Folklife Festival Recommendations for 2012
The Northwest Folklife Festival takes over the Seattle Center beginning today. It’s not the only music festival in the Northwest this Memorial Day Weekend (there’s some little thing going on at The Gorge about now, too). But it’s a Northwest tradition, admission’s free, and it’s always no end of fun.
Folklife’s never had much hipster cache (too inclusive, too family-friendly), but a contingent of local acts from Seattle’s indie rock, indie-folk, and soul scenes will be there alongside the traditional ethnic and folk musicians and dancers. Kudos to Folklife’s programmers for introducing Folklife’s broad demographic to some great original Northwest sounds.
Definitely take a gander at Folklife’s full calendar: There’s just too much great stuff going down. But here’s an incomplete list of some of the Folklife performers that we at the SunBreak are especially excited about:
Today (Friday, May 25)
Love Bomb Go Go (3:15, Indie Roots Stage at Broad Street), Orkestar Slivovica (6:30, Fountain Lawn Stage): Multi-culti marching bands with arch theatrical touches are becoming a genre unto themselves, and these ensembles do it right. Love Bomb is a very new Portland ensemble, while Orkestar invade from north of the border (Vancouver) to ply a more traditional brand of Balkan dance music.
Rambling Man: The Life, Times, and Music of Woody Guthrie (8pm, Intiman Choral Courtyard): Folk ensemble The Wanderers have been playing for longer than most of us have been alive, and they’re celebrating the life and tunes of America’s greatest folk troubadour by covering a slew of his songs during this set. Show some respect, kids–and get ready to sing along.
Bollywood Seattle Performers (9:35, International Dance Stage at Exhibition Hall): If you find nothing in the world more hypnotic than the spectacle of Bollywood dancers whirling in time to the mesmerizing rhythmic purr of traditional Indian music, stay late tonight for Bollywood Seattle’s presentation.
Saturday, May 26
Shelby Earl (1:30, Indie Roots Stage at Broad Street): Earl’s dusky and full voice–and her strong, rootsy songs–have been enlivening the local roots scene for a couple of years now, and those pipes never disappoint, live.
Dirty Scientifix (5:25, Vera Project Gallery): It’s always great to hear some hip-hop at Folklife, and this crew’s combo of dub, positive vibes, and Digital-Underground-esque old school beats and rhymes will get the Vera bumping.
Fort Union, Kris Orlowski, Smokey Brights, Big Sur (Indie Roots Stage, 7:00): This great cross-section of indie-folk artists covers the gamut, replete with tinges of the angularly-modern (Fort Union) to raspily-alluring (Orlowski) to heart-on-sleeve balladeering (Smokey Brights) to timelessly-resonant Gram Parsons-esque songwriting (Big Sur).
The Bad Things (9:20, Vera Project): Best drunken cabaret band in Seattle. Period.
Wheedle’s Groove (9:55, Mural Amphitheatre): Self-promotion alert: The SunBreak is proud to sponsor the stage for this sure-to-be-cooking set from the collective of legendary Seattle funk and soul musicians known as Wheedle’s Groove. Truth be told, though, we’d be shouting its praises even if our name wasn’t on it. If you ain’t dancing, you must be dead.
Sunday, May 27
Artist Home Showcase featuring Curtains for You, Koko and the Sweetmeats, Cumulus, and Dude York (3pm, Indie Roots Stage): Artist Home’s showcase slingshots between Curtains for You’s stunning power pop, the spare and enchantingly low-key femme-fronted Cumulus, and Dude York’s precise slam of a math-rock/garage brew. It’s also reputedly Koko and the Sweetmeats‘ final gig, so get their great echoey blend of rockabilly and mournful folk while you can.