Bumbershoot 2017, Day Two: Junius Meyvant

Bumbershoot, Live Reviews
09/03/2017
Gabe Pollak
all photos by Morgen Schuler

"Only 340 more songs to go," said Icelandic soul singer Júníus Meyvant, hiding a sly grin under a thick red beard at the start of his set at the KEXP Gathering Space Stage on Saturday evening. Fans on the concrete floor in front of him, sitting like children arranged around a teacher, chuckled. Though Meyvant, who hadn't even played a song yet, was joking, the crowd probably wouldn't have complained if Meyvant and his band decided to extend his set at least a few songs. His warm, soothing music -- reminiscent of Ray LaMontagne or Michael Kiwanuka -- is the kind you could listen to for days and not tire of. In fact, it'd probably do you some good. During the Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival, it sure did.

Meyvant's performance of music from 2016's Floating Harmonies provided a welcome reprieve from the commotion going on outside of the station walls. Compared to the bass-blasting, laser light-shooting shows going on around Seattle Center this weekend, Meyvant's set offered fans a particularly intimate experience, one where you could really hear everything going on at the venue, from Meyvant's loosely spiritual lyrics and his band's majestic musical support to the sound of plastic cup crinkling on the ground. During quieter moments, as Meyvant played his guitar solo without the backing of his band, the crowd hung completely on Meyvant every word. When Meyvant did finish his show, not 340, but nine songs after picking his first lick, the audience finally stood, not to dash off for Weezer or Conor Oberst, but to give Meyvant the recognition he deserved: a loud and loving standing ovation for a set of soul-restoring music.

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