LABOR DAY WEEKEND. Pah! More like Lazy Day Weekend. These next three days are all about basking in the denial that school is back in session, white pants are once again faux pas and summer is about to be that dream you spend the rest of the year looking forward to. Last chance for end-of-the-year barbecues, campouts, dips in the lake, road trips and further procrastination on projects around the house and in the yard. That’s whassup. It’s also time for dueling Labor Day weekend festivals on both sides of the state: Pig Out in the Park in Riverfront Park and its bigger sister Bumbershoot in Seattle. Of course there are a few differences between the two that cater to both cities’ personalities. The artsy-fartsies on the West Side describe “Bumbersnoot” as an arts festival. Here in the Inland Northwest we call Pig Out exactly what it is, an extended weekend of indulgence. Aside from boasting some of the region’s and indeed the nation’s hottest bands, Bumbershoot also features art exhibits, independent films and more. As for Pig Out, the message is in the mascot. Nothing says “Spokane” like celebrating sloth and gluttony, that is, affordable food and free entertainment (nothing, except of course free food and cheap entertainment). Both events have some new flair this year.
With 50 bands and 45 restaurants participating, Pig Out has added a third stage this year. An acoustic rock band performs all weekend at the Howard Street Bridge Food Tent, which seats 150.
This year also has five more concerts than usual, including Tommy “867-5309” Tutone and a Kiss tribute band, promising to bring out the mullets and muscle shirts in all of us.
In addition to the top indie-rock bands such as The Pixies and Built to Spill, Bumbershoot has a focus on “modern global music” and hip-hop, including four days of emcee and B-boy battles finished with a concert by Nas and Public Enemy.
Whether you’re taking the road trip across the mountains or staying home, keep this list of sure-shots close by during one of the region’s grubbinest and groovinest weekends:
Seven shows worth staying in town for
Beacon Hill featuring Isaiah Dalager (Today, Saturday and Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the Howard Street Bridge Food Tent): After a successful series of performances at the New York International Musical Festival and similar festivals in Las Vegas and Los Angeles in 2003, Isaiah Dalager has joined bassist Chris Plummer and drummer Mikee McGill to form acoustic-rock act Beacon Hill. Roving magician Dick Frost will be on scene, as well.
Kiss Army (Today at 8:15 p.m. at the Clock Tower Stage): Complete with exact costumes, makeup, staging and explosive pyrotechnics, this tribute band has opened for Kiss at 10 official Kiss conventions.
Jim Boyd (Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the City Hall Stage): Boyd won the 2003 Native American Music Award for best pop/rock recording for his “Live” CD, recorded with his band, Kyo-T.
Paula Maya (Sunday at 3 p.m. at the City Hall Stage): From Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and now residing in Seattle, Maya is characterized as the Latin lovechild of Bjork and Kate Bush. Maya also appears Saturday night at Mootsy’s, 406 W. Sprague.
Civilized Animal (Sunday at 8 p.m. at the City Hall Stage): Funk-ska-hip-hop punk band releases its new album, “About Time,” at its Pig Out performance and B-Side afterparty (see Spin Cycle on page 5).
Tommy Tutone (Sunday at 8:15 p.m. at the Clock Tower Stage): One of the deepest scars from ‘80s pop-culture, Tutone’s 1982 hit “Jenny (867-5309)” drove telephone companies and their customers nuts. As recent as 1999, students with that number at Brown University complained of getting five “stupid” messages every day on their answering machines, in addition to a slew of hang-ups.
Men In The Making and The Trailer Park Girls (Monday at 4:00 p.m. at the City Hall Stage): Long-time Pig Out closer Men In The Making goes on early while Spokane boomer-pop satirist group The Trailer Park Girls plays at 6 p.m.
Seven shows worth the four-hour drive
Death Cab For Cutie (Today 6:30 p.m. at the Mainstage in Memorial Stadium): Since Death Cab’s songs have been heard on “The O.C.” and “Six Feet Under,” the Bellingham indie-rocker group has been getting high praise in the mainstream. It also contributed to the politically motivated Future Soundtrack for America compilation.
Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited (Saturday at 9 p.m. at the Bumbrella Stage on the Fisher Green): A legend in southern Africa, Mapfumo first became famous in the late 1970s from his protest songs against the apartheid regime. He is now regarded as a kind of Bob Marley figure. Mapfumo also was booked for Pig Out’s kickoff on Sept. 2.
Plastilina Mosh (Sunday at 6:15 p.m. at the Bumbrella Stage on the Fisher Green) and Control Machete (Monday at 3:15 p.m. at the Bumbrella Stage): Mexico’s most popular hip-hop export, Control Machete, is up for the Latin Grammy for best urban music artist. Mexican electro-rock band Plastilina Mosh is nominated for the Latin Grammy for best alternative music album.
The Walkmen (Sunday at 8:15 p.m. at the Backyard Stage on the Broad Street Lawn): From the ashes of Jonathan Fire-Eater rises a fresh brand of textured, guitar-driven rock that is hailed as the coolest thing this side of the Strokes.
Hip-Hop 101 with Nas and Public Enemy (Sunday from 7 p.m. at the Mainstage in Memorial Stadium): Four days of emcee and B-boy battles and workshops culminated with a concert by street poet Nas and original political lyrical rebel Public Enemy.
The Killers (Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the What’s Next Stage at the Exhibition Hall): Hyped as the next big thing in indie-rock, Las Vegas’ The Killers are causing a major fuss with audacious glam and synth-filled ‘80s colorings.
Pixies, Built to Spill (Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Mainstage in Memorial Stadium): Two of indie-rock’s finest on one stage. This show is not to be missed.