Asian America at Bumbershoot

By Charles Lam
Northwest Asian Weekly

This year’s Bumbershoot, scheduled to take place Labor Day Weekend (Aug. 31 – Sept 2) at the Seattle Center, is set to be one of the largest Bumbershoots in recent history due to a refreshed, Seattle-friendly line up.

It’s no surprise then that this year’s acts feature more Asian Americans than, well, ever.

Thao and The Get Down Stay Down

Thao and The Get Down Stay Down

Thao Nguyen was raised in Falls Church, Virginia as the child of a single mother. She eschewed the idea of a traditional job early and started learning how to play guitar at the age of 12, often practicing at her mother’s laundromat.

Now based out of San Francisco, Nguyen delivers strong modern alternative folk with musical partner-in-crime Adam Thompson, who delivers vocals and plays bass and keyboard. The duo performs as Thao and The Get Down Stay Down and have headlined and supported on multiple national tours, playing with Xiu Xiu and Rilo Kiley.

The duo’s music is infectious and exciting, full of smart songwriting and unlikely surprises, a definite must see at Bumbershoot.

Thao and The Get Down Stay Down perform Saturday, Aug. 31 at the Fountain Lawn Stage from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.



Atlanta-based indie rock group Deerhunter will be making their first visit to Seattle since their 2010 show at the Showbox. Since then, the band has released its sixth studio album, performed on national TV, and played sets at national and international music festivals.

Their brand of thumpy alternative rock music is unlike many other indie rock bands, mostly forgoing any and all synth. Rather, the band relies on clean guitars, heavy rhythmic bass, and the tangy warm voice of lead singer Bradford Cox.

The music the guitars are anchored in the drumming of band cofounder and drummer Moses Archuleta, who is half-Korean through his mother.

Deerhunter perform Monday, Sept. 2 at the Fountain Lawn Stage from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Ivan and Alyosha

Ivan and Alyosha

Hometown heroes Ivan and Alyosha are a four-piece indie band playing out of Seattle. Formed in 2007, the band garnered attention from NPR and other radio stations for their performances at Austin’s South by Southwest in 2010.

In February of this year, the band finally released their first full-length album, “All the Times We Had,” a vintage-feeling ode to the pop folk days of yore full of hopeful vocal harmonies, glittering guitars, and mellow bass.

Electric guitarist and vocalist Tim Kim’s finger work pushes Ivan and Alyosha into a new level of complexity and giving the backing instruments just as much strength as the four-part vocal work.

Ivan and Alyosha perform Monday, Sept. 2 at the Plaza Stage from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30  p.m.

The Flavr Blue

The Flavr Blue

Seattle-based synth-pop trio The Flavr Blue are playing Bumbershoot after a stint at the Capitol Hill Block Party.

The band’s brand of ethereal, hypnotic pop music is entrancing and insanely danceable, due in part to hapa musician, singer, and rapper Hollis Wong-Wear’s strong synth and vocals.

The group has already sold out multiple Seattle shows, and their sets are guaranteed to impress, due in part to visuals designed by David Kwan, art director of the Decibel Festival.

In addition to anchoring The Flavr Blue, Wong-Wear also recently found success with another Seattle musical act, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. She provided writing talent on two tracks, White Walls and Wing$, of the duo’s Gold-certified album “The Heist,” and she also provided vocals on White Walls.

The Flavr Blue perform Saturday, Aug. 31 at the TuneIn Stage from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Rise Over Run

Rise Over Run

Akira Barrett and Brandon Chang are Rise Over Run, a DJ duo hell bent on creating some of the most danceable electronic dance music in Seattle.

The pair’s music have taken them all over Seattle and on a Southwest Asia tour, which they completed in 2012. In the United States, they’ve opened for DJs including Martin Solveig, Dash Berlin, and Designer Drugs as well as played after parties for Kaskade and Justive. If you like to dance, you have to check these guys put.

Rise Over Run perform Sunday, Sept. 1 at EDM at EMP from 7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

Red Baraat

Red Baraat

Brooklyn-based Red Baraat are an eight-piece band bringing together American brass, hip-hop, and jazz with North Indian bhangra music.

The group has performed at the flagship TED Conference and on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series and is now making its way to Seattle, after which the band will go on a tour of India.

Their brand of bhangra is different, full of sousaphone, saxophone, tombone, trumpet, tuba, and nearly every other brass instrument save for the French horn. It’s hip, it’s addicting, and it’s heavily danceable.

Red Baraat perform Monday, Sept. 2 at the TuneIn Stage from 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Au Lac Vovinam

Vietnamese Lion Dance team Au Lac Voivinam will be making an appearance during Youngershoot, Bumbershoot’s kid-friendly programming slate. Focused on preserving and promoting Vietnamese culture through martial arts and lion dancing, the group are sure to be a hit for the kids. (end)

Au Lac Vovinam perform Saturday, Aug. 31 at the Kids Zone from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Bumbershoot tickets are available online at

Charles Lam can be reached at

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One Response to “Asian America at Bumbershoot”

  1. Rock n roll. This is absolute truth


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