Day 2 really tired me out, after three nights in a cold tent, I decided the schedule wasn’t essential enough until around 3pm, so I stayed back at the campsite and tried to recharge my strength for the evening. Being a mostly indie rock day with the bands scheduled, I really just tried to make who I knew or had heard of. The majority of the bands before 3pm were not of these two goals, though because of the line I did miss Drive By Truckers… Meh.
We arrived in time for Dr. Dog’s set, a band I had never really gotten into but my friend insisted that their new album was quite good. We got up pretty close because it seemed everyone was over at Passion Pit (sorry but that guy’s voice just makes me want to run into walls). Dr. Dog really killed it though, bringing some innovative guitar rock to the crowd. The dual guitar attack and the strong vocalists did great trade off on most of the tracks, and Ween’s bassist and drummer even made it to the set to see what all the fuss is about this band that keeps gaining more and more ground.
She & Him hit the main stage right after, so we jumped over to grab a bite to eat in the lawn and take it all in. The crowd was at full capacity again for the two crooners, and they played their gentle, sunny tunes to an easygoing crowd. The weather was unbelievably nice that day; there wasn’t the wind of the first night or the overbearing humidity of the second day. I think this set basically proved how the Gorge is the greatest outdoors venue in the country, not because of the tunes (which were still great) but because of the whole scene. It was like a big county picnic, complete with a band that sounded like the Carpenters on stage.
Band of Horses continued the marathon of music on the main stage, and the crowd didn’t budge from their spots on the lawn from the band before. I was amazed at how popular that band has become as well. While I don’t love the new album (it sounds like Fleet Foxes but a bit more heavy), I do enjoy some of their older tunes. I watched about half their set to see how they pull it off, and it wasn’t bad at all.
We then jumped over to the Bigfoot stage for the rest of Camera Obscura’s set. I saw them a few times in New York, and I always loved the sort of High School prom vibe they put on. The songs were also a perfect accent to the beautiful day. We sat in the grass and hummed along with the Scottish singers. At one point a huge dark cloud appeared over the stage, almost threatening to pour. The band explained that this was a cloud that frequently followed them about. But they noted their pleasure to be invited to a festival where it actually rains, as that’s what they’re accustomed to at their home. A couple songs later something amazing happened, the dark cloud suddenly spit out a rainbow, which arched over the stage. Singer Traceyanne Campbell, who rarely smiles, had to at that moment.
The New Pornographers came onto the Bigfoot stage next, and I smiled big as Neko Case took her place onstage. I do so love me some Neko, and was happy to hear the whole band was joining the core crew onstage. Dan Bejar also attended, and led the band in the song “Myriad Harbor.” They played many new songs, but a few old hits as well. At one point some kids came over from the MGMT set (sorry guys but I can’t handle that band either, and their new album is a big step backward, but I’m sure it was quite the dance party) and threw some inflatable whales into the crowd. The band seemed a bit in the mood to rip on MGMT, and told the kids to bring it back over to their stage. As the festival was winding down, people starting filing out past the Bigfoot stage to pass on Ween and go home. Singer AC Newman asked where everyone was going, and Neko said, “They must have been over at MGMT and were mad they didn’t play ‘Time to Pretend.” Their crowd loved it and they continued ripping on the band as I headed over to the main stage to grab a good spot for Ween.
So I’ve seen Ween a few times now, and I have to say this may have been one of my favorite sets. It was completely different songs then I’d heard them play for the most part, and they really were in the mood to rock. A good amount of people stuck around to catch the band, which I was a bit surprised at. We all sang and drank and generally lost our minds as Ween ripped through a two hour set of madness and amazing musicianship. To say they’re the modern Frank Zappa is probably obvious, but also true. And seriously, when Gene Ween suddenly busted out a pitch-perfect cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, the crowd went crazy. Not to mention the awe-inspiring, incendiary (eat your heart out Cameron Crowe) guitar work of Dean Ween, I mean what else do you need? As the show came to a close, we stared out into the darkened Gorge exhausted, happy, and ready to pass out. Another Sasquatch had to come to a close and I knew that I’d be back next year. Until then, I’ll be resting my tired feet.
My friend James filmed all the videos these three days, including a Ween blowout, enjoy: