Seattle band The Unnatural Helpers hit the Sub Pop stage Saturday afternoon and ripped through a set of garage punk in a quick and efficient manner. Led by drummer-lead singer Dean Whitmore the band barely took a breath between songs, as if they were worried that they would have to run out and feed the meter before getting a ticket.
They played a number of songs of their upcoming release Land Grab which, judging by the songs, represents a somewhat pissed off Whitmore. The songs are more aggressive and in your face than past efforts by the band. While the songs were all finely crafted and pulled off without a hitch on stage Saturday, they came across as somewhat hard to handle in the stunning sunshine that lit up the Bumbershoot grounds.
Whitmore belted out song after song while his band mates hunched over their instruments to provide the soundtrack for Whitmore’s ranting style. The one time they did pause to interact with the crowd they managed to take a shot at The Dave Matthews Band asking the audience if they were glad he was not at Bumbershoot.
While the Unnatural Helpers music is loud, catchy and clever in many ways their stage presence leaves you wanting a bit more. For a band that plays music as loud and catchy as they do you feel like you should be having more fun than you are watching them. You stand and watch them and it feels as if they are barely aware that there are people gathered to hear their music. Perhaps it was the setting, perhaps the Unnatural Helpers are more suited for a dark and crowded night club instead of a sun bathed grassy field.