KEXP at 3
After seven years and close to 200 local gigs, Pony Time, Seattle's most rocking garage punk duo, has reached its end point. Earlier this summer the group announced its Bumbershoot set will serve as its grand finale. While bassist/vocalist Luke Beetham and drummer Stacy Peck will continue to deliver some of Seattle's most fun rock music with their other bands (Stallion and Childbirth, respectively), take advantage of one last chance to go crazy and truly make Pony Time all the time.
The Improvised Shakespeare Company
Bagley Wright Theater at 5
We still consider William Shakespeare one of history's greatest writers for his ability to carefully craft eloquent and clever prose. It's almost insulting to the Bard to think that such brilliance could be made up on the spot, but that's the specialty of the Improvised Shakespeare Company. Every performance, the Los Angeles-based improv troupe crafts an entire Shakespearean epic based off of a single audience suggestion. It's a fully immersive and hilarious long form story in the classic style, one that goes so much deeper than adding "thou" to every other sentence. The group has taken home numerous prestigious improv awards in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City (you know, the three hubs of improv comedy) and even sports a TV star pedigree (Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch was a founding member of the troupe). In addition to their Saturday affair, the Improvised Shakespeare Company will also perform a second (completely different) show at Bagley Wright Theatre on Sunday at 7.
Run the Jewels
Main Stage at Memorial Stadium at 7:20
Run the Jewels distills the best of hip-hop ferocity, social awareness, and wit and turn it into a molotov cocktail that's ready to shatter and explode. When the duo of Killer Mike and El-P take a stage, chaos erupts. There's just no other way to put it. With monstrously vicious beats and airtight lyrical delivery styles that contrast and mesh perfectly, Run the Jewels pretty much only makes crowd-pleasing bangers. It's the reason why the pair has rightfully earned them a reputation as one of the best festival acts on the planet. Considering the duo has been holed up in the studio working on Run the Jewels 3, there's a good chance they've got some extra steam to blow off (and maybe new song or two to debut).
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Main Stage at Memorial Stadium at 8:50
Over the past few years, Macklemore has become one of the most polarizing figures in music. People either love him or they hate him. But even if you fall into the later category, don't kid yourself: Seattle as a whole still loves him. He's the hometown star that always reps Seattle to the fullest. Now that he's finally achieving his dream of headlining Bumbershoot, we're pretty sure he and Ryan Lewis will pull out all of the stops to turn Memorial Stadium into a total madhouse. And aside from sometimes meandering stage banter, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis always deliver an energy-packed arena-worthy stage show. It's worth checking out their set at least momentarily for the spectacle and the crowd alone. Sure, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made hasn't been a world-conquering smash on par with The Heist, but you don't think the crowd is gonna pop when the duo busts out "Downtown," "Thrift Shop," or "Can't Hold Us"? Please.
Explosions in the Sky
Fisher Green at 9:50
Words can't compare to feels. As the world's premiere instrumental rock band, Explosions in the Sky has mastered the ability to evoke deep emotions without a single lyric. The quartet's musical compositions burst with cinematic grandeur as each number crescendos towards a soaring explosion of sound. Armed with songs from its universally lauded new album The Wilderness, Explosions in the Sky look to create a communal sense of splendor via rock on the Fisher Green lawn. There's simply no more perfect way to end Saturday than by soaking in each note under the stars.
Also check out: Seattle Process with Brett Hamil (Vera Project at 4) | Lemolo (KEXP at 5:30) | Dude York (KEXP at 6:40) | The Front Bottoms (Fisher Green at 6:45) | Writers of 'Transparent' (Center Theater at 7:30)
Sept 2–4, Seattle Center, $129; Festival pass $250–$775