Reviews > Shows
Sasquatch Festival 2011
Photos by Matt Riley
The Gorge Amphitheater
Aside from Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival and a handful of smaller events, the Northwest corner of the country is far removed from a majority of the national festival circuit. What it does have is Sasquatch Festival, four days of music and camping spanning the Memorial Day weekend at one of the premier outdoor venues of the country, Washington’s Gorge Amphitheater. The event has its drawbacks: a high ticket price (not to mention the $12 beers), no re-entry into the venue for the day if you return to your campsite, and an absurd amount of security that even go out of their way to shut down campsite after-parties starting around 2 AM. If you’re willing to sift through the overbearing venue rules, indie-pop darlings and high school raver crowds, however, you’ll find four stages packed with a wealth of neo-soul revivalists, innovative folk practitioners, groove-laden rockers and heavyweight electronic acts that make this festival worth the trip.
The first day of Sasquatch featured fewer acts than the rest and showcased a predominantly rock ‘n’ roll focus, with some fantastic exceptions. Mariachi El Bronx helped kick things off, performing traditional mariachi renditions of L.A. hardcore band The Bronx‘s tunes. The spirited performance was perfect for boosting the audience’s pre-festival euphoria was particularly entertaining when juxtaposed with The Bronx’s more straightforward set later in the day: muscular hardcore injected with sunset strip swagger and bolstered by frontman Matt Caughthran’s eloquent, street-preacher charisma when he spoke between songs. Former Husker Du front man Bob Mould warmed up the mainstage armed with nothing but an electric guitar and plenty of balls. “Is that too loud for you already?” he chided his audience. “It’s pretty fucking early.”
Though they wrote the book on over-accessible, radio-friendly hard rock, the Foo Fighters’ headlining show payed plenty of homage to a more classic, bluesier era of rock ‘n’ roll, including a howling version of The Who’s “Young Man Blues.” Just over the hill, the dance party was warming up to Portland’s DJ Anjali and the Incredible Kid’s outstanding breed of South Asian-influenced electronica. The duo might as well have been Sasquatch’s house band, cranking out a set every day of the festival.
Saturday started off strong, with New York’s Alberta Cross delivering a powerful rock set on the mainstage effortlessly shifted from jangly to progressive without blinking an eye. The Secret Sisters delivered one of the most mesmerizing sets of the weekend, with a stripped-down, classic country sound with haunting vocal harmonies and plenty of southern charm to go around. Laura and Lydia Rogers can nail the country soul of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline effortlessly, but it’s their originals, like the stirring, gospel-influenced “River Jordan,” that really shine.
Indie stalwarts Death Cab For Cutie took the headlining slot of the evening, but a good portion of the festival’s crowd were already at the Bigfoot stage, waiting in anticipation for Bassnectar’s late night set an hour before he took the stage. On top of delivering a set of dubstep guaranteed to shift your spine, the DJ won over his audience with his abounding graciousness and had an entire field of people moving to his show closing hit, “Basshead.”
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
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Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
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Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
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