Sasquatch! 2006 | Sunday review in words & pics
A VIEW FROM SASQUATCH!
“There’s nothing that makes us feel more like a sissy,” Ben Gibbard admitted Sunday night, “than playing after Queens of the Stone Age.” Indeed. While we missed the first half of that classic clash of genre, we could only imagine what the organizers were thinking. It wasn’t the first odd segue of the day, but for the most part everything else flowed like the Columbia River. Naturally, the Arctic Monkeys should always open for the Decemberists.
Still moist from the day before [read that however you wish], Sunday began with a noon performance by Jamie Lidell, giving us a good reason to chug some Bloody Marys and haul over to the stages early. The ground around the Wookie stage was doomed to be a muddy mess, but squishy socks get dismissed in the presence of the charismatic Lidell. Having missed his recent NYC gigs, I had assumed he’s a typical DJ, spinning beats and turning knobs to produce electronic music. Little did I realize that each of those sonic elements -the blips, scratches, and bass beats- are all produced with his mouth, all mixed in with some skat and soulful melodies. The percussive result got us stomping in the mud like a bunch of yeti.
PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES @ SASQUATCH! 2006
We swung by the Main Stage to check in on Pretty Girls Make Graves playing to an appreciative hometown crowd. Their keyboard player was painfully cute, and possibly the second hottest all weekend [Number One? see Damien Jurado’s cellist]. At the same time Chad VanGaalen started off his performance weak but resurrected it fittingly with “Clinically Dead.”
NADA SURF @ SASQUATCH! 2006
Nada Surf on the other hand kicked things off strong with “Popular” the only song I knew for sure they sang. Teenage girls were in strong force and we felt certain we’d be rolling our eyes as they swooned around us. [One girl even had them circled on her schedule with a heart]. Instead of dippy teen-rock, Matthew Caws lead us through an array of disarmingly well-crafted pop songs. Caws choreographed the crowd to sway back and forth for “On the Inside,” [Ah-hah! Another one I know!] which would have been hokey, if it wasn’t such a damn good song. Always looking hip was bassist Daniel Lorca continually smoking his cigarette in complete ignorance –or perhaps defiance- of the festival’s sponsor “Tobacco Smokes You.”
ARCTIC MONKEYS @ SASQUATCH! 2006
In the interim, the teens packed it in as snuggly as a cartoon of Marlboros for the next act. Such eager energetic acne-ed youth could only mean one thing: Arctic Monkeys. The A’Monks appeared, played through a few disastrously good songs, the crowd responded by going apeshit all around us. Alex Turner informed the cord this was their first outdoor gig ever and thanked us *twice* for making it a good one. That’s the biggest complement you’ll ever get out of him. Crowd surfing was rampant, with as many as five being hoisted up at one time.
ARCTIC MONKEYS @ SASQUATCH! 2006
With perfect timing, a few rain drops fell during the finale of “A Certain Romance,” and we retreated to the back to watch Colin Meloy lead the Decemberists through a delightful show. Average par if you know the Decemberists, but for those who didn’t they were a highlight. No surprise there. It was nice to finally hear “July, July!” and sing along with a bunch of ecstatically drunk North Westerners who knew every single lyric. I had to phonetically fake a few, due to my limited vocabulary, but I don’t think anyone caught on.
WE ARE SCIENTISTS @ SASQUATCH! 2006
We Are Scientists started their set while Meloy was finishing up, and the magic of the Gorge made it one of their best yet; just one of numerous defining performances all weekend. W.A.S. brought their catchy rock that we have yet to tire of, and some ad-lib banter that was tired before it was spoken, only getting dumber and dumber and dumber. They crack themselves up though, and as long as they are having a blast, it’s not to yourself.
MATISYAHU @ SASQUATCH! 2006
Matisyahu seemed to be on everyone’s shortlist the Top Five acts to see all weekend. I don’t love Matis, but I love that other people love him. From the view from above, he was working the crowd like none all weekend, only comparable to the way Kanye West worked us last year. When a rainbow appeared, he gave us some puzzling theology about Noah and the Ark of the Covenant: something about giving God a second chance when he screws up. And all this time I thought that was *his* job. Oh well. He got the audience grooving to his message and that’s all that counts.
DAMIEN JURADO @ SASQUATCH! 2006
Back at the Wookie, Damien Jurado played after We Are Scientists and before Clap Your Hands, a spot originally meant for those Arctic Monkeys. Jurado called it a Rock-Damien Sandwich. “We’re kind of mellow if you hadn’t noticed,” he quipped after a particularly somber number. “A Rock-Damien sandwich? That’s some good bread.” the cute cellist remarked. While they might not have been the ideal band to play an outdoor festival, it was a welcome change of pace. We were entranced in the slow soft melodies. “Lottery” and “Ohio” were both excellent, as well as closing number, a superb [new?] one with the cellist singing into a small megaphone.
DAMIEN JURADO’S CELLIST @ SASQUATCH! 2006
With the audience now tranquilized, the calm didn’t last long as Clap Your Hands Say Yeah floored it. From the first notes onward, Alec Ousnworth was in control in spectacular fashion. Instead of duplicating their recordings on the stage, they play around with the arrangements -adding intros, extending outros- so that while we’ve all outplayed the songs, they still sound fresh. Furthermore, Ounsworth couldn’t hold still; anyone who said he lack presence needs to take another look. The crowd up front sang danced like there was tomorrow, realizing that –oh shit- there was no tomorrow.
We’ve heard from many that the sound further back for CYHSY was abysmal, so perspectives may vary. From where I stood, it was the most fun show of the weekend. With that, Sasquatch was as complete as it could be.
We moseyed over to the main stage to hang out on the hill for Death Cab, certain they would be worth missing based on past shows, only to realize too late that they too were playing one of their best shows we’ve yet to experience. Ben Gibbard never looked more at ease than on stage Sunday night in front of 20,000 fans. Maybe it was the Northwest hometown crowd; whatever it was, they didn’t play like sissies.
A VIEW FROM SASQUATCH!
Beck closed out the weekend, giving us a fitting send-off with live puppeteers mimicking move-for-move the band’s actions, complete with synchronized strumming. When two bears came out to rap and wrestle [don’t even ask], two teddy bears mirrored the fight on the puppet stage. The band played percussion around a dinner table, but it was hard to tell exactly what was going on; the cameras were continually trained on the puppets playing percussion on their own faux dinner table, with obviously much less accuracy. For the encore, the opening bars of “Loser” got the entire Gorge in a frenzy, followed by the realization that it sounded too perfect, too much like the album. It was. The puppet lip-synced along but Beck never joined in. Shortly thereafter Beck apologized for covering a song already performed that weekend and then played the Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize.”
After some confusion after a awkward pause following the encore, hinting at a second one, the festival was complete… until next year. Maybe we’ll have the Les Savy Fav open for Joanna Newsom. Oh please oh please oh please.
Sasquatch! 2006 | Saturday review in words & pics
Arctic Monkeys’ new bassist @ Sasquatch! 2006 | pic
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