Day 2 of Sasquatch, the most dance-oriented lineup of the weekend, was an early start for me because for some reason the organizers put Caribou’s set at 12:05. I had missed them when they played the day before I left in Portland, so I needed to see their show from what my Brooklyn friends claimed. So I pulled myself out of the tent, made an amazing breakfast of egg and cheese sandwiches, packed a lunch and headed off. I slipped right in though security with little trouble and headed straight over to the main stage to literally catch them as they went on stage. The band severely impressed the crowd, which was quite large for such an early set. Their dual drumming attack and overall talent of the band blew the crowd away.
Then something sort of amazing happened, again, on the lawn. Many people may remember a video from Youtube from last year’s Sasquatch where an odd man danced alone during Santigold’s set, and then suddenly tons of people rushed over, causing an impromptu dance party. If you don’t remember, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAwhrLHsIGQ&feature=related. Well when Caribou played their hit “Odessa” off their new album Swim, it happened again. This time, literally right next to me. My friend was filming the song, but didn’t notice what was happening until halfway through. I’ll include the video below.
What happened was there was about two people dancing next to me, and suddenly every person dancing in the area ran over to them, until the song ended and about 200 people were dancing around me, forcing me of course to join them otherwise I’d be trampled. It may be on Youtube already, but here’s our version. The party didn’t end there though, it kept going throughout the set, showing how amazing this band was, and how their horrible time slot still couldn’t keep people away. People, go see Caribou now!
I headed over to Local Natives on the Bigfoot stage shortly after, to find the LA band with quite the following. I had never heard them, but my friend maintained they were amazing, so we stood on the edge of the crowd watching the monitors and listening. The band ripped through a great set of tunes that included a cover of the Talking Heads’ “Warning Sign,” which got the crowd moving. These guys are making lots of friends out there in the music world, so check them out now while they’re small.
The Tallest Man On Earth kept the crowd from Local Natives around for his 2:35 set, bringing even more fans over from the other stages to check out this Swedish marvel. The Sasquatch bio described the man’s first show in NYC at Town Hall where he wowed the crowd opening for Bon Iver, which I happened to be at. Since then I’ve been a huge fan and really love the stripped down, earnest songs this man creates. The crowd loved him and cheered when he sang a cover of Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” This man will sell out venues very soon, so you need to see him now, trust me.
As the last chords rang out for Tallest Man on Earth, I sprinted over to the Yeti stage for the Tune-Yards. Merrill Garbus, the main foil of the two-piece, played a snare and a floor tom mostly, singing and often playing the ukulele. The most fascinating part of the set for me, and there were a lot of those moments, was before beginning the song Merrill would loop the drum beats live. This usually consisted of her hitting the drums in time, then hitting the mic stand a few times to layer it. It was pretty impressive to see each time. Her singing style and her songwriting process is so different, but the majority of the crowd was dancing the whole time. Most of the songs had a sort of island vibe to it, which seemed appropriate for those watching on that sunny afternoon.
I stopped by Cymbals Eat Guitars at the Bigfoot stage because I’d heard good things and found myself putting in earplugs and walking away shortly after. I didn’t outwardly dislike them; I just didn’t really understand their songs in a live context perhaps. I heard so many influences and so many different attempts to try and be original by utilizing all those ideas that just ended up sounding sort of obnoxious. I used to spend my days in VFW’s listening to the most heavy, ridiculous metal ever created, but this I couldn’t deal with, maybe I just didn’t get it. Perhaps on record they’re a different story, but live it was so off-putting.
I then poked my head into the comedy tent for the only time the whole weekend because there was sort of a lull in the schedule for me at the time. I saw a bit of Mike Birbiglia, and stayed basically out of boredom until a group of kids dressed as super heroes of some sort, around 20, rushed into the audience and pushed their way through the stage. Mike seemed a bit amused for a moment, but then they just ran back the way they came. I heard him saying expletives at group as I walked out myself, the last thing I heard from him was, ”What was the point of that?” Indeed…
I walked over to the Yeti stage to catch the beginning of the Freelance Whales set, a band I’d actually come to know from their opening for Fanfarlo on a recent tour. I was impressed with them that night, and got into a few songs on their album, so I thought it’d be a great set to catch.
Unfortunately they had a lot of technical problems, which may or not have had to do with all the instruments they had on the tiny stage. Either way, they started a bit late and ending up sounding quite out of tune well into the first song, leading one to believe they couldn’t hear each other very well. I stayed for a bit then felt a bit embarrassed for them honestly because it just kept happening. When I passed by later on my way to another band, they were still a bit off; everyone has those days I suppose.
Taking a bit of solace, I headed to the main stage and took in some of Tegan and Sara’s set. The lawn was jam-packed, so I just sauntered along the bottom rim that separate the lawn from the floor and heard a few songs. I’ve seen the Canadian sisters a couple times, and they don’t disappoint. They’re always on their A-game, and have a solid touring band. They’re also pretty hilarious to listen to between songs most of the time. They didn’t talk much because of their allotted time, but kept the crowd quite happy with love song after love song.
I headed back over to the Bigfoot stage to meet my friends in the midst of The XX’s set. With a big black X sitting behind the drummer, the young Britons played there dreary tracks to a high energy crowd on a sunny day. It just didn’t fit the scene at all, but the fans seemed to love it. Their debut album garnered them a lot of press and it served them well it seems, because the fans knew every word.
We had a bit of time to kill before LCD Soundsystem, so we stopped at the Yeti stage to catch some of Vetiver. I had never heard them before, but I was immediately into their blend of folk and roots with a bit of rock guitar. I had read they frequently played with Joanna Newsom and Devandra Banhart, so I was interested already. I only heard two quick songs before scooting over to the main stage, but I plan on checking out a whole lot more of their tunes.
The time I had waited for all day had finally arrived, LCD Soundsystem at the main stage. Day 2 was certainly a dance-oriented day looking at the acts, so the kids were out with their shoes tied tight for the band. When they hit the stage the crowd began rushing in to fill the floor as quick as possible, then they shut it off from the rest, leaving us safely inside. The band jumped right into “Us v. Them” claiming they were a band with long songs so they’d fire through their set as quickly as possible. Their was definitely an elevated temp on the songs throughout, but that just fired the crowd up more.
Playing a few tracks from their new album This Is Happening, LCD had the entire festival on its feet. Looking up from below I couldn’t see a person seated. By the third song there wasn’t a bit of grass to be seen on the lawn anymore, and a long line of dancing fans had begun encircling the entire lawn area repeatedly. From how my feet felt that night, I knew I had danced just hard as the masses. In the final song, “All My Friends” the band had the crowd in the palm of its hand as they played the incessant beat. The entire crowd, all 60,000 people or so, began shouting in succession with the beat, the whole lawn even doing “the dig” dance move in unison (you know which one, where you pretend to dig with a shovel). To say I’d be ever so sad if this band does indeed stop touring and putting out records after this tour would be a massive understatement. This band put its all into their set, and it was wonderfully obvious.
I dragged myself over to Dirty Projectors on the Bigfoot stage shortly after, needing to see them whenever I get the chance, which is often. They were amazing as always, wowing the crowd with their insane songwriting and intricate melodies. At one point they told the crowd to turn around and just appreciate the sun set as it painted the sky. Singer/guitarist Amber Coffman then asked the crowd to sing happy birthday to her dad and asked people to post it to Youtube (which I did below). The band ripped through a quick set that included many songs from Bitte Orca, and then some old tracks as well. Overall, it was a great band to watch the sunset with.
By this point I was exhausted, two late nights and dancing all day had me worn out. But I really wanted to see some of Pavement’s set, as I’d never gotten the chance when I was like 14. So I crawled up the hill to the main stage and sat through a few songs of the old masters. They had the crowd almost sort of in awe when I got there, the band just playing like they had never left. I saw a lot of happy and amazed people just grinning over the Gorge that night.
I sat staring at my Sasquatch iPhone app that told me the schedule all weekend and considered my situation. Did I wait around another hour or so for Massive Attack just to see a few songs, or did I go back to camp and make a massive meal? Yeah, I didn’t make it to Massive Attack, but I don’t really regret it – the ensuing BBQ was quite epic as well. I heard from my Vancouver, BC neighbors that the visuals were quite intense and the show high-energy, so maybe I should have made the effort. But as anyone who attempts to ford a festival knows, you just can’t see them all.