For Day 2 at the Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater, I was again excited for one of the first sets of the afternoon, this time with L.A. band Local Natives. I saw them at SXSW earlier this year and was blown away. I still can’t stop listening to that record.
I made it to the Bigfoot stage just in time to watch them run through the best of Gorilla Manor, giving as equally a riveting a performance as they did down south. There is just something about this band’s sound, harmonic singing and frantic onstage energy that makes them captivating to watch. Plus, Taylor Rice really does have a kickass mustache. A member of Suckers, currently touring with Local Natives, also joined them onstage for a song.
[mp3] Local Natives – Airplanes from Gorilla Manor (2009)
Day 2 of Sasquatch was cooler with some merciful cloud cover (a neck sunburn from day one sure did remind me to lather on the SPF for day two). I felt a lot of the music I saw on Sunday fit the change in the weather, with plenty of softer sounds on all stages. I took in Jets Overhead, Tallest Man on Earth (a sweet singer/songwriter who is indeed very short of stature), Avi Buffalo, Vetiver, Girls and The Long Winters (who did rock it out for their final number with a great rendition of “Touch of Grey”).
[mp3] Avi Buffalo – Remember Last Time from Avi Buffalo (2010)
[mp3] The Tallest Man on Earth – Graceland (Paul Simon Cover) from King of Spain B-Side (2010)
I was most impressed by the Tune-Yards. Merrill Garbus started off her set as a fierce tribe of one, her face streaked with white and gold paint, grasping her ukulele, one foot on the pedal of her sound machine, bringing in backup vocals and noise enough to create an invisible backing tribe. She was later joined by a guitarist and saxophonist, but the entire performance was in Garbus’ hands. She sings with strength and conviction, and adds a hell of a lot of ingenuity to accompany it.
[mp3] Tune-Yards- Sunlight from BiRd-BrAiNs (2006)
Kid Cudi gave a knockout performance on the main stage and had the entire outdoor arena pulsing to big hits like “Day N Nite,” as well as the new “Revolution.”
[mp3] Kid Cudi – Pursuit Of Happiness (feat. MGMT & Ratatat) from Man On The Moon: The End Of Day (2009)
Other notable bands were Freelance Whales (solid set from “Weathervanes,” these kids sound so fresh every time I hear that album), The Dirty Projectors (in the same vein as Freelance Whales, a big, multi-member group with a big sound to match) and The xx (like the album, the group is understated but solid live).
[mp3] Freelance Whales- Generator ^ First Floor from Weathervanes (2010)
[mp3] The xx – Islands (Nosaj Thing Remix) (2010)
The main stage offered a blast to the past with ‘90s sensations They Might be Giants and Pavement. If you liked them in the last decade, you’d like them now, but personally, I’m still reveling in the return of ‘80s fashion and sounds and I can’t quite yet feel nostalgic for bands that really weren’t even that cool in their day. (I also caught newer group Cymbals Eat Guitars on the Bigfoot stage and thought they sounded very angst-driven ‘90s too – maybe the grunge decade is making a comeback? God, please, no.)
LCD Soundsystem was one of the last bands to take the main stage. They sounded amazing, and I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to wind down an evening at the Gorge than by singing “All My Friends” together.
Final performances of the night included Massive Attack on the main stage, Simian Mobile Disco in the Rumpus Room or Public Enemy at the Bigfoot stage. I was sitting backstage, going over my choices, when a very friendly man started asking me about my camera. With my long 70-200 mm lens on, I often get people asking if I’m taking pictures (really?) or drunk dudes asking me to take their picture, but this guy actually seemed to know what he was talking about, so we chatted for a while, he showed me some of his recent prints and took notes as I gave him some recommendations for the kind of photography he’s getting into. We exchanged cards and he introduced himself as Professor Griff. And, yes, that’s when I asked him what he was doing at Sasquatch. He told me he was there with his band, and, yes, I asked which one. “You might have heard of us,” he said, completely politely, “we’re called Public Enemy.”
It made my choice for what band to cap off my night with pretty easy. Despite some early sound issues, Public Enemy absolutely brought the noise and had the crowd fired up even as the rain began.
[mp3] Public Enemy – Shut Em Down (Pete Rock Remix) from Shut Em Down (1991)
Before I close out this post, let’s talk a little concert fashion: At this year’s Sasquatch, the trend is feathers and facepaint. And both are so prevalent you’d think it was dress code to enter the venue. I started a set on my Flickr photostream showcasing some of the best examples I saw.
I also met a couple of well-coordinated groups, including the “gold group” I spotted on Saturday. Lauren Frank of Broke River, Ore. and her large group of friends all donned golden fleeces (of all kinds) to celebrate her 29th “golden birthday.” They planned to continue with a Western wear theme on Sunday and fluorescent duds on Monday. Sure does make your buddies easier to spot among 20,000-plus.
But Myrosha Daley’s pals from Vancouver, British Columbia took organized group attendance to the next level. Their efforts to coordinate nearly 40 friends who took in all three days together were truly admirable. They traveled en masse, feather appendages catching the breeze and signifying their collective status.
Tomorrow: Drinking, eating and sleeping at the Gorge. And I’m going to try to figure out why everyone loves Ween.
For entire picture collection, click here.
Erin Lodi is a freelance writer and photographer, and an Eastern Washington native, who lives in Seattle.