Local overachievers Death Cab for Cutie proved an appropriate choice to close out the Bumbershoot festival in Seattle this weekend. The platinum-selling band that, as many Bumbershooters recalled, was playing to 200 people in their Bellingham, Washington hometown just a few years back, ably translated old and new songs to the stadium setting under a cloudy sky and the looming spire of the Space Needle. Singer Ben Gibbard, looking distinctly svelte, played solo acoustic on "I Will Follow You Into the Dark," a song he dedicated to previous mainstage act Superchunk. The band finished a four-song encore with "Transatlanticism" as a shower of sparks cascaded behind them.
On Sunday, T.I. made a bid for royal stature as Bumbershoot's only major hip-hop performer. He was backed by DJ Drama, a pair of hypemen, and various members of his entourage, all playing to a well-toasted afternoon crowd. He channeled one of last year's Bumbershoot highlights when he snatched the chorus of "Superstar" by Lupe Fiasco — who played the same Memorial Stadium stage in 2007 — and rapped his own verse from the remix.
Later that night, after the Stone Temple Pilots tour bus backed up to the Memorial Stadium stage 30 minutes late, singer Scott Weiland preened and scraped his voice dramatically to hits like "Creep," which meandered from full crowd sing-along to extended ambient jam, with Weiland mumbling a few lines from Bob Marley's "Redemption Song." "Wicked Garden," "Plush" and "Dead and Bloated" were played with polished, purposeful bombast. No new material from the band's rumored upcoming album made the set.
Beck headlined Saturday backed by a low-key female guitarist, a drummer, and a bassist — a minimalist turn after 2006's puppet-showing Information tour. They opened with "Loser" and charged through favorites from Odelay to Midnight Vultures. Halfway through, Beck and crew donned Radio Shack-ish headset mikes and took to the front of the stage with handheld drum machines and sequencers to play electro versions of "Ghettochip Malfunction" and "Black Tambourine" before the set dipped into material from Modern Guilt.
• The Saturday Knights, Howlin Rain Rule Bumbershoot's Second Stages