Bumbershoot 2017: Die Antwoord, The Roots and Solange Reign Supreme


Since I was a child, Bumbershoot has been there for me. Whether it was George Clinton in 1995, Rise Against in 2004, Blue Scholars and Kanye West back to back in 2006 or Tame Impala in 2016, every Bumbershoot I’ve attended is special to me. This year is no different.  For 2017, Die Antwoord, The Roots and Solange have all the glory. Honorable mentions include Chicano Batman, Sofi Tukker, The New Respects, Smokey Brights and ODESZA. 

Day one started with Chicano Batman at The Mural stage. This band had been on my radar since I watched their KEXP live performance a few months back. Their bright organ fueled Chicano psychedelia sound teamed with their ever positive lyrics immediately roped me in.  On stage, they exploded with spirit and charisma. They left it all at The Mural and it was great to share a few special moments with this fantastic band. 

The smartest thing I did all Friday was leave Flume for Die Antwoord. Ninja and Yolandi Visser of Die Antwoord are as strange as they are captivating. They were explosive, controlling the stage and honoring the crowd for their warm and lively response. Their performance included numerous stage dives, pelvic thrusts, lasers and Afrikaans curse words. 

Day two began with Weezer at Memorial Stadium. I’ll be honest, I love Weezer, but I was just a little disappointed in their performance. It was so great to hear classics like “Hash Pipe” and “My Name is Jonas” but they lost me with their Outkast cover of “Hey Ya!” which lacked authenticity, especially during the greatest line of that song “Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor!” where Rivers Cuomo sang with the intensity of a sleepy Ben Carson. 

Sofi Tukker’s performance at The Mural stage was the perfect combination of house, rock and performance art. Their bright energy combined with live instruments, a sampler and the giant MIDI controller known as “The Book Tree” made for an incredibly fun and interactive performance. I danced my ass off to their music. Sophie and Tucker of Sofi Tukker are also two wonderful people that I had the pleasure of interviewing.  I wish them all the best. 

The Roots felt like family. Their performance on the Fischer Green stage was simultaneously one of the best hip hop and rock shows I have ever witnessed. Their beautiful sound continuously flowed throughout the show, rarely stopping altogether. They displayed their incredible breadth of musicianship by covering Guns N Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine” and then transitioning into Led Zepplin’s “Immigrant Song” then into Damien Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock” and bringing it seamlessly back into their own track, “The Seed 2.0.” No one gets down like The Roots do. NO ONE.

The New Respects were a fantastic surprise and a perfect way to start the final day of Bumbershoot.  This Nashville family band consisted of twin sisters, an older brother and their cousin. Their electric rock sound was seasoned with blues, soul and funk vibes that were undeniably fresh. When their performance was over, I began to feel this weekend of beers and Seattle dogs catch up to me. Luckily, Seattle is home to KEXP which is not only an amazing radio station but also hands down the best venue at Bumbershoot. Here, I was able to refuel with water, coffee and the fantastic sounds of Smokey Brights. Feeling refreshed and energized, it was finally time for Solange. 

When “A Seat at the Table” was first released, it was all I listened to for weeks. I was ecstatic to see her name on the Bumbershoot line up. Everything about Solange’s performance was perfect. The stage design, the choreography, the musicianship and the passion of every member in the band created a mesmerizing experience that I am so happy to have witnessed. I instantly had goosebumps when she hit the “Cranes in the Sky” high notes perfectly and couldn’t help but agree when a woman dancing beside me exclaimed “I feel like I’m in church right now.” Thank you Solange, you are a queen. 

ODESZA was well deserving of closing out the main stage. I was impressed by their massive stage production and enjoyed hearing some of my favorite, slower and more melodic tracks like “Today” and “Kusanagi.” Bumbershoot was the first gig of their A Moment Apart tour. Good luck, boys.

Check out our photo galleries from Bumbershoot 2017.


One on One with Sofi Tukker
Four Tips for Flying Cheap

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