10 Local Bands to Check Out at Bumbershoot

Bumbershoot, Local Music
Dusty Henry
Photo by Melissa Wax

Bumbershoot has been a local institution since 1972. Ask anyone who's lived here for even a few years and they'll likely be able to talk off your ear with stories of their first experience at the fest in Seattle Center. In 2017, the arts and music festival is continuing strong for another weekend under the all seeing eye of the Space Needle. The festival has long had a commitment to highlighting local artists and this year is no different. For our second year, KEXP is proud to host a stage in our Gathering Space, with a line-up heavy on local artists -- but it's not the only place to catch them. From hip-hop to pop rock, here are just a few of the can't miss Northwest acts at this year's Bumbershoot.


Acapulco Lips (Friday, 4:10 PM at the KEXP Stage)


Acapulco Lips craft sinister surf rock that's less about hitting the beach and soaking up the sun and more about how much fuzz you blare before your ear drums start to shake. The Seattle trio released their self-titled debut LP last year via Killroom Records, manifesting their murky energy into 30 minutes of killer riffs. But if you want to get the full Acapulco Lips experience, you have to get in the room with them as they blare out their cosmic surf tunes.

Aminé (Saturday, 6:15 PM at Key Arena)


Portland rapper Aminé is having a remarkable year. His debut LP, Good For You, reached 31 on the Billboard charts and the single "Caroline" is becoming a radio staple — it even showed up on So You Think You Can Dance! His set at Bumbershoot is sure to be part of his victory lap; something his music is uniquely suited for. With how vivacious Good For You sounds on headphones and speakers, imagine hearing it from the man himself while he's on top of the world. This likely won't be the last time he performs at a stadium, but don't miss him while he's on his ascent.

Crater (Sunday, 4:10 PM at the KEXP Stage)


Seattle's electronic scene continues to expand with some exciting and vital new talents with duo Crater chief among them. Their 2016 LP Talk to Me so I Can Fall Asleep is a remarkable blend of celestial textures and rock propulsion. It's an immersion to the black hole of the internet without losing the band's sense of humanity. Whether it's in the fiery sounds of a guitar or the pounding of a drum machine, Crater knows how to create mood and space.

Dave Depper (Sunday, 5:30 PM at the KEXP Stage)


Dave Depper's long been a utility player in the Northwest music scene, most notably jumping in on guitar for Death Cab For Cutie and performing with acts like Menomena, Fruit Bats, and Laura Gibson. But Depper has quite the remarkable solo career of his own, recently coming through with Emotional Freedom Technique, filled with the power pop prowess that no doubt caught the ears of his collaborators. This is a true PNW unsung hero and it's a rare treat to see him come through with a solo set like this.

Dude York (Friday, 5:30 PM at the KEXP Stage)


There are few joys in life that can compare to the energy that Dude York emits whenever they get on stage. Holding the self-proclaimed title of "America's Band", they absolutely live up to the hype. Sprawling guitar solos, jumping into the crowd, and exceptional banter are all just the icing on top of their expertly crafted hooks and thoughtful songwriting. If you've somehow missed Dude York over their years here in Seattle, I'm honestly a little envious that you get to experience it for the first time at Bumbershoot.

Filthy Friends (Friday, 7:40 PM at Mural Amphitheatre)


Filthy Friends' lineup is a veritable "who's who" of influential indie rock musicians. Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, The Fastback's Kurt Bloch, King Crimson's Bill Reiflin, and Young Fresh Fellows' Scott McCaughey all in one group? I believe that's what you call stacking the deck. What's even better is that they live up to the hype that comes with their names. Filthy Friends sounds like all the best parts of their most famous projects, energized with the lack of pretense or pressure that comes from their other groups. You'd be remiss to pass up on all this talent on one stage. (And if you can't make it to Bumbershoot, tune into KEXP on Saturday, September 2nd at 2:30 PM to hear an in-studio session from the band!)

J GRGRY (Friday, 3:45 PM at Mural Amphitheatre) 


When J GRGRY played the KEXP broadcast during Upstream (see the video above), it was a transcendent experience that ended up with frontman Joe Gregory, shirtless and covered in pink and silver paint, walking right out the door during the last song. There's a spirit of perseverance that runs deep in J GRGRY's music that feels uplifting without losing its teeth. The surging guitars and fluttering synthesizer whirls heighten the drama of Gregory's stirring vocals.

Moon Duo (Friday, 6:40 PM at the KEXP Stage)


If you want to indulge yourself in some serious psych at the fest, Portland's Moon Duo are the way to go. The Sacred Bones signees continue to push themselves to do things bigger and weirder, releasing two LPs this year -- Occult Architecture Vol. 1 and 2. This set is going to get heavy, so make sure you bring some ear buds.

Stas THEE Boss (Sunday, 3:20 PM at the Main Stage)


Stas THEE Boss has been defining Seattle's spacey hip-hop aesthetic since her time in THEESatisfaction. But like any great artist, she's continued to push herself into exciting and vital directions. Her latest solo release, S'WOMEN, ruminates on "failed female companionships" with iridescent rhymes that seem to glow as the float above Stas' dream-like, jazzy production. Having Stas on any stage is a gift, but opening up the main stage on Sunday is going to be something truly special.

Tacocat (Saturday, 6 PM at the Monster Energy Stage at Fisher Green)


Seattle can be grey three-quarters of the year (sometimes even more than that), which is why it's so important that Tacocat exists to give us an injection of color and vibrancy when we need it most. The pop punk quartet exudes joy with every chord they play and fist pumping chorus they unearth. Summer isn't over yet, so make sure you absorb the double dose of Vitamin D and Tacocat enthusiasm while you can.

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