June 02, 2011

Sasquatch Wrap-Up

Half of WTTB made the trek this past weekend to George, WA to catch the Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater. Here's our take:

THE BEST:


Mariachi El Bronx:
The Mariachi-style side project of punk group The Bronx started off the first day of the festival with a bang, bringing modern influence to a genre ruled by traditional tunes.


DJ Anjali & The Incredible Kid:

These Portland, Oregon based DJs played every night at the Gorge including a marathon 3.5 hour set Friday night. Incorporating Bollywood and traditional Indian tunes into dance music, they kept the crowd excited with their lively and refreshing sound. 


The Head and The Heart: 
Seattle natives The Head and The Heart may have been the fan favorite throughout the whole festival. Drawing an enormous and eager crowd to their early Saturday set, the sextet ran through most of their debut album with a lively and pretty much perfect show!


Local Natives:
Following The Head and The Heart was a tough billing for L.A.-based Local Natives, but they rose to the occasion, creating a spontaneous dance party on the hill with their intricate drumming and sugar-sweet harmonies.


Bright Eyes:
Conor Oberst led his band through an extremely powerful hour-long set Saturday evening, including political rants, crying audience members, and an emotional rendition of his hit, "Poison Oak".


Death Cab for Cutie:
In their native state of Washington, Ben Gibbard and crew set the standard for a festival headliner on the second night of the fest. Running through hit after hit to a packed Gorge audience, Gibbard previewed songs from Codes and Keys, the group's new album to a great response. 


Fitz & The Tantrums:
The L.A. soul group lead by singer Michael Fitzpatrick got the crowd warmed up for a great day of music on Sunday. With a powerful, interactive performance, Fitz got fans moving from the front railing to the top of the Gorge.


Flogging Molly:
Irish-punk icons Flogging Molly put on a rousing show complete with slow acoustic ballads, mosh-inspiring Celtic punk, and hilarious stage banter from frontman Dave King. 


Givers:
Winning the award for the best surprise of the weekend, Givers started off the last day of the fest with a bang, playing songs off their upcoming album, In Light. The Louisiana group brings to mind a younger Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, complete with incredible vocal harmonies, fun danceable tunes, and an infectious Southern influence.


Chromeo:
Electro-funk duo Chromeo packed the Gorge with the biggest main-stage crowd of the last day as early as 3 PM! Fans streamed in from all over the festival to catch the infectious dance stylings of Dave-1 and P-Thugg.


Macklemore & Ryan Lewis:
Feeling right at home in his native Northwest, Macklemore represented his hometown with a fervor like no other. Putting on one of the most exciting hip-hop shows around, the Seattle MC, backed by producer Ryan Lewis, a violinist, and a horn player, had the whole crowd singing and screaming along. He even got his set time extended by a few songs due to the huge crowd!

Rodrigo Y Gabriela:
The Flamenco duo's set started off slow, with not many people showing up to their evening set. But by the time they got into the groove of things with a Jimi Hendrix medley, the crowd had nearly doubled and everyone was getting their Latin groove on. 


The Decemberists:
Colin Meloy and crew were slightly screwed with a set time during electronic phenomenon Skrillex, but despite a small crowd, still put on a phenomenal show, playing tunes from their new album, The King Is Dead, and closing with a rousing ten minute rendition of "The Mariner's Revenge".


The RedLaser Acoustic Tent:

iPhone app RedLaser led by far the greatest promotion of the weekend with their intimate acoustic tent. After downloading the app and scanning a barcode, fans had a chance to win one of 200 tickets given away each day allowing entrance into the tent. Throughout the weekend, the tent was rocked with mini sets by The Head & The Heart, Foster the People, Givers, Fitz & The Tantrums, Flogging Molly, and The Decemberists.


THE WORST:


Bob Mould:
Bob Mould, the very first performer on the main stage, confused listeners and became somewhat of a joke among the crowd after his incredibly lukewarm performance, consisting solely of his voice and an over-distorted electric guitar. 


Friday:
While a 4-day festival is a great concept, the first day of the festival turned out to be kind of a half-baked idea. The day included only nine artists, compared to the 33 performing each of the next three days. While it was a nice quiet day at the Gorge, it seemed like an odd add-on to an otherwise excellent festival.


Iron & Wine:
The crowd was extremely excited about Sam Beam and his beautiful musings as Iron & Wine. But after the group performed pieces almost exclusively from Kiss Each Other Clean, their latest album that represented a large departure in style, the audience ended up fairly disappointed. 


The Flaming Lips:
The Flaming Lips drew one of the largest crowds of the entire festival, at least for the beginning of their set. After making an exciting grand entrance and showing off a cool mic-camera and huge balloons, the set quickly lost the interest of thousands of fans. Frontman Wayne Coyne announced that the band was planning on playing The Soft Bulletin in its entirety, and proceeded to babble, explaining the origin of every verse of the first song, and causing fans to stream towards other stages.

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