Posted in music on May 29, 2007

The following review of Day 1 (May 26, 2007) of the 2007 Sasquatch! Festival in George, Washington is brought to you by Jerry Yeti exclusively for BrooklynVegan.com

during Hold Steady @ Sasquatch 2007

For the second consecutive year, strange natural phenomena have marred Sasquatch Festival. This year's mysterious force - Wind - cut short the Polyphonic Spree on Sunday, and silenced the music at the main stage for nearly three and a half hours. As the other stages continued onward, the remaining bands condensed their sets - Interpol so much so that they finished 10 minutes before scheduled. We didn't see all the bands we wanted to - probably the most saddened by the early start times of the Hold Steady and the Blow, but we took in a wider variety than expected.

The Blow @ Sasquatch 2007Saturday was looking like it would be a Day of Duos kicking off with the Blow, but the Two Gallants immediately shattered that dream by becoming the Two-and-a-Half Gallants. That is, with the addition of a partial? third member. We had better luck with Portland's own Viva Voce, who stayed true to the coupling idea and brought some serious rock to the Yeti stage. Percussive, tight, and [as my scribbled handwriting noted] "They Rocked." Anita Robinson has some serious skills on the frets, as her husband does with the sticks. I had forgotten how catchy their album "Get Yr Blood Sucked Out" is. They stuck to most of its material as they finally finished the tour. Over at the main stage, Neko Case, lingerie model extraordinaire, was similarly focusing on songs off the her latest not-so-recent album and included her cover of Bob Dylan's "Buckets of Rain." Sporting some shades in a gesture that spited the clouds that would not, could not hail nor storm, her voice resonated strong enough to the sunstroke folks below.

Aziz Ansari @ Sasquatch 2007We weren't the only ones fashionably late to the first day of the festival. Comedian and MC Aziz Ansari missed his flight the night before, but arrived at the Wookie stage right in time for Ghostland Observatory. Battling house music, Aziz got a few jokes off successfully before the crowd began to turn restless. Seattle crowds are pretty rough I guess. Sarah Silverman had even less luck at the main stage. Yikes.

As it turns out, Ghostland Observatory are a big deal in Seattle. Thanks to KEXP, the duo -a true one at that- became a mandatory experience and the attendance at the Wookie Stage showed. Always fashionable Aaron Behrens led us through an energy injected performance highlighted with "Sad Sad City," eventually blowing the power out on the entire stage. Of course they did. With that, things were starting to really get going. After all, Aziz had arrived....

Ghostland Observatory @ Sasquatch 2007

Meanwhile...Aziz's crush had not. Back at the main stage, John Roderick had some small feet for some big shoes, filling in for both visa-troubled M.I.A. who was A.W.O.L P.O.W.... not in attendance... and a bombing Silverman. At least Roderick will be funny as usual, right? Unfortunately he didn't banter enough to be both musician and comedian. The Long Winters, aka the band, simply didn't hit the right tones either and while "Stupid" played stunningly, the rest seemed too small. We'll give them a pass this round, because we really do like them.

Sasquatch 2007

Neglecting the Beastie Boys instrumental set -which turned out to be not so entirely instrumental at all, dang it- we hung around for festivities supplied by Manu Chao. Bringing some blazing Spanish guitar, people seemed to really enjoy Manu Chao and we caught on to the over all vibe. He fed off this reaction and played well over his time slot. No one seemed to mind. At least we were keeping warm. When the sun goes down at the Gorge, the mercury drops like lead. Leaded mercury. It's very unsafe.

Then came Arcade Fire. Once the highlight of Sasquatch 2005, they quickly became the highlight of 2007. With a well-balanced set of equal parts Neon Bible & Funeral, they sounded larger than ever and filled the vastness behind them while leaving us breathless and insatiable. At the top of our lungs, we belted along to "Wake Up" into the black emptiness above, ... "a gorgefull" of people as Win Butler said. It may give us chills every time, but the first few dozen bars of "Rebellion (Lies)" is still immensely powerful coming out of "Power Out." And not being able to resist a political jab or two, Win dedicated "Antichrist Television Blues" to Jerry Falwell. But it ended all too soon. For them alone I would return again.

Arcade Fire @ Sasquatch 2007

And yet it wasn't over for Bjork fans. We cut the night short a few songs into her set, and even though this Yeti isn't a fan, I was impressed. I even found myself wishing I was a fan so I could justify freezing and being miserable.

If only it wasn't so cold. We'd be better prepared for Sunday, or so we thought. That to come in a minute...

-Yeti

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Blow photo via HERE.

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Comments (42)

Aziz was booed off the stage because he's an asshole. I think the crowd had a feminist edge thanks to the Blow, Neko Case, and Bjork, so his attempts to use rape jokes to get the crowd going were not well met. Maybe I'm not hip enough to get it, but I thought the best decision he made all afternoon was to cut and run at the Grizzly Bear set by announcing the band and leaving.

Posted by anthony | May 29, 2007 1:26 PM

"Aziz got a few jokes off successfully before the crowd began to turn restless. Seattle crowds are pretty rough I guess."

They aren't rough, Aziz is just not funny.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 1:59 PM

comedians + huge music festival = bad idea

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 2:16 PM

I can't really see that style of East Coast comedy going over well in the Pacific Nortg West, though it can't really help matters when you are late, and doing an off kilter set in between acts in front of a huge outdoor crowd. Maybe they should have set up a tent proper for the comedians, a la Bonnaroo.
Or book Julia Sweeney.

Posted by nastynate | May 29, 2007 2:20 PM

Festival crowds are obnoxious and dickish. Silverman got a similar response, but I guess she's not funny either? How did Showalter do?

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 2:28 PM

Aziz was wasted and making unfunny jokes about being raped. It was pathetic. He, did, however, manage to nearly redeem himself the second day, filling in for an even less funny Sarah Silverman (whom I generally like).

Posted by Camus | May 29, 2007 2:33 PM

"I can't really see that style of East Coast comedy going over well in the Pacific Nortg West"

Thats kind of a dumb statement considering Eugene Mirman's (NYC) CD is on Sub Pop (Seattle)...

Posted by Pedro | May 29, 2007 2:50 PM

"I can't really see that style of East Coast comedy going over well in the Pacific Nortg "

I've never thought of comedy as being a regional thing. Either something is funny or it's not. Although I've suffered through two Michael Showalter stand up sets in my life. Oh God...never again. I think you'd have to pay me $100 to sit through that misery for a third time. Or maybe I just don't get "East Coast comedy."

Posted by CN | May 29, 2007 3:08 PM

Anyone hear about Minus the Bear's set? I know they have a new album coming out soon and am curious how the new material sounds, doesn't seem like any reviewers (at least of those of read) of the fest covered their performance.

Posted by MBF | May 29, 2007 3:09 PM

I caught all of Minus the Bear's set. Unfortunately, from my vantage point, the PA from Blackalicious on the main stage interfered with MtB's set somewhat. Nevertheless, I thought they played a solid set and their sound seemed to improve later into the set. I liked the new material equally with the old...kinda sounds like more of the same. My two companions were less enthused with the set than I was.

Hope that helps.

Posted by Dan | May 29, 2007 3:24 PM

I saw Aziz Ansari perform at the Brooklyn Vegan party at SXSW this year. What a disaster!

He was soooo not funny. He ended up leaving the stage after about a minute b/c no one was laughing even a little. It was offensively bad. And right before he walked off the stage he blamed his trainwreck of a performance on the fact that no one could hear him. Meanwhile, everyone heard him loud and clear, he just wasn't funny.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 3:28 PM

Everyone knows Aziz is the weakest member of The Whitest Kids You Know, who are overall a hilarious comedy troupe! Check out their show on Fuse.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 3:42 PM

Aziz is hilarious most of the time, especially in skits.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 3:50 PM

There certainly is regional humor, but a good comedian would know not to use it at a large festival. For example, making fun of the subway, taxi drivers and musicians who live in Williamsburg is a lot funnier here than it would be there, while politics and religion are "funny" everywhere.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 3:56 PM

Aziz is in The Whitest Kids You Know?

And he's awesome.

Posted by jonathan | May 29, 2007 4:03 PM

"I've never thought of comedy as being a regional thing. Either something is funny or it's not. "

True. Aziz isn't funny.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 4:19 PM

"There certainly is regional humor, but a good comedian would know not to use it at a large festival. For example, making fun of the subway, taxi drivers and musicians who live in Williamsburg is a lot funnier here than it would be there, while politics and religion are "funny" everywhere."

Well, that's kind of a given. But I was thinking more of larger regions (such as the reference to "East Coast" humor which I took to mean more than New York City). Obviously, no one cares about Williamsburg jokes outside of NYC.

Posted by CN | May 29, 2007 4:21 PM

A lot of other NYC comedians are jealous of Aziz's success. Some of them are in the Whitest Kids You Know, and some of them are obviously commenting here.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 4:23 PM

I only know Aziz from skits during various NYC TV shows like New York Noise. Not funny.

"A lot of other NYC comedians are jealous of Aziz's success."

Considering I only know him from public access TV shows and BV, I wouldn't call him a success.

Perhaps I have just been exposed to poor material, is there anything online that I might find funny? From what I seen, he shouldn't quit his day job.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 4:30 PM

OK, I just went to youtube to find more about him. Disregarding the longer ones, I found this clip:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=HD88ewTLQhQ

It confirmed my opinion about him: NOT FUNNY.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 4:37 PM

His day job is making a TV show called Human Giant. A lot of people like it. If you only know of him through 'skits' on New York Noise, which I think we're just hastily taped bits from his off-the-cuff, free, live show 'crash test', you're judging from an extremely poor representation of what the guy does.

Posted by Charles | May 29, 2007 4:39 PM

Co-hosting a 24 hour marathon on MTV? Pffh, that ain't success. Let me know when you have a hit show on a premium digital cable channel like The Whitest Kids U'Know.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 4:44 PM

Sarah Silverman's poop jokes might have been funny to a preschooler, but to just about everyone at the Gorge, her presence was completely unecessary. Don't know what they payed her, but whatever it was, it was too much.

I think Win Butler's exact quote was, "You're pretty quiet for a gorge full of people on drugs." He then stumbled over a joke about never having used the word 'gorge' in that manner before. Still not sure what he was getting at...but I was on drugs...

My highlights: Arcade Fire blowing us all away Saturday, Dandy Warhols warming up the crowd (huddled together like penguins) on Sunday.

Posted by aesob | May 29, 2007 5:19 PM

"A lot of other NYC comedians are jealous of Aziz's success. Some of them are in the Whitest Kids You Know, and some of them are obviously commenting here."

I don't think you could be more wrong. Aziz is friendly with the "Whitest Kids" (and vice versa) and has opened up for their weekly show numerous times, The last time being in February of this year. Both "Human Giant" (MTV) & "WKUK" (FUSE)have been given the green light for a second season.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 6:16 PM

Anon 6:16 knows a lot about Aziz, so he is obviously a friend. I would bet he is also the only pro-Aziz here, commenting over and over again. Like the others have said, Aziz is not funny. Almost anything can be a hit on MTV. Viacom pretty much trashed the staff because of the low ratings.

Posted by Anonymous | May 29, 2007 8:24 PM

i don't think "a hit show" necessarily confirms success. if so, then i probably wouldn't go see a lot of hilarious comedians at rififi, pianos or
union hall. personally, i think aziz is fucking funny. oh - and i happen to be a woman.

Posted by mfk | May 29, 2007 9:57 PM

Sasquatch was such an amazing festival. What a bummer that instead of people commenting about how much fun this past weekend was, everyone is talking about Aziz.

Posted by Dan | May 29, 2007 10:21 PM

I posted anon 6:16 and this is the only other comment I've added to the discussion. I do like Aziz but more importantly I wanted to clear up that there isn't any sort of "Human Giant" "WKUK" feud.

Posted by Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:37 AM

I've seen Aziz a few times and he is consistently funny. He does a free show every week that's hilarious. I can't picture him or any comedian being successful at a festival where people are there to HEAR MUSIC.

Posted by Banjoandro | May 30, 2007 12:47 AM

being a skit comedian has little to do with standup comedy. i ended up watching several hours of that marathon out of some morbid curiosity after all the bv articles and i thought most of the human giant clips were pretty funny but that only highlighted how unfunny the "hosting" was. i mean it was honestly some of the most uncomfortable and uninspired television i have ever seen. and it was strange, one moment, in a clip, these guys would be funny and then cut to them live and, nothing. aziz seemed like a decent enough guy, but that was beside the point. did these guys do any sort of planning for this thing? and at the same time, like i said, it was hard to turn away, like watching a gw press conference.

Posted by pd | May 30, 2007 1:56 AM

Aziz is one of the hippest, and funniest comedians out there. I do understand opposing viewpoints though.. that not everyone can compare to your favorites like Dane Cook and that wily Mexican Mencia.

Posted by Jonny Q | May 30, 2007 5:31 AM

new White Stripes mp3s from "icky thump"

-3000MPH Torrential Outpour Blues
-Conquest
-You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You're Told)


http://www.zshare.net/download/20671512700cea/

Posted by Anonymous | May 30, 2007 9:35 AM

"is there anything online that I might find funny?"

Still waiting....

Posted by Anonymous | May 30, 2007 10:38 AM

Here's a really funny skit Aziz did called "The Shittiest Mixtape Ever", in which he walks around carrying a boombox jamming what is quite possibly the worst mixtape ever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp_wIZ1kVVg

Posted by tbone | May 30, 2007 11:19 AM

Aziz will be at Rififi tonight. Swing by and make up your own mind.

Obviously the commentors here only see things in black and white and that his not being funny is scientifically and theologically proven fact.

Posted by Anonymous | May 30, 2007 12:17 PM

I find Aziz pretty funny usually, and generally speaking, I absolutely love Sarah Silverman, but they weren't funny at all at Sasquatch.

I don't know if it's the atmosphere or the format or what, but comedians just don't come across well in the hosting roll at the festival. David Cross hosted three years back, and while I think he's a comic genius, he was pretty boring as well.

Posted by Quinn | May 30, 2007 1:00 PM

i don't know aziz, but I think he's hilarious... I didn't know so many people hated him

Posted by nat | May 30, 2007 4:00 PM

Silverman was a disaster. Jokes were unfunny -- and having to read Manu Chao's name off her hand was pretty unprofessional (and classless.) Luckily she didn't appear again that night. She wasn't missed.

Posted by me | May 30, 2007 4:47 PM

I suggest hanging out longer at each stage to get a better feel of the "crowd". Seattle crowds arent that rough, Aziz's rape humor just wasnt funny. And it aint all Seattle fans out there, people come from all over the western half of the states (license plates tell you these things), including a large Canadian crowd (think Arcade Fire).

Manu Chao - if you dont know him, Id suggest getting acquainted - he's awesome. Sasquatch was just a taste.

Posted by marcy | May 31, 2007 5:44 PM

Like the above commenter says, it's not Seattle guys -- there were a surprising amount of Canadians/Portlanders/general Oregon and Eastern Washington people there as well. So I definitely wouldn't call it a Seattle crowd by any means.

Posted by Mandy | June 7, 2007 8:58 PM

he's awesome. Sasquatch was just a taste.

Posted by Bottega Veneta Handbags | October 16, 2009 2:51 AM

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