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Bumbershoot: So much to see, so much to hear

Decisions, decisions: Bumbershoot offers 120 bands spread over Labor Day weekend at the Seattle Center.

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By Andy Rathbun
Herald Writer
Around 120 bands are playing Bumbershoot 2008 this Labor Day weekend.
The lineup includes superstars -- Beck on Saturday, Death Cab for Cutie on Monday -- and up-and-comers, like New Faces.
To help you sift through that three-day musical glut, we offer this walk through the festival lineup.
Start your day at 12:30 p.m. with New Faces, a young Port Townsend band playing EMP/SFM's Sky Church. The group traffics in dance-friendly rock, like Franz Ferdinand.
From there, hustle over to the Samsung Mobile Mainstage for Neko Case at 1 p.m. The singer won't be appearing with her supergroup, the New Pornographers, so expect the set to tilt toward Americana-infused indie songs.
Then sit tight for Lucinda Williams, taking the same stage at 2:45 p.m. The famed country singer plans to release "Little Honey" this October, so figure to hear new material.
After grabbing some food, flip a coin. If you get heads, go catch Estelle at 5:45 p.m. on the Fisher Green Stage. Critics love this British singer, who dabbles in soul and hip-hop. If the coin lands on tails, go see the Walkmen on the Rockstar Stage at 5:45 p.m. The atmospheric New York indie rockers are hard to classify, but easy to love.
Hustle back over to the mainstage by 7:30 p.m. for Band of Horses. The anthemic group has hometown ties thanks to its label, Seattle's Sub Pop Records.
As soon as that group's finished, sprint to the 8:45 p.m. set by Nada Surf on the Starbucks Stage. Another group known for its soaring guitars, the trio is on Seattle's Barsuk Records.
If all that uplifting rock starts feeling a bit tired, cut short your stay to catch Beck. The alt-rock hero headlines the mainstage at 9:15 p.m.
Granted, Beck can be an erratic live performer. If he strikes out, swing by the Fisher Green Stage for the feverish dance music of !!!, at 9:15 p.m., or the Rockstar Stage for terrific indie folk singer M. Ward, at 9:30 p.m.
While activities start at 11 a.m., the first big-name set belongs to R&B singer Keyshia Cole, who takes the mainstage at 2 p.m. She's followed by T.I., a rapper who landed atop the charts with "T.I. vs T.I.P." in 2007. He could preview songs from his next album, "Paper Trail," out in September.
After cruising by some art booths, get ready to gorge on music.
The Exhibition Hall Stage hosts the Weakerthans at 6:45 p.m. Esquire magazine has emphasized the charms of this Canadian folk-punk act. Then, Jakob Dylan, performing without the Wallflowers, plays the Starbucks Stage at 7 p.m. And at 7:45 p.m., the Black Keys brings its garage rock to the mainstage.
If the Keys aren't doing it for you, cut short your stay and head over to the 8 p.m. set by the Hands at EMP/SFM's Sky Church. The group plays rock like the Rolling Stones, circa 1970. Or you could go catch Brother Ali spitting out rhymes on the Exhibition Hall Stage at 8:45 p.m.
Finally, check out Stone Temple Pilots on the mainstage at 9:15 p.m. to see if the 1990s alt-rock stars made the right decision reuniting earlier this year.
On the festival's last day, Paramore provides the first big draw at 1:45 p.m. The pop-punkers breakthrough album, "Riot!" has produced a string of unavoidable hits on rock radio.
Paramore is followed up by the Offspring, but if that's too much mainstream punk for you, head over to the Rockstar Stage at 2:30 p.m. There, Oregon's Blitzen Trapper is bound to please with its folky rock.
Sit tight for Two Gallants at 4:15 p.m. Despite coming out of San Francisco, this duo deals in lo-fi Southern blues.
After grabbing some food, you could catch Flobots at 6 p.m. on the Exhibition Hall Stage. The group's catchy hip-hop anthem "Handlebars" lit up mainstream rock radio this summer.
Granted, if you can't stomach a group called Flobots, just head straight to the Starbucks Stage for the Old 97's at 6:45 p.m. The 1990s alt-country faves put out "Blame It on Gravity" earlier this year, marking a return to form.
Then, zip over to see Battles at 7:45 p.m. on the Rockstar Stage. The group uses keyboards, drums and guitars in their math rock. Or, if weird time signatures aren't your thing, catch Superchunk on the mainstage at the same time.
Then you've got a decision: Do you go to the Wells Fargo Stage at 8:30 p.m. to see folk singer Sondre Lerche, who scored the Steve Carrell movie "Dan in Real Life"? Or hit the Starbucks Stage at 8:45 p.m. for former Soul Coughing front man Mike Doughty? Well, either way, you win.
At 9:15 p.m., Death Cab for Cutie closes the mainstage. The Bellingham group hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 for the first time with its latest album, this year's "Narrow Stairs."
If you're burnt out on hearing Ben Gibbard sing "I Will Possess Your Heart," though, zip by the Rockstar Stage at 9:30 p.m. to hear Seattle's Minus the Bear close out the festival.

Reporter Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455 or
Story tags » Community festivalsMusicSeattle

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