It was time for the final day of Bumbershoot. Waking up Monday morning I was both worn out and amped off adrenaline. Not only was I about to catch more great music for a third day in a row I was going to be speaking to one of my favorite up and coming emcees, Kendrick Lamar.
That conversation will be coming in the near future, until then let me just say dude is very much who he is on record in real life.
After hanging out in the basement of the Key with a few other writers also waiting to talk with the CPT rep, I got my ten minutes (nothing like the last time I spoke with him, when I was the only one interested in dude) and was out. I got a little lost in the maze that is a stadium but found my way to the floor and joined a small crowd of teenagers.
As soon as the DJ hit the stage they stood up and more bodies approached. From my point of view it didn’t look like more than several hundred, Proof was in the stands and said it was closer to a thousand onlookers. Either way it was not the night before when Macklemore and Wiz had the place filled damn near to the brim.
Kendrick’s set was cool, not as energy filled as I had seen in the past but that is semantics. He delievered his spirited verses well, with his trademark flow that blows me away time and time again. He brought ScHoolBoy Q out and they traded some bars, but most the time Q just played hype man. Kendrick took a time out from the raps to tell the crowd a little about his youth and how his parents raised him. He closed the set out with “HiiiPower” and I’m sure had a few more supporters looking him up as he stomped off the stage.
Big Boi was up next and it was all hits all the time. He gave us an “appetizer” of some of the bigger Outkast jams before jumping into a few jams off his solo jawn and then went back to ‘Kast performing a medley of their older hits. While I enjoyed this it did also make me wish I was watching Big and Dre rather than Big with his weed carrier C-Bone. Unfortunately Bone got to perform two solo cuts which were quite detrimental to the flow of the set.
Mr. Patton didn’t let his homie get too much shine, jumping right back out front and center and hitting us with more grooves no one in there could deny. I missed him at the Showbox and may never get to see Outkast as a whole, I was smiling and grooving with the rest of the crowd eating up the history lesson he was laying down.
I left the Key and went straight to the Sky Church where WD4D was rocking out, tweaking nobs and pressing buttons on his computer, laying down a set of what I’m guessing was all original proudction. He chopped up some break beats, had a remix of a Blue Scholars jam that I’ve never been able to stand but was vibing with thanks to his treatment. After he went on they quickly changed the stage set up and Mash Hall got on. Having not seen them in ages it was fun to watch them party with the packed room. They performed most of their album and a few other jams I didn’t recognize but had to dip out before it was over to get my ears blessed by Charles Bradley.
If you dig soul music Mr. Bradley is one to hear. He comes across as the nicest man to ever grace a stage. He also would put most people’s “swagger” to shame. He let his band groove out for a few tunes, including the jam that Jay-Z made famous with his “Roc Boys” cut from a few years ago. As Charles Bradely strutted on stage and took a bow you knew something special was about to go down.
The Fisher Green stage was always so fitting for what music was going down on it. Every day of the weekend I was catching some awesome grooves to a slowly setting sun behind them. With the light shining through the trees and clear blue skies it always felt magical. As Charles belted out notes, worked his hips and danced with the microphone stand you knew you were watching a man from a different era, who knew the meaning of performance on a whole different level.
From that high it was time to depart. The festival had shown me much music and I’m happy to say I spend the weekend at the center. While Bumbershoot hadn’t been something I’d thought about the last few years, I won’t be ignoring it again any time soon – here’s hoping next year keeps up the excellent booking ideas and perhaps more collaboration with other local outlets to continue building it into something bigger.