Bumbershoot Review Day 2: Blitzen Trapper Howl at the Moon

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In many ways the closing slots on the minor stages are the easiest draw of any music festival. The crowds have swelled, the beer gardens are full, the darkness lends your set an added patina of cool. Even an average band can look great under cover of night.

In Blitzen Trapper‘s case, however, they didn’t need any help. The band has a major following in the Northwest anyway, but the crowd turned up in droves, the rock fans driven out of the KeyArena by the imposing rap hordes of Mac Miller. More importantly, though, Blitzen Trapper delivered a killer set, their twangy indie Americana inspiring everything from mosh pits to square dancing. All it needed was a few jars of moonshine and the atmosphere would have been just perfect.

Instead they had to make do with the moon itself, sitting bright and heavy behind the Space Needle for most of their set. Their latest album, American Goldwing, relies heavily on Skynyrd-styled classic rock, but when they switched back to old favorites from Furr the backdrop couldn’t have been more ideal. As Eric Earley sang the title track you could almost feel the hairs on your neck rising. I guess we should all be thankful that moon wasn’t full.

The failure of the new songs to ignite the same kind of spark among the audience was a slight disappointment, but with the bar set so high we’d have been fools to expect another Furr. Instead the crowd wrapped the dark around itself and settled into their rock-folk groove, for what was indisputably one of the day’s best performances. Let’s hope they find their furr again sometime soon.

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