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Originally published Friday, September 2, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Night Watch

Talented local women well represented at Bumbershoot

"It's a man's, man's, man's world," according to James Brown. Hey now, Mr. Brown, get down and come check out Seattle — the music...

"It's a man's, man's, man's world," according to James Brown.

Hey now, Mr. Brown, get down and come check out Seattle — the music scene here is getting to be a woman's, woman's, woman's world.

Just how female-dominated Seattle could become is evidenced by Bumbershoot 2005's local lineup, which is filled with rising stars.

The women — and sometimes girls — of Bumbershoot are led by Smoosh, Jesse Sykes, Pat Wright, Andrea Zollo, Ryann Donnelly and Anna Oxygen. It's a diverse, talented bunch that shows the depth of Seattle female musicianship. (And that doesn't include the likes of Brandi Carlile, budding alt-pop songwriter Laura Veirs, Bre Loughlin, sub popper Rosie Thomas, Willow, Paula Maya and other powerful female performers not in this year's Bumbershoot.)

"Booking female-driven acts was not really a conscious decision (although it's certainly good to be able to when I can)," said Chris Porter, who books the local bands for Bumbershoot producers One Reel. He e-mailed that he looks for three things when booking locals:

"1: Find bands that have a buzz and/or good draw in this market.


"Bumbershoot: The Seattle Arts Festival," 11 a.m.-11 p.m. today through Monday, Seattle Center; $28 a day, $45 two-day pass, $80 four-day pass, $8 a day for kids 6-12 (with an adult) and seniors 65 and over, kids 5 and younger free; (206-628-0888, tickets available at Ticketmaster or visit Bumbershoot online).

2: Book a wide range of styles.

3: Book acts that didn't play last year (with occasional exceptions).

"It just so happens that there are a lot of very creative women in our area that are making really interesting music these days."

Bands rarely are more interesting than Smoosh, Seattle's preteen pop princesses. At the rate they're going, Asya and Chloe might be their generation's Gates & Allen (Microsmoosh?).

They've been featured in People, Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Jane and NME, recently did another tour, have been on Letterman and NPR, opened for Pearl Jam and Sleater-Kinney ... The Smooshettes are squeezing Bumbershoot into their busy schedules, between New York shows at the Knitting Factory and the CMJ festival, and soon will hit the studio to record a second full-length, to be produced by their guru, Jason McGerr — the Death Cab for Cutie drummer.

While Smoosh is as charming as a pair of puppies, they are also almost eerily talented. Asya, the singer-writer, crafts straightforward pop mini-gems that would make Brian Wilson smile.

Smoosh is scheduled to play at 4:45 p.m. today at EMP's Sky Church, where many of the local bands will be performing. Smoosh will be preceded there by the hyper-pop of Anna Oxygen, then followed by the harder rock bands Razrez (6:15), Akimbo (7:45) and the Ruby Doe (9:15).

Vicci Martinez, Tacoma's young folk-pop sensation, continues to follow in Carlile's footsteps. She plays today on the Broad Street Lawn at 4:30.

Other local highlights today are the hip-hop duo Blue Scholars, 6:30 at Exhibition Hall, and Reggie Watt's soul-funk band Maktub, 8:45 on the Bumbrella Stage.

• On Saturday, Sarah McCulloch's mesmerizing voice kicks things off when her trip-hop band the Fading Collection plays at 12:30 p.m. in the Northwest Court Lounge.

Michiko Swiggs croons jittery Japanese-pop with the often-brilliant experimental rock band IQU, Sky Church at 4:45.

Rachel Flotard and the rest of Visqueen — but not Kim Warnick, now retired — crank up power pop at 5:30 p.m. at Exhibition Hall.

The dazzling Radiohead disciples Mercir (1:45, Sky Church) and indie rockers Minus the Bear (9 p.m., Exhibition Hall) are two other great local attractions at the 'shoot on Saturday.

• On Sunday, Pat Wright — best known for her gospel singing — recalls her earlier years singing soul/funk, as part of a collection of old-school Seattleans called Wheedle's Groove. Overton Berry, Ron Buford and others jam with Wright at the Mural Amphitheater stage at 1:45 p.m.

Ryann Donnelly vamps from faux-opera to horror pop with the exciting young band Schoolyard Heroes, 4 p.m., Exhibition Hall. Andrea Zollo will screech away on the same stage at 7, with her hot indie-punk band Pretty Girls Make Graves (touring lately with Franz Ferdinand).

At McCaw Hall, the intoxicating voice of Jesse Sykes will waft over the dynamic alt-country music of her band, the Sweet Hereafter, at 7:30.

• Monday is a little light for local female performers, although newcomer Choklate, who blends hip hop, gospel and soul, will sing at 5 p.m. at the Bumbrella Stage.

Sky Church is the place to be again for local talent on Monday, with Bellingham electro-scream duo Idiot Pilot (4:45), extravagantly layered instrumental rock band Kinski (6:15) and hip-hop crew Boom Bap Project (9:20).

Tom Scanlon:

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