Sasquatch! 2014 Recap
Day 2: Saturday, May 24
By Andy Bookwalter
My second day at the 2014 Sasquatch! Festival started at about 8:30 a.m., which is a shame because the gates don’t open until noon and music doesn’t start until 1 p.m. The neighbor kids had liquor and hormones to pass the time; I had a box of donuts, coffee and Game of Thrones on the Kindle.
I got to the media lounge at 12:30 p.m. and discovered there weren’t any more Rice Krispy treats (“god dammit!), but what should appear before me like the holy grail? A FLUSH TOILET! (By Sunday afternoon it would take three yellow jacketed security professionals to keep the riff raff away from our sweet, sweet toilet.)
First up was Deap Vally, a ferocious whirlwind of guitars, drums, fishnets and sequins. No dudes, no bass. Although I’m a dude and a bass player I didn’t take it personally until I realized how many great bands out there are sans bass and/or wangs.
Hobosexual is another two person band, but fortunately not a whirlwind of fishnets. As previously mentioned, their PR guy labeled them “2 beards and 4 amps” and it’s appropriate since the Seattle band plays big rock – “van rock” – and their beards are more “70’s era heavy rock guy” and less “70’s era folk weenie.” I spend a lot of time making fun of beards, but these guys were all right.
First Aid Kit was not the band I thought was First Aid Kit. This First Aid Kit is a pair of adorable, relentlessly polite Swedish sisters who play folk-ish Americana. They were completely charming throughout their lovely set on Saturday afternoon.
The Violent Femmes are a nostalgia act who’s glory days took place when 90 percent of the Sasquatch crowd still regularly peed their pants (more on that tomorrow!) so I was a little nervous about their set. Would there be a crowd? Would everyone understand how influential Gordon Gano and company were to roots rock, Americana and the melding of punk and country? Would they play “I Hear the Rain?”
The answers to those questions where “Yes, yes and no.” Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and new drummer Brian Viglione (the Dresden Doll who’s not Amanda Palmer) ran through the hits and seemed perfectly comfortable in their role as elders.
The next act, Neko Case, hit the internets with the best Twitter fight ever last week (“Don’t Peggy Olson me, motherfuckers!”) after a complimentary yet totally clueless review in Playboy. If there’s anything better than Neko playing on a warm spring afternoon at the Gorge I’d sure like to know what it is. Case as an arranger and songwriter has come so far since her debut The Virginian, which was a great album in its own right. Her Sasquatch show was the final stop on her tour promoting her latest, The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.
My contentedness couldn’t last forever, though, as not long after Neko’s set I got edged off my grassy sittin’ spot by some annoying guys, one of whom I later realized was Comedy Central Personality Eric Andre. You don’t annoy an old man off his sittin’ spot without consequences, thus I shall make it my life’s work to destroy Eric Andre.
Next up, MIA. I don’t know if the open space of the Gorge lends itself to the audience participation, call-and-response style performance the British producer and MC was trying for – at times she seemed frustrated by the lack of audience participation. Although, from where I was standing the crowd was eating out of her hand. With the exception of a pair of spectacularly unimpressive peace sign illuminated little drones that threatened to land on her backup dancers, her set melded impressive visuals with hip-hop, dancehall and “world” music.
The last act of Day 2 was The National, who seem like they could be stunning in a smaller venue where you could pay attention to small changes and listen to the lyrics. I felt like I was missing a lot watching them on a huge stage, getting sense of what the music was about but not being able to fully immerse myself. Still, nothing wrong with a band that makes you want to explore further.
When I returned to camp late Saturday night I learned that not only was the trampoline still there, but people were sleeping on it as well as under it. Sigh.
Read Andy’s Day 1 Recap
Read Andy’s Day 3 Recap