Indie pop darlings Mates of State — Kori Gardner (organ) and Jason Hammel (drums) — lulled the crowd with lush melodies and moving lyrics when they took the stage under Seattle’s Space Needle. The husband-wife duo started their set with “Fraud in the 80s,” whose hook promises, “you will surely find this pleasing to your ears.”
And the pair made good on this oath despite the whirlwind schedule that kept them busy up until their show. “Just this week we’ve been to a funeral, a baptism, and traveled across the country,” Gardner told SPIN.com, before adding they flew into Seattle just two hours before their performance.
Onstage, Hammel was prepared to offer excuses for their fatigue but realized he didn’t have to. “I thought we were jetlagged, but it disappeared,” he announced as the pair launched into a perky ditty. During it, he and Gardner shared glances and several laughs, winning over the hearts of tough critics.
“I’m usually not into stuff that sounds really poppy,” confessed Natalie Weiss, 24, from Brooklyn. “But the fact they’re married, tour together, and make songs people enjoy is kind of cheesy, but I’m into it.”
Mates of State also offered a shout-out to Ice Cube before “Goods,” adding to the rumor the rapper-turned-actor-turned-rapper was in the crowd. Though no one spotted Ice Cube during the set, he was, apparently, seen on the pair’s flight to Seattle.
Getting their hip-hop fix across the festival grounds were those who made it to Rishi Rich Project, a trio featuring London-born musician Rishi Rich, Punjabi vocalist Juggy D, and singer Jay Sean. “Dance With You” was rapped in both English and Punjabi and during it, the collective jumped atop the speakers and spun around with dizzying enthusiasm.
“This is a little exercise to see if Seattle can jump,” guest vocalist Wayne Wonder yelled at the few lone audience members standing still. “Our flight here took 12 hours. We’re gonna want to see more than that.”
The crowd took the criticism well. “My friends left me because I was dancing weird,” said Jessica Jones, 20, from Seattle. “But I don’t even care.” ERIKA HOBART
PHOTOS BY JULIA SALAMONIK
At Bumbershoot ’06, Spin is on the ground with our college correspondent program. Eight college students — four writers, four photographers — earned the opportunity to cover the festival for SPIN.com, live, all weekend long. Sound appealing? Stay tuned to SPIN.com for future opportunities to apply for our college correspondent program!