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Bassnectar Throws Down At Bumbershoot Despite Key Arena’s Best Efforts

Bassnectar Bumbershoot Key Arena

When you go to Bassnectar, it goes without saying that you’re getting the ultimate bass music experience. As one of the headliners in a Bumbershoot lineup decidedly light on dubstep, it’s safe to say he completely blew the roof off of Key Arena (as well as a few fuses in some speakers, but we’ll get to that soon).

From the moment the lights came on and the music kicked in, it was clear that every single person in the room wanted nothing less than gut-wrenching bass from start to finish. Not surprisingly, Bassnectar delivered in spades, covering everything from the beautiful melodic dub that was “Butterfly,” to the jazzy yet head-bangingly awesome feel of his remix of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good.” All of this would have made for arguably one of the best performances to come through Seattle all year were it not for the logistical nightmare that was Key Arena.

The way Bumbershoot has run their mainstage in recent years has been scattered and disorganized at best, and at worst it’s been downright difficult. Two years ago, they reduced GA prices on admission, but then added a surcharge for separate tickets into the mainstage area. After widespread discontent, they went back to their normal pricing system and moved it indoors from Memorial Stadium to Key Arena.

The biggest issue with moving the party indoors became painfully clear last year during M83’s set, when hundreds of people rushed the floor past security after the venue’s fire codes prevented it from being filled past half capacity (and that’s a generous estimate). This year, making it to the floor of the mainstage required a two hour wait in line, followed by another hour of sitting on the floor of Key Arena.

Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 3.29.30 PM

The floor of Key Arena during Bassnectar’s set, filled to half-capacity

Despite this, all was forgiven the second Bassnectar got the room on its feet and dancing. That is, until halfway through the set, when the speakers blew out for a full 5-10 minutes. Needless to say, a crowd that had waited nearly three hours to get into the venue was in no mood for technical difficulties. Even a power-outage wasn’t going to put a damper on the rest of the night though, as there was widespread cheering while everyone patiently waited.  Once the bass kicked back in, the night of unforgettable music was allowed to continue and the dancing began once again.

It says something about the pull of an artist when a crowd is willing to wait in line for as long as they did, as Bassnectar delivered a set that puts the ball in Destroid’s court come Freaknight for the title of Best Dubstep Act To Come Through Seattle. Perhaps the most defining moment of the night came right at the beginning, when overheard in the crowd was the following conversation:

“So you’ve never heard of Bassnectar before?

“No, never.”

“Well what do you think?”

“I get it now.”


Just one more Basshead converted to the cause. Hope to see you again next year Bumbershoot, only on a different mainstage if it’s not too much trouble.

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Written By

Pop culture junkie, dinosaur enthusiast, and proud Managing Editor. While an avowed basshead, has been known to be ever-so-slightly trance-curious under the right circumstances.

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