I still don’t get Ween. I spent the day asking Gorge goers what they like about Ween and why they were excited to see them close out the final day of the Sasquatch Music Festival on the main stage. I mean, I have friends from Missoula, Mont. who came to the first day of Sasquatch, drove back to Missoula to watch Ween play there, and then came all the way back to Eastern Washington for the final day of Sasquatch just because Ween was headlining.
I was told Ween was really fun live, that their repertoire of musical stylings was vast, that they were an awesome band to watch if you were stoned.
Maybe it was because I was sober: Ween just didn’t do it for me. But thousands of people clearly heard something I didn’t, the crowd was ecstatic, their glow stick necklaces bouncing around in the dark as they did.
I just feel there are so many fantastic bands out there and I only have so much time that there’s a lot of others I’d rather see. Sasquatch seemed to have them all on the final day of the festival.
I started off by catching the tail end of Temper Trap on the main stage and Phantogram at the Yeti stage (both sounded phenomenal). Next up, Seattle hip hop duo Fresh Espresso delivered a hot set to an enthusiastic crowd – for a great detailed review visit Seattle Show Gal’s site. Fellow Seattle native Telekenisis (Michael Benjamin Lerner) kept the Yeti stage solid.
[mp3] Telekinesis – Coast of Carolina from Telekinesis! (2009)
[mp3] Fresh Espresso – The Lazerbeams from Glamour (2009)
The main stage offered an outstanding lineup for Monday afternoon, starting with Passion Pit. I heart Passion Pit, but I heart them even more after seeing them live. Michael Angelakos’ voice is amazing, and he was on point on Monday. I was pleasantly surprised by She & Him. I had wondered how their mellow sound could fill the main stage, but Zooey Deschanel and her charming personality did the trick. She was all bouncy energy and lovely notes, and as the day’s intermittent rain clouds parted, it felt like the sun had returned just for her. Band of Horses was also an ideal choice for the main stage at Sasquatch. Their music felt just right for the time and place.
[mp3] Passion Pit – Sleepyhead (The One AM Radio Remix) from Loose Ends: Rare & Unreleased Tracks (2009)
On the Bigfoot stage, The Mountain Goats were fun, Scottish band Camera Obscura sounded sweet and The New Pornographers gave a brilliant (and long) set to close out Monday evening.
[mp3] The New Pornographers – Crash Years from Together (2010)
[mp3] The Mountain Goats – 1 John 4:16 from The Life Of The World To Come (2009)
The Rumpus Room was a throbbing, sweaty scene Monday evening, first with Hudson Mohawke (sounded great, but definitely not exciting to watch) and Neon Indian (fantastic show, Alan Palomo is an amazing, compelling performer) before Boyz Noise closed out the night.
[mp3] Neon Indian – Sleep Paralysist from Green Label Sound (2010)
Japandroids won the award for rocking out the hardest on Monday. Guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse had the crowd so wound up, the barrier began to fold and a bevy of security guards were brought in to hold it in position throughout their set. Somehow these two guys on two instruments create a sound that is exponentially larger than themselves, and is crazy fun to watch.
[mp3] Japandroids – I Quit Girls from Post-Nothing (2009)
A few final notes on Gorge going:
The campground is just a hop, skip and a jump across the desert to the venue, and definitely the way to get your full Sasquatch experience. Do not plan on sleeping, do bring earplugs if you really want to and stock up on the hand sanitizer. You will be dirty, but so is everyone else.
There is the nearby Wild Horse Campground, which I hear is a little calmer and cleaner, and they offer a shuttle service to the Gorge. Otherwise, your choices are to drive to nearby small towns of Ellensburg, Moses Lake, Quincy or Ephrata to stay in the comfort of a hotel.
You’ll find standard carnival fare at the Gorge – burgers, chicken strips, pizza, yakisoba noodle bowls, pretzels – with most items in the $8 range. You can bring a cooler with all the food and unopened non-alcoholic drinks you want though, which is probably the way to go if you’d like to save some cash.
If you are going to drink, either be smart about sneaking stuff in, or be prepared to shell out some big bucks to get hammered. A beer will run you between $9 and $12, or you could go for the $14 margarita, which I was told didn’t pack much of a punch. The good news is, you can stop in at an alcohol wristband station, get your drinking bracelet and proceed to buy and consume alcohol throughout the concert grounds.
The Gorge is pretty relaxed about consumption of all other substances. In the 10 years I’ve been going to shows there, I’ve never seen anyone get busted inside the venue for anything other than very bad behavior. But outside the Gorge gates, the cops are waiting, which is another selling point for the nearby campgrounds.
Finally, put next year’s Sasquatch on your calendar. Watch for when tickets go on sale and be the first to buy them. Because 2011 marks the 10th anniversary of this phenomenal festival, and you can bet concert organizers will have some exciting plans in store.
For entire picture collection, click here.
Erin Lodi is a freelance writer and photographer. She lives in Seattle.