One of the most noticeable things about Bumbershoot – compared with other festivals – is the sheer eclectic abundance of talent. This isn’t a rock festival, or a rap festival, or a dance festival. Hell, it isn’t even just a music festival. It’s an everything festival, a celebration of diversity and difference.
And when the sun shines, it’s also one hell of a party.
It’s also notable, however, that some of the most memorable acts over the last few years have been rooted in old fashioned rock’n’roll. Sure, there have been the eccentric hip-hop mashups, the pared-down solo acoustic sets. But last year The Jim Jones Revue tore up the Bumbershoot song sheet like no one else – and in 2012, King Khan and the Shrines did the same with an energetic, ballsy 60 minutes on the newly-named TuneIn Stage.
While much of the gathered crowd was there for the sunshine as much as the music, one fact was noticeable within a few minutes of King Khan strutting onto the stage – nobody was leaving. Working through a setlist of old and new, ranging from all-out garage rock to raucous guitar gospel, Khan and the band set fire to the Fisher Green lawn with some new tricks, some hot licks, and even a few scissor kicks. That Khan himself was often the most docile presence on stage should tell you all you need to know about his backing band.
Just as The Jim Jones Revue had done the year before, the Shrines turned traditional rock and soul tunes into full-on auditory assaults, strutting and riffing their way through an aggressive and overwhelming hour-long set. Never mind that half the lyrics had their tongue firmly in their cheek, or that Khan himself looked slightly uncomfortable in his headdress and glittering shirt. For audience buzz alone they scored as one of the hottest acts of the festival so far.
Of course, with two and a half days still to go, and plenty of other acts lined up in the wings, there’s still time for Khan to be dethroned. As an opening gambit, however, this looks like a coup.