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Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

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    sasquatch 2011 500x500 260x260 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011“Not considering this opening worthy of more attention, I continued our pursuit to the Northwest, being desirous to embrace the advantages of the prevailing breeze.” – George Vancouver, 17th century English explorer

    Breathtaking describes a lot of things. It’s typically a “go-to” adjective for anything remotely awe-inspiring. For Sasquatch! Music Festival, it’s the only word that works. There’s little room for where it doesn’t work, come to think of it. Even the drive in from Seattle, WA is enough to yank tears from the eyes. Driving through the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, you can’t miss the ominous Douglas-firs, or pry your hands from the wheel at the unpredictable roads that weave and snake through the mountainous terrain. It’s an adventure in every sense of the word.

    But, that’s just the drive. Once you’re there, snuggled between the small towns of Quincy & George, you’re essentially cut off from the traditional confines of society. You’re a free spirit, roaming the natural habitat. It’s a liberating feeling, but also somewhat frightening. You’re at the hands of society’s loose change. Actually, it’s very frightening. But, that risk is what makes it so extraordinary. After everyone’s settled and the traffic conditions slacken, festivalgoers, musicians, and staff co-exist together in a melting pot within a melting pot. It’s madness, it’s a little chaotic, but it’s raw. It harkens back to the age-old American idealism of venturing beyond, exploring the uninhabited abyss.

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    What an abyss, though. It’s so easy to just say, “Well, the Gorge is out of this world. Duh.” But, that’s really it. Natural wonders retain that title for a reason. The Gorge earns it triple-fold. There are colors baked into its natural walls that haven’t even been named yet. Even more spellbinding, these colors evolve every minute, every hour, and each day. So at first glance, it’s something you’ll remember forever, but that feeling never leaves you.

    Couple that with music and it’s truly a win-win.

    -Michael Roffman
    President/Editor-in-Chief

    Friday, May 27th

    Rival Schools – Bigfoot Stage – 4:00 p.m.

    rival 7 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    “Hey there,” Rival Schools‘ vocalist Walter Schreifels muttered, cracking open the four-day Sasquatch! weekend. As the still evolving crowd poured in from the nearby gates – which had only opened 15-20 minutes prior to the set – the New York rockers breezed through a slightly raucous if not traditional set. Opener “Wring It Out”, their current single supporting this year’s Pedals, wrenched some acclaim from fanatics who scattered around the mid-sized Bigfoot stage, granting the band access to segue straight into other new material, specifically “69 Guns”, which turned things up a notch. It didn’t take long for the quartet to scale back to older material, either. Oldie ”Everything Has Its Point”, a track that dates back to their 2001 debut, United by Fate, popped up rather quickly. Then the rest just fell into place. -Michael Roffman

    Mariachi El Bronx – Yeti Stage – 4:30 p.m.

    mariachi 3 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    There’s a moment in every festival where a band conjures up the wonderful “freak flag” moment. For Sasquatch!, it came an hour into the weekend, when Los Angeles’ own The Bronx donned the sombreros and dove head first into mariachi music. Dubbed Mariachi El Bronx, after the group’s WTF 2009 LP of the same name, the group really stirred the proverbial post-modern fiesta hippy pot, to which everyone just sort of let their souls run wild. Sometime amidst the chaos, one of the band members exclaimed, “There’s some badass shit going on today.” Although it was a tad too early to admit this, that pretty much summed up the remainder of the day. Mariachi men or fortune tellers? Hmm. -Michael Roffman

    Biffy Clyro – Bigfoot Stage – 5:00 p.m.

    biffy 1 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    I was lucky enough to catch Biffy Clyro at the Illosaarirock Festival in Finland last year and was completely won over by the Scottish trio’s driving live act and larger-than-life sound. Though the catchy prog-metal band isn’t well known in North America, and they were one of the first bands to play at the start of the festival, they still managed to draw a sizeable crowd of fans who knew all lyrics by heart and were moshing out during some of the harder numbers. The Biff (as their fans affectionately call them) were quick and bouncy, turning their more pop-based songs into metal numbers and causing lead singer and guitarist (and Jesus lookalike) Simon Neil to break his strings several times over. -Karina Halle

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    Bob Mould – Mainstage – 5:45 p.m.

    mould 1 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    Similar to Paul Westerberg, Bob Mould travels alone these days. Actually, the major difference between the two is that the latter actually travels. However, their stage show is strikingly similar – at least when Westerberg last toured. It’s bare bones logic: a famed songwriter, alone, with an electric guitar, and a largely celebrated discography in the noggin. That might sound like a match made in heaven, but when you’re playing the Gorge Amphitheatre, it’s a tad…vacuous? Still early in the schedule, with the sun blazing beyond the hills and mountainous plains (if that makes sense), Mould, decked out in red flannel and some jeans, strolled out to a small yet adoring fan base. (Small in the sense that he’s performing at the fucking Gorge.) Still, as he patrolled through Hüsker Dü classics like “Hardly Getting Over It” or solo hits a la “Wishing Well”, he maintained an edge that was hard to dismiss. In the middle of the set, one fan nearby caught his attention, screaming, “Just rock on man! You’re doing great!” A sweaty, rather exhausted Mould replied back, “I’m trying, man.” In the end, you have to respect that. -Michael Roffman

    Against Me! – Bigfoot Stage – 6:10 p.m.

    againstmesasquatch Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Christopher Nelson

    In keeping with Friday’s theme of nonstop hard rock, Against Me! played a consistently high-energy set to close the Bigfoot Stage for the evening. No acoustic breakdowns or intimate stage banter, just rocker after rocker, including highlights “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong”, “T.S.R. (This Shit Rules)”, and “I Was a Teenage Anarchist”. At one of the Florida punk band’s headlining shows it would have been tiring, but this was an ideal one-hour festival set. Outside of maybe Dave Grohl, Wayne Coyne, and Dave King, Tom Gabel was quietly the most likable frontman at Sasquatch!. Against Me! also earns points for choosing plain black tees over the flannel everyone else was wearing throughout the weekend. – Harry Painter

    The Bronx – Mainstage – 6:45 p.m.

    thebronxsasquatch1 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Jackie Kingsbury

    “I want to see all of you move out there! There’s a Sasquatch in all of you!” – Matt Caughthran

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    Not many bands received two sets at Sasquatch this weekend; although, it’s arguable you could even count The Bronx’s shows as two sets. After an upbeat Mariachi show, they wandered to the Sasquatch stage where they stripped off the gear, but turned up the volume. There, the band screamed and thrashed, while the nearby pit proceeded to go ape-shit. They slammed through tracks like “They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy)” and “White Tar”, and set a much different vibe than the Mariachi set, as body parts were actually smashed at this show. To go from playing sexy salsa tunes to hardcore numbers with names like “Heart Attack America” was more or less a bloody and triumphant transition. -Ted Maider

    Death From Above 1979 – Mainstage – 8:00 p.m.

    dfa 4 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    The banner behind what would eventually become the DFA riot was a picture of a tombstone that read: “DFA 1979, 2001-2006”. Far more interesting than the tombstone, however, were the ghoulish images of Jesse Keeler and Sebastian Grainger emerging from the gravesite. The secret’s been out for some time (see: Coachella and SXSW), but Death From Above 1979 are back from the dead and sounding better than ever.

    dfa 5 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    Not ones to stop and chat, the pioneering duo took the stage and began melting faces right off the bat. The two took the slow afternoon from zero to 60 in a matter of milliseconds, and they didn’t relent for the entire time they were allotted. Mosh pockets opened up in literally every part of the Gorge, from the very front of the pit to the lawn seating, which made sense, considering DFA1979 has the power to bring human beings the insatiable urge to push one another. The set climaxed with a three song KO – “Sexy Results”, “Romantic Rights”, and “Do It!” – and as one might expect, everyone left the pit drenched in other people’s sweat, blood, and booze. Which I’m sure is what DFA consider a complete triumph. -Winston Robbins

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    Foo Fighters – Mainstage – 9:30 p.m.

    foo 8 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011When Sasquatch first announced that the festival would be four days long instead of three, many people wondered how on Earth they’d be able to draw in the crowds on Friday, the day that wasn’t a national holiday. Then they announced the Foo Fighters were headlining that night and everything fell into place. If there is any band that fans would skip out on work for, it’s the Foo Fighters.

    Of course, it’s always been kind of “cool” to rag on the Foo for being too commercial or “happy”, but riding high on the success of their latest album, Wasting Light, even cynical festival-goers were at least stopping by the main stage to check out their act. And if they checked their cynicism at the door, it was hard to walk away disappointed.

    From the moment Dave Grohl and his plaid-clad crew of chain-smoking Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel, and Taylor Hawkins (the only one not in flannel), took to the stage, the audience was treated to two hours of wailing guitars, singalong anthems, and never ending energy. They opened with Wasting Light’s raucous “Bridge Burning” and sailed all the way through to “Everlong” (forgoing the encore, as Grohl said, “We’d rather keep playing until the end”) and the enthusiasm from the band and the crowd never dipped for a second. Though I would have loved for all songs off of Wasting Light to be played, they did pull out a fair chunk of it including “White Limo”, “Arlandria”, and “Dear Rosemary” (featuring Bob Mould who played the same stage earlier). The soaring, feel-good “Walk” united the crowd as much as their older hits such as “My Hero” and “Learn to Fly” did, and they even tossed out lesser-played songs such as “I’ll Stick Around” and “Generator”.

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    The thing about the Foo Fighters is that they never just play their songs as is, they have to take them a step beyond. At Sasquatch this meant an extra epic jam session for “Monkey Wrench”, a drum solo courtesy of the tireless Hawkins, and numerous bridge breakdowns and build ups. Though it’s an effective live tool, the technique became repetitive after the 10th song, but as soon as Grohl slams back into the chorus, you were singing along with him and bumping elbows with people in the world’s happiest mosh pit. There were rumors that Grohl’s ex-bandmate Krist Novoselic was there watching from the side stage, which would have been an amazing opportunity for him to come out and join the band (especially since he contributed to Wasting Light’s heartfelt “I Should Have Known”), but perhaps he wanted this moment to be all about the Foo Fighters and not a quick Nirvana reunion, which is understandable. The Foo Fighters ended Friday with a sea of smiles and set the bar high for the whole festival. –Karina Halle

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    Friday Gallery by Heather Kaplan

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    Saturday, May 28th

    Seattle Rock Orchestra – Bigfoot Stage – 12:00 p.m.

    sro 5 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    On paper, an orchestra performing the songs of Radiohead sounds worthwhile — and what better venue to house such an event than the stage closest to the entrance of a hip music festival as a bunch of likely Radiohead fans walk in? Last year was a similar deal, with the Seattle Rock Orchestra instead performing an Arcade Fire tribute. For whatever reason, this time around, people were not moved to sing along, dance, or even pay much attention. Seattle Rock Orchestra, which has at times been comprised of over 60 members, brought out a couple dozen at most to play hits from The Bends and OK Computer. The problem was it felt more like a standard cover band with a string section than a real orchestra as the abridged SRO recited uninspired arrangements of “Just”, “Airbag”, “Paranoid Android”, and “My Iron Lung”.

    There were bright spots, however. “Exit Music”, “Electioneering”, and “Karma Police”, despite never approaching the emotional gusto of the originals, at least did some justice to them and made the strings and horns feel necessary. Using multiple decidedly un-Yorkeian vocalists (including a female) was a good call, and the performances never felt cheesy. – Harry Painter

    The Radio Dept. – Mainstage – 1:05 p.m.

    radio 3 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    For as long as The Radio Dept.’s been at it, and for how very little they tour, they should have been placed later in the day. But beggars can’t be choosers, and no matter the time of day, The Radio Dept. in the flesh is The Radio Dept. in the flesh. Touring behind their latest singles collection Passive  Aggressive, their setlist consisted entirely of the singles they’ve released over the past decade and a half. From Lesser Matters’ “Ewan” to the more recent “Heaven’s On Fire” off their last LP, 2010’s Clinging To A Scheme. The three piece Swedish outfit timidly went about their 45 minutes to a fairly full floor, which makes sense, given the fact that they’re somewhat reclusive and playing to a very, very large Gorge lawn crowd. Never ones to crack under the pressure, they played a beautiful set note for note. -Winston Robbins

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    k-os – Bigfoot Stage – 3:00 p.m.

    k ossasquatchhalle Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Karina Halle

    Toronto-based musician k-os (nee Kevin Brereton) brought a lively dose of his grooving rap-rock to the Bigfoot stage. There was a distinct lack of hip-hop acts at Sasquatch, so savvy festival-goers were quick to catch his set, his reggae-induced beats suiting the blue-sky and sunshine perfectly. Songs like “Sunday Morning”, “I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman”, and “Man I Used to Be” went over well despite the stage’s frequent sound problems that plagued his microphone and interrupted a few of the songs. -Karina Halle

    Local Natives – Mainstage – 3:15 p.m.

    natives 9 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    It would have been easy to overlook the Local Natives as the band that played Sasquatch! because Fleet Foxes can’t be there every year. That is, it would have been easy had they not turned so many heads. Besides it being a little hard to take seriously a folk band led by a guy with a porn star mustache, Local Natives earned their stripes with what frontman Taylor Rice said was their biggest gig yet (the list includes their appearance at Sasquatch! 2010 on the smaller Bigfoot Stage). Local Natives played the usual Gorilla Manor material, before reporting they would be heading home to L.A. to record the next album. – Harry Painter

    Trailer Park Boys – Banana Shack – 3:45 p.m.

    trailerparkboyssasquatchhalle Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Karina Halle

    What to say about the Trailer Park Boys? Because Canada’s answer to Reno 911 follows the lives of Nova Scotian ex-convicts Bubbles (Mike Smith), Ricky (Rob Wells), and Julian (John Paul Tremblay) in a trailer trash mockumentary style, it was interesting to see how the show would play out as a live comedy show (at a US festival, too). Though it was hard to hear and see at times, the trio managed to titillate the mainly Canadian crowd (this I deduced from the “Go Canucks Go” chant just prior) and maybe win over a few new fans. The free hot dogs that Julian tossed into the crowd probably helped too. -Karina Halle

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    Wolf Parade – Mainstage – 4:20 p.m.

    wolf 5 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    This set was doubly tragic. Not only did indie veterans Wolf Parade only get 45 minutes to play, but it would (possibly, probably) be the last time they performed for a very long time. They announced months ago that they were going on an indefinite hiatus, Sasquatch! Music Festival being the last stop before calling it quits. The enormity of the situation wasn’t lost on the crowd, either. Wolf Parade drew the largest group of people for any band non head or sub-headlining. Seemingly undaunted by any of these stressors, they put on a historic show. Once again, it was tragically short, but it was bursting at the seams with the best work of their career. Obviously, the tracks from Apologies To Queen Mary (“You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son” and “Fancy Claps” in particular) were the best received, but they gave each track the treatment it deserved. Expo 86 cut “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)” primed the crowd before they played themselves off with a rendition of “I’ll Believe In Anything” that sent chills down the spines of all those who grasped the reality of the situation. -Winston Robbins

    J. Mascis – Yeti Stage – 4:35 p.m.

    jmascissasquatch Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Christopher Nelson

    The demographics that made up Sasquatch! couldn’t have been expected to know or care who J. Mascis was, and it appeared most didn’t. But it wasn’t much of a challenge for the silver-maned, baseball cap-wearing Dinosaur Jr. frontman to win people over. Featuring songs off his debut solo album, Several Shades of Why, as well as some Dino Jr. favorites, Mascis’ set alternated between accessible acoustic folk rock and the noisy guitar solos for which he is known. The 1993 Dino Jr. track “Get Me”, in particular, had the Yeti crowd in a trance. Mascis wins the old guy award for the weekend, as great as Bob Mould was. – Harry Painter

    Jenny & Johnny – Bigfoot Stage – 5:10 p.m.

    cossasquatchjandj2 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Ted Maider

    It was not a secret that the crowd kept very well, they were absolutely at this set just to see Jenny Lewis. And why wouldn’t they be? She was true to form: beautiful, endearing, and immensely talented. Joke was on the Lewis-driven crowd, though, when they realized that singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice (the Johnny portion of the duo) was no laughing matter. The two (with the help of Rilo Kiley and Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band drummer Jason Boesel) put on a sweet show, singing songs about love and loss with unmatched pop sensibility. I’m Having Fun Now tracks “Scissor Runner” and “Pet Snakes” seemed to particularly catch the attention of the crowd. But in the end, the hapless Jenny Lewis fans got what they wanted when she broke out Acid Tongue epic “The Next Messiah”. -Winston Robbins

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    Wye Oak – Yeti Stage – 5:40 p.m.

    wye 6 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    Saturday’s breakout act was a hell of a follow-up to J. Mascis. Baltimore’s Wye Oak, which consists of singer/guitarist Jenn Wasner and drummer/keyboardist (simultaneously!) Andy Stack, is a duo that has all the depth of a standard four-piece. Wasner could work on emphasizing her vocals, but between Wye Oak and The Radio Dept., Saturday was a good day for dream pop. -Harry Painter

    The Antlers – Bigfoot Stage – 6:20 p.m.

    cossasquatchantlers2 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Ted Maider

    Fresh off the release of their impeccable Burst Apart, it was uncertain how this set would go for The Antlers. It was so vastly different from its predecessor, it seemed impossible that the two albums could ever share the same stage. This worry was alleviated when it was revealed track by track that they were playing Burst Apart in the order it appears on the LP tracklist. Coming out with the enormous “I Don’t Want Love”, the Brooklyn trio (with a backing drummer) destroyed the Bigfoot Stage fearlessly. There wasn’t time for them to play the album in its entirety, unfortunately, in the 45 minutes they were allotted, but they got the first six of the 10 tracks in, and peaked during an almost post-rock version of “Rolled Together”. They closed with the only track from their 2009 hit album Hospice they’d play all night, “Two”. But even that old track had been altered to sound a tad more Burst Apart-y, for lack of a better phrase. It will be interesting to see how The Antlers go about splicing these two vastly different pieces of work into a coherent live set, but it was something we were fortunately (or unfortunately?) spared of having to deal with. But after seeing them play a sunset performance at The Gorge, there seem to be very few things The Antlers can’t do right. -Winston Robbins

    The Thermals – Yeti Stage – 6:45 p.m.

    thermals 4 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011There are some pros and cons to the Yeti Stage. On the positive side, it faces the outside horizon; the area that surrounds the festival; the natural habitats that bring people here week after week. On the downside, it also faces the setting sun. Many artists have had problems with this; after all, who wants to rock out with a blinding sun? However, Portland’s own The Thermals remained true to their name, using the sun’s radiant energy to, and please pardon the use of the pun, thermally ignite. With an agreeable combination of both new and old, the minimalistic trio punched and kicked through nearly 20 songs in the evening’s transitioning hour. During an incendiary opening cut of “Time to Lose”, vocalist Hutch Harris took things to the floor, channeling his inner Chuck Berry, and kept things going with “Returning to the Fold”, “Not Like Any Other Feeling”, and “It’s Trivia”. Blame it on their tour with the always thrilling Matt & Kim, but The Thermals were fiddling with an energy that hasn’t been this exciting for awhile. The crowd fed off it, too. Before they trekked forward, Harris observed: “Oh yeah, it’s getting rowdy out there. Keep it going Sasquatch.” They did, but so did the band. -Michael Roffman

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    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    Washed Out – Banana Shack – 7:00 p.m.

    cossasquatchwashedout1 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Ted Maider

    The newly re-vamped Verizon Banana Shack seemed the perfect home for chillwave pioneers Washed Out. But hindsight’s 20/20, and they would have been better suited at a regular stage. The Banana Shack is more commonly home to house/dance music, and it took an extremely long time to get the band’s gear onstage. They finally managed to start 20 minutes after their scheduled time, and seemed very scattered throughout their set as a result. Leading man Ernest Greene was the glue that held the set together as he ran through a shortened set that incorporated old favorites (“New Theory, “Feel It All Around”), introduced a new song, and closed with a rendition of their latest single “Eyes Be Closed” that was almost good enough to redeem the flaws of the show. Washed Out started out as Ernest Greene, and as it has expanded to a five-piece, some of his earlier songs seemed very crowded with five instruments trying to create a fairly small sound. But as for the song they debuted and “Eyes Be Closed”, the band couldn’t have sounded better, and Washed Out’s forthcoming Within And Without will no doubt be a bigger, bolder record. But this particular show? Washed Out dropped the ball. -Winston Robbins

    Bright Eyes -Mainstage – 8:15 p.m.

    bright 71 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    The veteran cast of Bright Eyes (along with their backing band, which includes Rilo Kiley/Mystic Valley Band drummer, Jason Boesel) took the stage one at a time -legendary producer/artist Mike Mogis, followed by the master of quiet intangibles Nate Walcott, all leading to the centerpiece of the indie legends: Conor Oberst. Oberst emerged from the side of the stage throwing his arms around, while wearing a hood that covered most of his face, which made him look uncannily like B. Rabbit from 8 Mile. The music that ensued was far from rap battling, however, and Oberst took no time getting into his all too short sub-headlining set with a massive rendition of The People’s Key single “Firewall”, which sent the crowd into an uproar. It was deathly cold and getting colder by the minute, but that didn’t deter the insanely devoted Oberst fans down in the pit.

    Every movement he made, every word he said (of course he had something to say about politics and the state of affairs in our day and age), and every song he sung inspired the crowd to get more and more worked up. Their hour set included songs from every era of the Bright Eyes career: tracks from I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning, Lifted or the Story is in the Telling, Cassadaga, and even one from Fevers & Mirrors, which he dedicated to his contemporaries that he’d been in the business with since late 90’s: Iron & Wine and Death Cab For Cutie. And while I’m sure they appreciated the gesture, the set was about the fans.

    bright 9 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

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    “Four Winds”, “Lover I Don’t Have To Love”, and a combination of “Road To Joy” and  “One For You, One For Me” caused a particularly large uproar. The latter of the three mentioned was possibly the most moving of the entire weekend. Oberst left the stage to join his adoring fans, one of whom hurdled the barrier and kissed him passionately on the lips before being escorted away by security. As the voice over to “One For You, One For Me” played over the PA, Oberst remained at the front of the crowd hugging and shaking the hands of fans, some of whom were literally weeping to be in his presence. Love him or hate him, Conor Oberst has an immovable charisma that speaks powerfully to some. -Winston Robbins

    Robyn – Bigfoot Stage – 9:00 p.m.

    robyn 9 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Heather Kaplan

    It wasn’t really fair to pit Robyn between Bright Eyes and Death Cab for Cutie – especially since the latter hasn’t toured in quite awhile. However, the Swedish treat sweetened enough folks by name alone to create a massive scene at the Bigfoot Stage. Technical difficulties pushed the set back 25 minutes, which turned the crowd into a tepid mob scene. Several fans chanted “Robyn!”, plenty walked away, and one guy wholeheartedly attempted to sell the crowd on chanting “18 minutes late!” (which soon evolved into “25 minutes late!”), though no one joined him. They didn’t have to because once the international sensation appeared, all energy was focused on dancing. Strictly dancing. Smiling, waving, and stripping down – even amidst the chilly winds rolling through – Robyn powered through a close pocketed 45 minute set, starting with “Fembot”, continuing on with “Bad Gal”, and naturally including her scorching single (and Gossip Girl burner), “Dancing On My Own”. A double dosage of percussion injected some adrenaline into an already impressive stage set up, tailoring songs like “Indestructible” with an epic sheen. Basically, if you haven’t seen her live, then you’re not just missing out, you’re selling your heart short. -Michael Roffman

    Death Cab for Cutie – Mainstage – 9:30 p.m.

    dcfcsasquatch1 Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011Writer’s Note: Ben Gibbard needs a haircut.

    As it was the 10th anniversary of Sasquatch, it seemed reasonable to book some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest modern acts to carry on the torch for another year. Seattle’s own Death Cab for Cutie was a perfect choice for such an occasion as they continue to embody the Washington spirit. As time has raced on by, Death Cab has gone from an indie sensation to a slew of pop-stars with constant airplay. Only in Seattle, right?

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    To prove that they were worthy of a headlining title, Gibbard  & Co. took the stage to deliver one of the most surprising shows of the weekend. The energy was quite high – especially for a Death Cab gig. Opener “I Will Possess Your Heart” lasted for ages, but its thumping bass line and stirring percussion were enough to stir the crowd. This sort of chemistry washed over other gems like “Movie Script Ending”, an electrifying “Cath”, and a version of “Long Division” that brought people to crowd surf. Hit after hit, and song after song, Death Cab for Cutie rattled their catalog for a show that would not only impress the Sasquatch crowd, but also make every fan jealous that they missed this show.

    The true highlight of the set though was when Gibbard came out alone to strum away Plans favorite, “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”. Feeling the raw intimacy of the song, the crowd joined along and sang in unison, their voices echoing off the walls of the Gorge. People will follow Gibbard anywhere, I guess. -Ted Maider

    Photo by Kyle Johnson

    Sleigh Bells -Banana Shack – 10:10 p.m.

    cossasquatchsleighbells6photobywinston Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Winston Robbins

    The Banana Shack was hands down the best addition to this year’s installment of Sasquatch!. Very much like Coachella’s Sahara Tent, the Banana Shack was solely for the purpose of comedians during the day and electro raves at night. So, of course, this is the stage where Sleigh Bells landed. Their set was unfortunately stuck in the middle of Death Cab’s and Robyn’s respective sets, but it mattered very little in the end. They were 20 minutes late to start, but they made up for that by not only going an extra half hour longer than they were scheduled, but by rocking especially hard. Sleigh Bells are admittedly more flash than music, but their flash is so illustrious that it enhances the music to levels many of their contemporaries could only hope to achieve. After an instrumental cover of “Iron Man” by Derek Miller, Alexis Krauss joined him for what would be an hour of sheer sweaty chaos. Sleigh Bells is best played at maximum volume, and the sound in the Banana Shack more than accommodated this ideal. Being that Treats is a fairly short album they played almost every track, the highlights being “Riot Rhythm”, “Infinity Guitars”, and a very funky version of “Rill Rill”. -Winston Robbins

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    Bassnectar – Bigfoot Stage – 11:30 p.m.

    bassnectarsasquatch Festival Review: CoS at Sasquatch! 2011

    Photo by Kyle Johnson

    Disclaimer: I hate dub-step.

    Prior to this show, an audience member informed me humans are conditioned to enjoy heavy bass, as the vibrations remind our subconscious of time spent in the womb and the comfort we received within it. This has to be true because thousands of people crammed in for Bassnectar’s late night show…. and, well, he delivered. The DJ, whose popularity has clearly skyrocketed within the past couple years, blew out speakers, mixed Nirvana, and played one of the highest energy sets possible. The only thing more insane than the DJ himself was the crowd. People tossed glow sticks, moshed, crowd-surfed and went ballistic. It was hands down the best dance show of the weekend.

    Disclaimer: I still hate dub-step. -Ted Maider

    Saturday Gallery by Heather Kaplan

    [nggallery id=221]

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