SNAVE'S SASQUATCH EXPERIENCE, v.2011
All in all, I have to say the 2011 edition of Sasquatch was a great festival! There were some great artists this year! I had the pleasure of being there this year with my wonderful daughters Kelly and Katie, and with my great friend Rand (as well as with thousands of other people)!
I have included a number of my own Sasquatch photos here for you to enjoy. You can click on them to make them larger. Regretfully, many of the pictures are somewhat grainy-looking. I hope to have a new camera for 2012... but these should be plenty good enough for you to "get the idea"! 8-)
First of all, there are some bands I didn't get to see, or ones where I didn't see more than a song or two. When it came to Death Cab For Cutie, The Decemberists and Modest Mouse, I simply wasn't very interested in them so I didn't see them play. Local Natives and Wilco were another story; I wish I could have heard entire sets by both of them. I did get to see a few songs from Wilco's set, but I have seen them before and they were playing at the same time as Deerhunter. This is my one Wilco photo, and it's a pretty silly one:
I did get to see a couple of songs by Yeasayer (above), and they were very good. They play pleasant electronic pop music. Gayngs (below) was also interesting.
And I thought Surfer Blood (above) was pretty likeable as well.
Twin Shadow is another one I would have enjoyed seeing, as I like his music.
I also didn't get to see Bonobo, Bassnectar or Ratatat, or any of the other artists at the Banana Shack (also known as the "dance tent"... not that I could have gotten close enough to see anything anyway, it was a real people zoo!) Most of the time the crowd level looked like this:They need to build a bigger "dance tent"!
What I didn't care for so much:
I didn't find The Bronx to be very enjoyable. Way too much testosterone for my tastes from this L.A. punk band. No photos for this one.
Regarding Death From Above 1979, I think it's cool that they reunited and are out touring, but I didn't find them to be particularly enjoyable either; they are a two-piece guitar and drums outfit that primarily deal in noise.
Death From Above 1979
Matt and Kim were fun for the couple of songs I saw, but their stage presence made me think they could have been a band created by Disney... just way too happy and wholesome! Heh... they were good, but just not my musical cup of tea.
And now I will rank the rest of them:
32. THE SECRET SISTERS - This duo sings traditional country and some originals. They have beautiful voices!
"Your Cheatin' Heart"
31. THE DRUMS
Echoes of early U2, which is a good thing.
30. OLD 97s
This band plays great bar-band-style country rock! Singer Rhett Miller is a good entertainer. They are recognized as pioneers of the alt-country movement, along with artists of the stature of Wilco and Son Volt. Seeing the Old 97s was a treat.
29. COLD WAR KIDS
Before seeing them at Sasquatch, I thought they were simple pop/punk... but I guess I hadn't really ever paid attention to them before. There is much more to them than that. Decent songwriting, good singing, and all in all, quite a good band that earned my respect with their performance.
28. THE THERMALS - I didn't manage to get pictures of this band, but I love their energy. They are a three-piece group from Portland, and they play melodic punk music that is not too harsh, but just harsh enough.
27. THE FLAMING LIPS were something of a disappointment, if one could really call it that. I was pretty hyped about getting to hear them do their CD "The Soft Bulletin" from start to finish, but I had forgotten about what a sad album it is, and besides, singer Wayne Coyne did a lot of talking during the show. It was kind of slow-paced and seemed to lack much of the positive energy the band is known for, making it into kind of a downer. The music was good, and it was played well... all the color and excitement was there, with the balloons and great visuals and all. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. Here are some pictures. As usual, their show was a spectacle.
"Race For The Prize"
Singer Wayne Coyne pontificates about something or other.
It was much better when Wayne just sang.
The Flaming Lips are known for their great visual effects.
26. THE ANTLERS - I did not get pictures of this band, either, but I very much enjoyed the portion of their set that I saw. Peter Silbermann has a unique voice that is very listenable. The songs are interesting. After hearing part of their set, I had to download their CD "Hospice"... they are worth a listen!
25. ARCHERS OF LOAF
They reunited recently, and I heard part of their set. It was quite enjoyable.
24. RODRIGO y GABRIELA - Just one picture for this act and it's one of me with them playing onstage in the far background... but still pictures don't do them justice. Look up some of their live performances on YouTube for a real treat! They are former metal guitarists who have gone acoustic. Rodrigo plays amazing leads and melodies, while Gabriela uses her hands and feet to become a human beat-box. Simply wonderful stuff!
Katie and I enjoyed them!
23. !!! is pronounced "chk-chk-chk", according to the band, although they say it can also be pronounced as any string of three identical monosyllables, like "Bam Bam Bam" or "Pow Pow Pow".They are kind of like a modern-day version of INXS, doing guitar-and-synth songs with a hard dance beat. They are one of the leaders of what is referred to as the "dance-punk movement". Their vocalist Nic Offer, while not quite as charismatic as INXS' Michael Hutchence was, struts and prances to great effect, and he truly owns the stage.And at times, he waded out into the crowd! They are a very exciting band, everybody danced!
They are kind of like a bigger band, with strings and horns, and are sort of like a cross between Belle & Sebastian and Arcade Fire. Very pleasant to listen to!
21. IRON AND WINE
I was expecting singer Sam Beam's soft, pleasing, semi-somnambulent folk music but was fascinated to hear him play with a full band... they took off into several avant-garde jams. They were fun!
Sam Beam emotes!
20. BRIGHT EYES
I have not been a fan of band leader Conor Oberst until the latest Bright Eyes CD, "The People's Key", at which point I realized what a great lyricist he is. I still find his vocals to be an acquired taste on his CDs, but in concert he is a very good entertainer.
Eventually he did ditch the hoodie!
Cold and tired during the Bright Eyes set... here, Kelly's hoodie stayed on!
Good friends and good times: John and Rand
19. BLACK MOUNTAIN
This late-Sixties/early-Seventies-style band from Vancouver, B.C. knows what they are doing.
The singer sounds like Grace Slick at times, the guitars and musical arrangements could be from four decades ago. Not all that exciting a stage presence, but they're more about the music anyway. A fun, impressive listen!
18. BOB MOULD
The legendary Mould, formerly of Husker Du and Sugar and now playing solo material, did a solo set to open the festival on Friday evening. He was in fine form on his electric, and I have always liked his voice... hearing him play live was a treat! Later that evening, he joined Foo Fighters on stage for a song from their latest album "Wasting Light".
Katie and Kelly enjoy the afternoon/evening on Friday
Kelly used her hat and Katie used mine (a great stocking hat which Kelly made, by the way) to block the sun
17. SEATTLE ROCK ORCHESTRA
This group is just plain fun, see them if you get a chance! For this show they played the music of Radiohead from "The Bends" and "OK Computer", using a typical band lineup plus a small orchestra of 15-20 people and three vocalists.
In this picture they are doing "Airbag" from Radiohead's "OK Computer" album.
16. ALOE BLACC
He is a genuine soul singer with a fantastic band to back him. If you like the voice of Bill Withers, you might like Aloe!
15. SHARON JONES AND THE DAP KINGS
Sharon Jones is a classic-style soul singer with a fantastic band. She strutted, danced, shouted, sang, and totally entertained! If you ever get a chance to see her, go for it!"100 Days, 100 Nights"
Here is the view looking north from alongside the main stage.
Ambient and pretty music by a band from Wisconsin, fronted by Bon Iver drummer Sean Carey. Interesting songwriting, sometimes echoes Talk Talk from that band's latter days. Lots of space inside the music, and it's very contemplative stuff.
13. PEPPER RABBIT
This three-piece band, including Xander Singh and Luc Laurent, plays atmospheric and mellow music that is also beautiful much of the time. They are a bit on the quirky side, and may be an acquired taste for some, but I would recommend checking them out.
Damselfly on my hat
12. FOO FIGHTERS
I had not paid a lot of attention to them until recently, and I thoroughly enjoyed their performance. Dave Grohl is quite an entertainer, and they did the songs of theirs I like best, including "The Pretender", "Times Like These" and "Learn to Fly". Apologies for the lousy photo!
11. WHEEDLE'S GROOVE
This is an amazing funk band from Seattle, with guys who have been paying their musical dues for years and years. They are about as tight as you can get!
They play basic dance music, but they do it in a way that is fun and exciting. I couldn't help but find myself dancing, and their set was one of happiest and dancin'-est I got to experience this year!
9. THE RADIO DEPT.
This Swedish band plays some of the best dream pop you'll hear. In this presentation, they were a three-piece band that featured two guitars, and a keyboardist who played keyboard riffs while employing a bass and drum program. Sounds kind of synthetic, but hey, it's smooth and it's very nice.
"Heaven's On Fire"
Kelly and I enjoyed The Radio Dept. from above.
8. FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS
From L.A., this band blends pop, soul, rock and R & B in a very enjoyable way. The singer, Michael Fitzpatrick ("Fitz"), sounds a bit like Daryl Hall at times, which I think is a very good thing!
"Dear Mr. President"
Co-vocalist Nicole Scaggs has great pipes and, like Fitz, energizes the crowd... they work so well together!
I liked them enough that I bought their CD "Pickin' Up The Pieces" and got all their autographs on it at their signing session at the Easy Street Records booth:
Katie and I are waiting for autographs
Katie and me with Fitz and the Tantrums.
They were really nice. I asked Fitz how long his band has been together and he said "We've been playing for about two-and-a-half years." I told him I have been in a band for eight years, and while we are good, we could only dream of being as good as his band is. He raised his eyebrows, smiled, and wordlessly and effusively shook my hand. He is a great singer, and he and his bandmates are humble, happy to be where they are today. I hope they go on to great things!
7. WYE OAK
Like Beach House, Wye Oak is a duo from Baltimore. They play cerebral music with few equals. Their stuff is part folk, part rock and part something else.
Jenn Wasner is an incredible vocal talent, and she writes songs and plays guitar. Andy Stack plays drums with both feet and one hand while playing a keyboard with the other hand! In this case, he was playing bass lines... so if you turned your back to the stage, they sounded like a 3- or 4-piece group.
Taking a break.
6. WOLF PARADE
Good, raw rock in the band's final performance. Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug know how to bring it. Much better live than on CD, and it's a real shame they won't be playing any more.
It was a nice sunny time for watching Wolf Parade from above.
5. FLOGGING MOLLY
Their mix of Irish music and punk music creates a happy and festive mood.
I met them at their signing session, and all of them signed the double-live CD I purchased. They're nice people, I like their music, and I like their politics as well!
Dave King is the band leader and primary vocalist, pictured here (above) with his wife and band's violinist (and piper) Bridget Regan.
Evening colors during the Flogging Molly set
Cold, but still enjoying the music!
4. BEACH HOUSE
Their music is so crushingly beautiful, and it almost made me cry. Singer Victoria Legrand has an absolutely gorgeous voice... it sounds perfectly untrained, it is heartfelt, and she knows how to bend notes around my soul.
3. GUIDED BY VOICES
Singer/songwriter Robert Pollard and bassist Greg Demos
Guided By Voices is one of my all-time favorite bands, and they did a great job on the Sasquatch main stage. They took their enthusiastic crowd of us hardcore followers who got right up in front on a great one-hour ride.
Guitarist Mitch Mitchell and Robert Pollard show them how it's done! This is the GbV "classic lineup" tour, and this is basically the same band who did the albums "Propeller", "Bee Thousand", "Alien Lanes" and "Under the Bushes Under the Stars" in the Nineties.
Greg Demos with guitarist Tobin Sprout. While the band is mostly about Robert Pollard, Toby gets to sing once in a while, and he is quite a talent in his own right.
I was afraid the hugeness of the environment would eat GbV up, but they rose to the task... in fact, they kicked butt!
Robert Pollard was in good form today, with great strutting, lots of high leg kicks, and Daltrey-esqe microphone cord twirls. His band has paid lots of dues over the years, but they have never received much but critical acclaim and a cult following. Today, playing before a crowd this size was akin to the band getting a lifetime achievement award at the Oscars... a great reward for lots of hard work over the years, and for a job well done! I love these guys. I hope they gained a bunch of new, young fans at Sasquatch!
They played 20-25 songs during their 60-minute set as Bob sucked down the tequila and Miller Lites. Some of the their songs are only about a minute long, and many clock in at less than two minutes!
Here Bob sings the obscure "Kicker of Elves" from the "Bee Thousand" album
Mitch Mitchell is a real roughhouse guitar player but he is quite a nice guy! When I saw GbV in Portland at the Crystal Ballroom last fall, he visited with me after the show and I got my picture taken with him.
Mitch and Bob
These guys really know how to rock!
Greg and Tobin
Bob belts 'em out
Guided By Voices officially disbanded in 2004, and this is just a reunion tour. Check out their back catalog, particularly the later CD "Do The Collapse".
Pollard churns out solo albums at the rate of three, four, maybe even five per year. He is also an accomplished collage artist. Sprout does amazing true-life artwork, and also records solo material.
2. OTHER LIVES
This band from Stillwater, Oklahoma plays something that is sort of like what you might hear if Pink Floyd married the Moody Blues and then gave birth to Band of Horses, then had Roy Harper do the lead vocals. Hearing them for the first time at Sasquatch was a moment of wonder for me.
Some reviewers tar Other Lives with the label "chamber pop", but what they do goes much deeper than pop music.
Acoustic guitars, synths, cello, all kinds of instruments... and they make it cerebral.
I met them at their signing session, and they were great to visit with. They were very pleased that I bought both their CDs, and they were more than happy to all sign each one. 8-)
I can't get their latest CD "Tamer Animals" out of my CD player at the moment. I know they just released it recently, but I already can't wait for the next one!!
Here the band is performing their set opener, the magnificent "Desire Lines" from the "Halcyon Digest" album.
"Desire Lines": singer/guitarist Bradford Cox and bassist Josh Fauver.
"Desire Lines" was the only song where Bradford Cox didn't do lead vocals. Here it was Lockett Pundt's turn.
This year, Deerhunter was my #1 Sasquatch band by a mile. They cover many moods and many feelings, often simultaneously, and they get into some great jangly pop as well as some fantastic stoner jams. Josh Fauver the bassist was smiling all night long, and I don't blame him. If I was playing in this band, I'd be all smiles too. Right now, I think they are one of the planet's best!
I think band leader Bradford Cox is a genius. Tall and lanky and long-fingered due to having Marfan's Syndrome, the somewhat emaciated-looking Cox is the architect of the band's dreamy sounds. He has a wonderful voice, and knows how to create sound textures onstage that most bands could only dream of doing. He works well with the other guitarist Lockett Pundt. Pundt uses many degrees of reverb, while Cox does the same but also uses loops and other devices to create a sound that is deep and textured.
They did most of the songs from their most recent CD, "Halcyon Digest". Here they are doing "Helicopter".
I have not been made so breathless and mesmerized by a band in ages as I was by this young band that hails from Athens, GA.
I have all their CDs and will continue to keep up with them for as long as they are around! Long may they run!!
Kelly got to have an album signed by Major Lazer. It was a very special moment for her. Here are some fun photos!
Here is Kelly with Thomas Pentz, better known by his stage name Diplo. Diplo and fellow DJ Switch make up Major Lazer. I didn't see Switch here, just Diplo.
The t-shirt I bought this year was Wilco (the green one with the white block letters and the frog)
I bought CDs by Other Lives, Flogging Molly, Twin Shadow, S. Carey, Pepper Rabbit, The Radio Dept., Fitz and the Tantrums
We all camped at the Wildhorse Campground, and it is SO much better in every way than the Gorge Campground. This was our campsite:
Katie and Kelly at our picnic table
The Wildhorse Campground office
The Wildhorse Campground "cafe", which may not look like much from the outside, but which has chefs and has some GREAT food that is cheaper and better than what the food vendors at the Gorge venue offer.
I look forward to going back to Sasquatch in 2012, staying at the Wildhorse Campground again, and having all kinds of fun. Maybe I will see YOU there! 8-)