Sasquatch! | 05.23-05.25 | The Gorge

Monday :: 05.25.09

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear Sasquatch 2009 by Pecknold
Out of all the shows this day, this was the one I was most excited about, purely because I think their new record, Veckatimest, is amazing and wonderfully bananas. Grizzly Bear comes out of Brooklyn, NY, and the guys are Daniel Rossen (songwriting/guitar), Chris Taylor (bass/woodwinds/electronics/vocals), Ed Droste (songwriting/guitar) and Christopher Bear (drums/vocals). I was anxious to see if the crowd was going to be receptive to them seeing how their sound is pretty unique. They fall more into the Fleet Foxes realm, using heavy reverb and operatic voices to seduce us. Not really dancing music, not particularly singing-along music, more not really sure what the hell they're doing but, man, they're doing it right music. To my delight, the crowd loved them. And, they even knew lyrics! They sounded gorgeous as each of the four guys graced us with their beautiful voices, each interesting, complimentary and unique to the others. Taylor used his voice as his main instrument, hitting high, chill-producing notes without a lot of dialogue, while Rossen and Droste glided us through each track. This was the perfect venue for these guys, and even better that it was during the day when the sun was shining. They don't need light shows, props or costumes; they just need you to pay attention, because trust me, what they're saying is worth the listen. (LC)

Santigold, aka Santi White, and her new band took over the Main Stage for the biggest dance party yet. Even though they've only played four shows together, they rocked it like a well-oiled '80s dance/funk/soul/pop machine. She was all suited up in a fantastically late '80s one-piece jumpsuit, and had two SG-1s (as she called them) flanking her, each wearing gold coats, tight braids and funky eyewear. They played a nice, fat set including all of her hits, and the crowd danced and sang along. She even invited twelve lucky fans onstage for a big dance party for the last song. It was 3 p.m. and hot as oven mitts, but the crowd was on fire and enjoying every second of it. If you feel like a good dance party with some interesting and daring wardrobe choices, Santigold is a must see. (LC)

Blitzen Trapper

Fleet Foxes Sasquatch 2009 by Pecknold
Playing most of their songs off new album Furr, Blitzen Trapper killed it at the Wookie Stage. These guys are so entertaining to watch. They look like they come from completely different walks of life (as in, you'd most likely never put these six together as a cohesive looking unit), but their musical goals are the same. They all come together for the purpose of making foot tapping, head bopping, campfire sing along music – a sound that fits perfectly with the themes of Sasquatch!, i.e. camping, friends, cold beer, the Earth, livin' a lil' dusty, wearing plaid, chopping wood (no actual evidence of wood being chopped here this weekend, but for some reason Blitzen Trapper make me want to split logs). Songs like "Black River Killer," "Furr," "Not Your Lover Anymore" and "Wild Mountain Nation" were crowd favorites. Lead singer Eric Earley treated us to the harmonica on a few songs as well. Overall, they looked like they really belonged here at The Gorge, so much so that I think we might've seen them at their absolute best. (LC)

Fleet Foxes
Lastly for this scribe, the band that was MADE to sing at the Main Stage at The Gorge, FLEET FOXES! Sorry for the all-caps but these guys are from another planet and deserve the props. The setting for their set was breathtaking, even more breathtaking than when anyone else played for some reason. Maybe because seeing The Gorge makes you believe in something bigger than yourself, and that's exactly what Robin Pecknold and company do. If you close your eyes and listen to them for just one chorus you just might open those orbs and find yourself sitting on a cloud. At least that's how you feel - weightless, above ground, cottony. The crowd sang along to "White Winter Hymnal," "Ragged Wood" and "Blue Ridge Mountains," and also got a glimpse of two new songs as well. I had the highest expectations of this band because of the perfect venue match, and they didn't disappoint. These guys have an amazing future ahead of them, lucky for us. (LC)

Girl Talk Sasquatch 2009 by Nelson
Girl Talk
Sealing the proverbial deal on Monday night at the Wookie Stage and the clam were the one-two punch of mash-up master, Girl Talk, nee Gregg Gillis, and Canadian duo, Chromeo. It seemed that everyone still at the festival was at these events rather than at the Main Stage for Erykah Badu and Ben Harper and Relentless7, and that was perfectly indicative of the entire weekend. There were tons of people at Sasquatch! who were there to dance their faces off and conversely, there was the folkie vibe. Each day as I looked out at the crowd, I marveled at the irony of bands acoustic, or at least further down the folk spectrum, playing to crowds ready to rage. The Decemberists and Animal Collective are cases in point. But it was the electro-pop bands that stole the weekend and got the crowds off and gave them the communal party vibe that festivals cultivate. At the Girl Talk set the audience was fully and undeniably engaged. Balloons abound, peeps dancing on the stage and Gillis all over the place; it felt like an exercise in reciprocation, and dare I say mutual masturbation. This set was the reward for people who were in it for the long haul. The music moved so fast it was hard to track, but the past 30 years' hits were all represented. Gillis, on his super-fun albums, Unstoppable, Night Ripper, and most recently 2008's Feed the Animals, matches bands and beats you'd NEVER think to put together. It's all unauthorized sampling, but before you can name that cut, it's gone. I can't imagine hearing music the way he must; it is a true gift, and thankfully he shared it with us. (CS)

Explosions In The Sky
After Girl Talk's high octane, dance-your-face-off, gongshow set, it was time to relax a little with Explosions In The Sky. I have to say, the Wookie Stage at sunset is unbeatable. Bon Iver and of Montreal had killed it the previous nights, so I was excited to see if Explosions would have the same magical effect. They did. Most everyone spread out blankets, put on hoodies, and took to laying on the ground for this performance. Lots of staring up into the night sky, lazily smoking cigarettes, reminiscing on the weekend's debauchery all the while Explosions providing the perfect backdrop soundtrack. At some points they really kicked it into high gear, with loud guitars and big drums, but mostly they stayed inside sprawling cinematic soundscapes. These guys provoke thought and emotion unlike any other... maybe Sigur Ros, okay definitely Sigur Ros, but that's about it. Several people around me were referencing Friday Night Lights (the movie) as the place they first heard this beautiful music, and to their delight, Explosions played some songs from the soundtrack. They also provide the theme song to FNL (the TV show) in case you're jonesing for more. This set was the absolute best way to end the day, and more importantly, get you rested up for what was to come next... Chromeo DJ set, uh oh! (LC)


Dance Tent Sasquatch 2009 by Nelson
The final set at the dance clam was a continuation of the party across the field at Girl Talk. People simply raged it on over 200 yards to the west. Childhood friends, Montreal DJs P-Thugg and Dave 1 closed out Sasquatch! with a monster set of their '80's inspired "electrofunk." Spilling forth from the clam, this show, similar to Girl Talk, appeared to give the people what they wanted. If you frequent the television, you've probably heard Chromeo and didn't know it; their music has been in loads of commercials. Synthesizer-heavy, beat-friendly, and utterly pleasing to the ears. I can't tell you any of the names of the tunes, but they will undoubtedly be coursing through my brain for days to come.

I guess the Powers That Be booked these two bands for the last night in the hopes of keeping people at the festival longer, but these shows should have been Sunday night, and they should have gone until 2 a.m., or at least past 11 p.m. I feel badly for ubertalents Badu and Harper, playing to diminished crowds, but hopefully next year's festival will learn from this one's scheduling weirdness and people will get what they want all weekend long. (CS)

Continue reading for more pics of Sasquatch!...

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