Since we’re grown-ass ladies and wanted to conserve our energy, Renee and I decided to skip out on Friday’s Bumbershoot festivities and stay sober for the weekend (I mean, not counting all the weed we’re smoking, obvi). So we began our weekend adventure Saturday afternoon, after securing a totally free and untimed parking spot a few blocks away. First up was The Skins, fronted by the very animated and fierce powerhouse singer Bayli. The genre-bending band was down a bassist (Kaya Nico wasn’t feeling well) but still managed to slay my heart with their high-energy renditions of songs like “I,” “Runaway,” and “Bury Me.” I think we subconsciously knew the first and last acts of the day were going to be the highlights. The Skins were a polished act with original sound and mad stage presence. 

Oh, we also verified that actor, musician, and heart-throb Adrian Grenier (The Devil Wears Prada and Entourage) is associated with The Skins. Apparently the band was one of the first to record at his Wreckroom Records, and he’s also their manager.

There he is! On the far right!

We later bopped in to see Aminé and then E-40 at Key Arena, a venue that always comes with baggage. If you didn’t wait in a stupid-long line to get in or happen to have a photo pass, it’s just an annoying process to get in/out/around there. It also quickly became obvious that most of the rap performers of the weekend (Aminé, E-40, Leikeli47, Vince Staples, Gucci Mane) were all put in Key Arena, where they can control the crowd with a plethora of clueless security and arena staff—it seems that Bumbershoot organizers think hip-hop crowds are too rowdy to be at the outdoor stages. (Shocking.) That’s why Renee and I decided we’ll probably sacrifice the chance to see Vince Staples again on Sunday–even though we know from experience that he’s a great live performer—in order to snag a good spot for Solange at Memorial Stadium, AKA my favorite Bumbershoot venue. Key Arena just sucks all the fun out of it and the lighting in there is terrible anyway. Luckily, Renee is a pro and was still able to snap a few great shots of veteran West Coast rapper E-40.

As expected, the best act of the day by far was The Roots. And even though we knew it was going to be an amazing show, we were still shook by the time we got back to the condo. (SERIOUSLY, HOLY GOD DAMN SHIT!) Black Thought is one of the most impressive and versatile emcees I’ve ever seen live, and the band as a whole was just… [sigh]. Besides funky, groovy, mind-blowing and earth-shattering, I don’t know what else to call it. They also flawlessly performed a slew of covers including Lynyrd Syknyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “You Got Me,” by Erykah Badu. And right at the peak of their set, literal fireworks went off next to the beautiful and glowing Space Needle.

Photo courtesy: Jenni’s iPhone

It was truly a magical evening, a great day, and a perfect build-up to the grand finale (and main focus) tomorrow: Solange motherfucking Knowles.