::: Sasquatch! ::: Photo by Hilary Harris
Sometimes never is actually preferable to being late.
Since we are so far removed from Memorial Day weekend, I am not going to bore you with what was and what could have been. The Gorge, always a picturesque venue for any musical carnival that touches down upon its fairgrounds, seemed painfully empty at times. Don’t worry, that didn’t prevent concert-goers from turning it into landfill status long before the Postal Service played their final songs on Monday night.
Git R’ Done, Mother Earth.
Were there fake natives (read: people dressed as Native Americans)? Of course, but there weren’t that many. Did I hear more than one person singing R. Kelly’s “Ignition(Remix)” on more than one occasion? Yes, we are talking about a four day overpriced cocktail party. Gimme some of that
choo choo beep beep.
To make a long story short, there were things I wish I didn’t miss (Built to Spill, Red Fang, Death Grips, Alt-J) and there are things I will never forget
Seeing Elvis Costello live for the first time in your life feels just as good as you would expect. I think the same can be said for anyone who is a legend at their craft and you sincerely appreciate what they do. The music of Mr. Costello and I haven’t always been the best of friends. I feel fortunate to have become more receptive to things that are obviously great, as my calendar days pass.
Divine Fits sounds like you would expect (Just in case you weren’t familiar, the band features Britt Daniel from Spoon and Dan Boeckner from Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs). It’s pretty “rocking”….mostly. For me personally, it’s a weird happenstance that parties from the aforementioned bands would join forces. Both Spoon and Wolf Parade have the uncanny ability to go from much beloved to passionately despised depending on the song/album we are discussing. That sentiment transitioned seamlessly a couple of weekends ago.
The internet ruined any authentic glee that one could feel when witnessing Baauer perform the song in-person. Or maybe it’s just me? (Imagine. A rhetorical sigh.) Has my life reached such a flatlining low that the internet is now more enjoyable than my real-life existence? If I were in a different tax bracket, would that make a difference? It didn’t seem like people were “going ham” for “Harlem Shake.” However, once Baauer smoothly mixed that into this, it was a whole different story. It was definitely one of those “you had to be there” moments. I need to become one of those smartphone savvy bootleggers…
unless my genetic predisposition to alzheimer’s and the like rob me of my memories. Let’s go to the videotape that has been cleverly disguised as recollective transcribed jabbering:
::: Elvis Costello ::: Photo by Hilary Harris
Nick Offerman, not funny. I think I got him confused with another guy named Nick that does comedy. Who would have thought. He did write a catchy song about handkerchiefs, I’ll give him that.
Radical Face is anything but despite their name. Maybe he/they should be called, “Nobody Will Remember Us.” They do have a song about the Merchant of Venicethat is pretty good.
::: Photo by Hilary Harris
I’m not an avid listener of the multi-talented Andrew Bird. However, I must say it does feel pretty damn good laying on your back at the Gorge and daydreaming to his music. Suddenly my life went from distractingly digital to serenely sun-dialed.
::: Tilson XOXO ::: Photo by Hilary Harris
I like my R&B experience to be as organic as possible, which is why I despise most commercialized R&B these days. It’s not that the music or performers don’t have “it.” What turns me off is that the production is so goodthat it makes everything sound like the most soulless shit ever put to tape in what I’d presume is a recording studio. With that being said, I think ya’ll need to check out Tilson XOXO. Much like 2Chainz proclaims to be, this cat is “different.” Everything from the songwriting to his stage attire is a bit off (in a good way). One minute he had a love song that sounded like the B-52′s. The next minute his entire band had a GoGo-esque percussion break with Tilson repeatedly reminding the crowd that, “I can do anything I want.” Indeed you can, cool cat. Indeed you can.
Rose Windows is the best, most groovy band on the planet right now.
I saw nine minutes of their set because I suck at time management.If pop culture were a horse race (actually…..) I’d bet on Rose Windows before those stall gates opened.
::: Rose Windows ::: Photo by Hilary Harris
My favorite concert-goers (in terms of costumes) were back at the Gorge for Sasquatch this year. Jellyfish Crew! Good to see you and your crafty umbrellas that strangely resemble translucent sea life.
James Adomian,very funny. His brand of “disclaimer comedy” had me cracking up. I never realized how homoerotic Gillette Sensor commercials were until this gentleman pointed it out to me.
Chvrches were responsible for my “earworm of the weekend.” As soon as I heard “Recover” from this arresting Scottish electro-pop group, I was basically done for. It reminds me of that one time I got unsuspectingly hooked to Annie’s “Heartbeat”around seven or eight years ago. Even someone such as myself, the most ardent fan of the abrasive forms of punk must show their softer side on the dance floor. I also must give props to Chvrches singer Lauren Mayberry for telling a hilarious (read: unfortunate) tale of being hit with a cup of piss, while sitting on a friends shoulders at a musical festival in Scotland.
Caveman are the only band that I can think of who sound like “There, There” by Radiohead one moment and within a blink of an eye, Huey Lewis and the News the next.
::: Photo by Hilary Harris
“Okay, so I’m a little weird, but I try to be a good guy.” - Kristian Matsson of The Tallest Man on Earth. He also fucked up the words to one of his songs and accidentally created one of the more tender public moments to take place all weekend.
If Jay and Silent Bob had a favorite band, that band would be DIIV.
Fang Island’s“Daisy” there was circle pit of air guitar players. To think of all the shows I’ve been to in my life and I’ve never seen that before. Looking back, I can’t decide if it was the daytime strobe lights or the lyrics, “It don’t matter what you find on the way to find it” but I found myself on the verge of tears by the end of the song. Oh, what a glorious honor it would have been to become “The guy that is crying next to the air guitar circle pit” guy. Maybe next year?
::: Shovels and Rope ::: Photo by Hilary Harris
“Don’t be squirtin’ and desertin!” – Cary Ann Hearst of Shovels and Rope. Hearst was cautioning the audience as it pertained to procreation and the treatment of the environment. Pretty good advice for both unrelated realms, if you ask me. After the band played “Up in Smoke” (which conjured up strange Tom Petty-esque feelings as the sun started to descend), she also told the audience, “It ain’t what you got, it’s what you make.” This might as well serve as the official creed of this Charleston, South Carolina two-piece. They don’t have a lot, but they make a ton of noise. Their set was the definition of a barn burner.
::: Kingdom Crumbs ::: Photo by Hilary Harris
Hip-Hop kind of dominated Sasquatch. I can confidently say that despite missing Death Grips and a few other notable acts. Although I don’t listen to Macklemore, I love seeing him take the stage because he’s really good at what he does. Watching “Same Love” being performed in front of all those people, it felt like I was really listening to the song for the first time (Spoiler Alert: I’ve heard this song a gazillion times prior to Sasquatch). Earl Sweatshirt performing “Whoa” was the coldest even without the accompaniment of Tyler the Creator. Danny Brown
Detroit is in the building! snapped out of his “Kush Coma” long enough to dazzle onlookers with a snaggletoothed delivery over the most outlandish stereo system ever assembled. I’m pretty sure folks in Grand Rapids heard Brown’s set. I finally saw Nissim (formerly D. Black) perform for the first time. His set was a good mix of songs from his days under his former moniker (including songs off of Ali’Yah) and he even played the first single (unless my notes are mistaken, I penned it down as “Miracle Music”) off of his upcoming album, Nissim (it drops in July). With so much of contemporary hip-hop being focused on the stage persona rather than the music that entity produces, I found Nissim’s set to be extremely refreshing. ocnotes played a somewhat spaced out, almost free jazz-styled set on the Cthulu stage. In the process he coined one of the coolest phrases I’ve ever heard (“LSD Viper Gang”) during his song “Run and Bounce.” El-P has been a favorite artist of mine ever since I heard his groundbreaking album Fantastic Damage. El Producto continues to do a better job painting a post-humankind dystopian landscape better than any other author I’m accustomed to reading. Book recommendations welcome. The rest of us mere mortals woke up to the news of the NSA over a cup of coffee. If you listen to El-P’s lyrics, he’s been deftly existing under the radar of a Philip K. Dick novel before the Patriot Act was signed into law. Run the Jewels (El-P’s project with fellow Sasquatch performer Killer Mike, who also had a good set over Memorial Day weekend), album will drop on June 26th. Last, but certainly not least, Kingdom Crumbs continues to be “clutch” performing act. Every time I’ve seen them over the past twelve months, they’ve gotten better and better (and I thought they were good to begin with). In my heart, I’ll always be “some kid with a bunch of punk records.” Leave me alone, Roderick! Yet on this fateful weekend, Hip-Hop was the love of my life.
::: Photo by Hilary Harris
So there you have it. A small slice of the Gorge over Memorial Day weekend. Next year Sasquatch will be happening on Memorial Day weekend and Fourth of July weekend. Festivals are getting jealous of Coachella, they want in on some of that thunder. In 2030, there will be no such thing as a “local concert.” All musical experiences will be in festival form. A festival will happen every other weekend. All concerts will be sponsored by Bank of America, Zombie CISPA, NSA, Robotic Farmers Guild of America and The Dream Police (as envisioned by Cheap Trick, obviously). You heard it here first.