May 22, 2012

No Rest for the Wicked … Sasquatch’s Line-Up Demands You Get There When the Gates Open



Charles Bradley ::: photo by Abbey Simmons

Ah, camping at the Gorge. Where inevitably your tent is always placed next to the techno RV, the drunk Canadians or the angry suburban bros prone to exposing themselves (to list my most recent neighbors) … Since you may not be getting much sleep at night, its easy to hope you could catch a little extra shut eye in the morning and not miss out too much by skipping the earliest bands taking the stage. Unfortunately, if I told you that, I’d be lying. In fact, some of the acts I’m most excited for at this year’s Sasquatch play just after the gate’s open every day. So bring your ear plugs to help you get some sleep and get in line early, these are bands worth waking up for.


Allen Stone ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

Friday – Allen Stone (5:00pm) – Sasquatch Mainstage

Alright, so you won’t have to wake up early to catch Allen Stone on Friday, but you will have to make the proper arrangements to be able to have Friday off. If you’re heading to the campground, I suggest leaving before noon (or even better, Thursday after work), so you have time to set up your camp, deal with any traffic or delays getting into the campground and not torturing yourself by just hearing Allen’s funky falsetto drifting across the Gorge. Because Stone is a performer to be seen. While you won’t find me spinning his record at home, I don’t miss a chance to see Stone take the stage. He is, simply put, a pro. Capable of keeping the attention of a Sasquatch sized crowd with not only his vocal agility, but the “greasy” charm seeping from his pores. If you’ve been confused by the hype, but haven’t seen Stone yet, I suggest you see for yourself. If you’ve seen him before, I suspect you already have plans to get there early.

Read the rest of my recommendations


Pickwick ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

Saturday – Pickwick (noon) and Charles Bradley (1:15) – Sasquatch Mainstage

When making fantasy tour line-ups, which I do instead of playing fantasy baseball, Pickwick opening for Charles Bradley is a first round pick. That it will be actually be happening on the Main Stage at Sasquatch makes me feel like my team hit a grand slam for the win. Students of the same soul greats, Pickwick and Charles Bradley have let their shared influences take them down different paths. While Pickwick mixes soul with indie rock sensibilities, Bradley is a traditionalist, singing of heartache and pain as he shimmies and shakes in sequins that would make James Brown jealous. Both bands were responsible for some of my favorite shows in 2011 and its easy to imagine these back-to-back sets could be some of my favorite performances of 2012.

Sunday – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (1:00) at Sasquatch Mainstage or Reignwolf (1:20) – Yeti

There are two equally tempting ways to start Sunday at Sasquatch. One, I can assure you will be worth waking up for. The second, I can only take other’s words. The sure thing is the sweet sounds of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. playing the Mainstage at 1:00. These goofy Detroit dudes will have you dancing, waking your ears and eyes up with a candy-coated take on modern pop that’s sure to be stuck in your head for the rest of the day no matter how many acts you cram in. My only concern about starting the day of with Jr. Jr. is the delicacy of their sound getting lost in the giantness of the Gorge.

Which leads other to the other early option, who will have no problem filling the cavernous space … the much buzzed about Reignwolf. Jordan Cook is being heralded by many to be the second seventeenth coming of Seattle rock, the answer for a city full of people sick of folk songs. Well, I like folk songs and haven’t ever been one to long for the “good old days of grunge,” but I am intrigued by the fervor of Reignwolf’s fans, more than one of whom has foamed at the mouth to me about his mind-blowing talent. While some of these people are prone to over-hyping underwhelming bands, a number of Reignwolf’s most vocal fans are Seattle stalwarts no longer excited by much and their eyes glisten with a devilish excitement at the mention of his name. A one man mix of hair metal an two-ton-balls blues riffs, folks who know have told me time and time again that Reignwolf is only to be understood and appreciated live and that I better hang on to my brain. So like my recommendation for seeing Allen Stone to believe the buzz, I’ll be trusting others and getting out of bed to see who this mystery man is with my own eyes and ears.


Gold Leaves ::: photo by Josh Lovseth

Monday – Gold Leaves (12:15) – Yeti

By the time day four of a Fest rolls around, no matter where you’re sleeping, fatigue has set in and you’re ready to trip the next suburban teenager you see wearing face paint and feathers. As to not get dragged out by security before Beck takes the stage that night, I’ll opt to start my day with something sweet and mellow: the honeyed harmonies of Grant Olsen and his local all-star band, Gold Leaves. There’s a sexy sleepiness to Gold Leaves songs, a Hazelwood-haziness that’s just right for over-worked ears and bodies.


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