Following the release of their debut album, Pisces, last year, synth-pop trio The Flavr Blue has been igniting parties from their hometown of Seattle to New York City with driving bass, shimmering melodies, dazzling visuals and a lot of verve. Featuring vocals from all three members, the band’s music ranges from bright and dreamy to sultry and moody, and their live performances are infamous for being highly energetic and extremely fun.
A wildcard entry into the finals of EMP’s 21-and-under SoundOff! competition in January, MC Dave B and his band came from behind to take home a surprising victory against some other very talented Northwest bands. Wowing the audience with their soulful hip hop, Dave and his collaborators won the hearts of judges and audience members alike. On top of earning spots at Bumbershoot and the Capitol Hill Block Party, Dave released his most recent work, The Coffee EP, in the spring of 2013.
Seattle's Down North masterfully mixes underground rock and party-fueling soul, regularly lifting up audiences that have been craving new sounds from the city that gave the world Wheedle’s Groove and Jimi Hendrix. A Craigslist ad connected the band's two original members and the collective recently expanded to include many other award-winning musicians and collaborators. Known for delivering dazzling grooves during their live sets, the group promises to provide a fresh, warm, loving, soul-centered sound for crowds who simply want to dance.
Robert Glasper Experiment’s Black Radio took home the 2013 Grammy for Best R&B Album. The innovative album led Rolling Stone to remark “pianist Robert Glasper heads down the fraught path of hip hop jazz and gets it right… with music this smart and inviting, the implied ids of mainstream doesn’t feel like sour grapes; it feels like a blueprint forward.”
Growing up in Falls Church, VA, Thao Nguyen first picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and began performing in a pop country duo in high school. She has since worked with many acclaimed artists, including Andrew Bird and Mirah, also recording a trio of critically-acclaimed records with The Get Down Stay Down—beginning with 2008’s We Brave Bee Stings and All and culminating with this year’s We The Common, an album which sings with synth-string flourishes, banjo pickings, honking saxophones, and fuzzy guitars.
ZZ Ward’s honey-smoked vocals and Tina Turner-inspired swagger ensnare listeners from the opening moments of the stomping title track to her debut album, Til The Casket Drops, while her cool, R&B-flavored jams continue to hold audiences in their hypnotic sway. She calls her flavor of music “dirty shine”—the bone-deep wail of old-fashioned blues crossed with the big-city gloss of cutting-edge hip hop. Buzz-building appearances on Conan andGood Morning America, collaborations with Kendrick Lamar and Fitz and the Tantrums, and a tour co-headlining with Delta Rae have fueled her emergence as a promising, soulful siren.
Country rock/folk duo Gus + Scout (Gus Wenner and Scout Willis) were childhood friends who lived on the same street in Hailey, Idaho but lost touch until they both wound up at Brown University in Rhode Island and rekindled their friendship through music. Their self-titled debut EP was released last year, with the single "Gone, Gone, Gone" quickly gaining attention and acclaim.
Founded in 1973 by Pastor Patrinell “Pat” Wright, the Total Experience Gospel Choir has sung in at least 38 states and 22 countries, performed for President Bill Clinton and appeared on fellow Seattleite Dave Matthews’s song “Save Me.” With choir members from all ages and backgrounds, this soulful ensemble bursts with love, joy, and enthusiasm—and audiences respond in kind.
Vocalist and folk songwriter Kris Orlowski writes from an unguarded place with an accessibility that is delightfully tangible on stage and off. His uncanny flair for crafting emotionally rich songs will have you tapping your toes even as your heartstrings are being tugged. Orlowski’s recently released five-song EP features a 17-piece orchestra and showcases his backing band’s evolution while retaining a core of tightly crafted songwriting.
Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience is a multimedia tribute to Bonham's father, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, featuring live renditions of the band's classic tunes, rare home movies and concert footage, plus storytelling by the younger Bonham. Bonham was asked to open for Heart after performing Led Zeppelin songs with Ann and Nancy Wilson at last year's Kennedy Center Honors, which recognized his late father's band with a Lifetime Achievement award.
Saturday August 31, 2013 8:30pm - 9:15pm
No matter if he’s playing to thousands of people in Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, or at one of his multiple club residencies, Seattle DJ Hyperfunk has the precision quick mixing and a crate full of floor burners to keep your feet bouncing. Armed with multiple genres and a mission to give you a reason to throw your hands up, Hyperfunk delivers what it takes to rock the party.
Saturday August 31, 2013 9:00pm - 10:00pm
EDM at EMP
Sounding not unlike a cross between Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Waits, Sallie Ford has established herself as one of the most powerful and unusual female voices in indie rock. On 2013’s Untamed Beast, Sallie Ford and her band create a powerful statement on finding freedom through defying conformity. Through clever and often racy turns of phrase, Ford twists traditional notions of gender and genre, finding the sweet spot between modern and vintage sounds.
With a history that reaches back almost as far as Bumbershoot itself, it's surprising that 2013 marks Heart's first appearance at its hometown festival. Recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Ann and Nancy Wilson have spent the past four decades breaking sound and gender barriers, crafting timeless rock and roll that's as full of power as it is beauty.
Saturday August 31, 2013 9:45pm - 11:15pm
Maceo Parker has played with each and every leader of funk, from his start with James Brown—which Parker describes as “like being at a university”—to jumping aboard the mothership with George Clinton. He is the living, breathing pulse that connects the history of funk in one golden thread. His diverse collaborations over the years—with artists such as Ray Charles, Ani Difranco, James Taylor, De La Soul, Dave Matthews Band, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers—have formed alliances that have enabled him to bring his talent to new, widespread audiences.
Kithkin, an indisputably high-energy band that marries rock music and heavy percussion, has been busy making moves since their arrival on the scene as EMP’s SoundOff! semi-finalists in 2011. Constantly performing shows at house parties and legit venues alike, Kithkin released a highly-acclaimed EP and have already garnered international attention. With influences ranging from Talking Heads to traditional African music and an overt affection for nature-based themes and random mischief, Kithkin creates a joyous sound all their own.
The Mowgli’s are a quintessential California band made up of three Midwestern transplants and five childhood friends from LA’s San Fernando Valley. Inspired by the magnetism of San Francisco, the grind of Los Angeles, and the serenity of Big Sur, the band’s songs are a joyous revival of rock and roll, twisting indie-folk dance, and heartfelt protest ballads.
fun. has not stopped living up to its name since its 2009 debut, Aim & Ignite. Formed by Nate Ruess, previously of The Format, this New York indie pop band became a national sensation with their latest release, Some Nights. Last year, the TV series Glee featured their ubiquitous single “We Are Young”—a tune that earned the band six Grammy nominations including nods in the “Big Four” categories, making fun. the first indie rock act to achieve such a feat.
Sunday September 1, 2013 3:30pm - 4:45pm
In 2010, vocalist Ty Taylor and guitarist Nalle Colt teamed up with drummer Richard Danielson and bassist Rick Bario Dill to create Vintage Trouble. Immediately clicking as a group, the band recorded an album’s worth of material in three days. These recordings,The Bomb Shelter Sessions, combined with their electric live show, catapulted the Los Angeles-based band into the limelight and earned them an opening slot on The Who’s recent tour along with critical praise from NPR, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times.
After nearly a decade as Matt Pond PA, this year the singer-songwriter Matt Pond has removed the “PA” from his name, to coincide with the release of his first solo album. That record, The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand, is a collection of melodic, catchy gems that wouldn’t sound out of place on a John Hughes movie soundtrack. Even if Pond’s name doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve probably heard his work on the small and big screens, possibly in a Starbucks holiday commercial, in the film Lebanon, PA (for which he wrote the score), or on the television program The OC.
Known for their infectious onstage energy and charming, oddball music videos, Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino have made a name for themselves as an endearing and energetic duo. The couple merges indie, pop, and electronic music, putting on live shows that are more like dance parties than traditional concerts. After four albums and six years of touring, they remain delightfully resistant to one-dimensional categorization, their music percolating brightly with hints of hip hop, punk, techno, and nearly everything in between.
After spending high school honing her talents and playing farmer’s markets in Tacoma, Vicci Martinez began independently releasing music and touring the country. After her decade of experience in the music industry, it was NBC’s music competition The Voicethat opened doors for the next phase of her career in 2011. After landing among the top four Voice finalists due to her riveting, roaring performances, Martinez made her major label debut via Universal Republic in 2012.
Hot Bodies in Motion was formed in a dimly lit Seattle basement in early 2010. With inescapable guitar hooks, pulsing rhythms, and vintage vibe, the band’s commanding blend of blues, soul, and throwback R&B is equal parts sensual and fervent. Imagine a hybrid of Stevie Wonder and Stevie Ray Vaughn, give or take a beard and some flannel. Zealous gospel harmonies and earnest lyrics of self-awareness showcase a sound that comes to life with soulful swagger.
Even before the release of their debut single, favorable comparisons came quickly for the British quartet alt-J, with their music described as “Nick Drake meets gangsta rap,” and likened to In Rainbows-era Radiohead. Veering wildly from psychedelic avant-pop to skeletal folktronica, alt-J's sound highlights understated beauty one minute and epic oddities the next, tackling everything from bullfighting to the heroic life of 1930s war photographer Gerda Taro. Winning the coveted British Mercury Prize in 2012 and appearing on the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film Silver Linings Playbook propelled alt-J’s career to new heights, helping them gain a wide international following.
Monday September 2, 2013 2:00pm - 3:00pm
Kinky has become one of the most important bands in the Latin American rock-electronica scene of the last decade. The five-piece band is known for their energetic live shows as much as their recordings. Drawing from funk-rock as well as electronic dance music music and crafting a unique hybrid that has garnered them an international following. The band has received multiple nominations from both the Latin Grammys and the Latin MTV Video Music Awards, as well as the honor of penning the theme song for the L.A. Galaxy.