbershoot picks.

Sept 2–4, Seattle Center, $129; Festival pass $250–$775

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