Michael Franti & Spearhead at Bumbershoot 2016
Bumbershoot has changed quite a bit the past couple years with the management of AEG now booking and planning out the musicians and bands performing at Seattle’s longstanding music and arts festival. Lots of the bands are geared for a younger audience and as a result, there is more Hip-Hop and Electronic Dance Music than Blues, Roots, Country and World Music.
But with Michael Franti and Spearhead bringing their rockin’ reggae vibe and danceable funky sounds, the crowd was on their feet with exuberance. One of the few performers all weekend where the fans and band really connected. During their performance, Michael went out into the crowd where a small stage was set up for him to sing and dance with his fans.
I’ve now seen Michael Franti & Spearhead a couple times and his enthusiastic energy and positive songs are an uplifting experience. He has the ability to really get everyone involved and be a part of the music. With his opening songs, he even had a fan on stage with him singing the song with him, having her perform a solo section of the tune.
Michael’s band Spearhead is a talented crew to say the least. They played a fun and tight set providing some great solo moments from lead guitarist J Bowman and some funky bass lines from Carl Young. As I was photographing the gig, I wasn’t able to get a set list nor could I find one online, but nonetheless, Michael Franti & Spearhead was truly one of the many highlights from Bumbershoot.
Prior to his set at Bumbershoot, I was able to meet up with Michael following his on-air interview and performance at the studios of KEXP where the band played some songs and talked about their current tour and album. It was the first time I’ve met him and I’ve got to say he is one of the nicest guys. We went back to his hotel to take a few portrait photos, as he liked some of the architectural elements of the venue, which I am happy to share with No Depression.