In recent years, festivals have begun to pop up all over the country, over-saturating the music scene and making the choice unbearable for music lovers. Sasquatch! Festival still holds onto the true nature of festivals, presenting fans with new music discoveries, while mixing in a few big names and an unbelievable setting.
Below is a highlight of the best performances during three days at the famous Gorge.
The sun came out just as South African-born, Phoenix-based band of brothers, KONGOS, took the stage. The sunshine set the tone for their upbeat performance that blended rock, polka, reggae (“I Want To Know”) and any other genre you can think of. Gotta respect a band that can make an accordion look cool.
KONGOS really won the crowd over when they invited rapper, Moe’z Art, on stage and covered “Come Together” by The Beatles from a hip-hop perspective. A good way to win the hearts and intrigue of a festival crowd is to cover The Beatles and play a song that everyone can sing along to.
When the band played “It’s A Good Life” it became clear what the theme of their performance was. They really made me believe in those lyrics. It is a good life.
Prior to Phantogram’s performance, I was a fan, but it does not even compare to the level I am at now. I have been listening to them non-stop since returning home.
It’s safe to say that everyone at Sasquatch fell in love with lead singer, Sarah Barthel, during Phantogram’s sunset performance on Friday. Her energy was magnetic, and you could tell that she really loves the music she makes, as well as the art of performing.
Their set was the perfect amount of edgy and tranquil to take the crowd from day to night, from light to darkness. The band played crowd favorites like “Don’t Move,” “Fall In Love,” “When I’m Small” and “Mouthful of Diamonds,” and switched between new and old songs. Their set was definitely catered to their fans, with their most loved songs taking center stage.
Although most couldn’t understand many of Yelle’s (french) lyrics, her fun and quirky performance left the crowd in a perfect mood.
Accompanied onstage by two drummers, as well as her own auxiliary percussion, Yelle glided across the stage with adorably choreographed dance moves that seemed completely unplanned and organic.
She has a Zooey Deschanel-type of adorkability mixed with a hint of confidence and sex appeal that makes you want to just dance with her and be in her presence. If ever you get a chance to see Yelle as a headlining act, by all means, take it. I would be interested to see that show.
The Seattle-based rapper was definitely a fan favorite. After OutKast’s lackluster performance the night before, I was praying for some real hip hop that had meaning, love and soul behind the lyrics. Sol’s performance, as well as Chance The Rapper’s the day before, further solidified the evolution of hip hop into a positive and relatable place.
The Seattleite also took this opportunity to make his world debut of the song “People,” which left the crowd waiting with bated breath for his new album.
Sol performed at Sasquatch two years ago and mentioned that he was camping at the festival all weekend with friends. I could only hope I would run into him on The Gorge campgrounds.
Rather than have the crowd waiting to hear “Blister in the Sun” for an entire set, Violent Femmes came out with a burst of energy and played their hit song to the delight of those who only know them by their biggest hit. They also played crowd pleasers such as “Kiss Off” and “Add It Up.”
The only problem with Violent Femmes’ set was how old they made me feel. The pains of growing up. The struggle is real.
If ever you have the chance to see Washed Out perform at a festival, don’t skip it for some random band. Go! Ernest Greene perfectly encapsulates the mood of a summer festival with dance/electronic/mellow music that makes you want to close your eyes and just sway, or just dance for that matter.
Without sounding like a naive tourist, I was pretty excited to hear “Feel It All Around” while in the Pacific Northwest. The band played a kind of slower, stripped-down version of the Portlandia theme song that left me in the perfect mood for the rest of the night
Tacocat set the bar extremely high as the first band of day three. That being said, day three of Sasquatch took the entire festival to another level and produced some of the best performances of the weekend.
The 90’s chick-rock-esque Seattle band got the party started while rocking blue hair and sporting a bubble machine. They brought a huge crowd out for a 1:00 p.m. set and did not disappoint.
The band played the song “Party Trap” and exclaimed that the song was a palindrome, just like their name. If they come back to Sasquatch next year, I would not be surprised to see them on the main stage, or at a prime time-slot on the Bigfoot stage.
Pink Mountaintops, led by longtime musician, Stephen McBean , brought me back to the older days of festivals (and by older I mean less than ten years). Their more traditional style of rock and roll is definitely still a crowd-pleaser and is refreshing in a new age of music, where bands need synthesizers, keyboards and other bells and whistles to make it big. Steven loves the music and just seems like someone you would want to share a $10 festival beer with.
Speaking of bells and whistles, Lucius brought it all. They created a mood and energy that made them stand out as one of the best performances of the weekend. Decked out in matching outfits, singers Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig were perfectly in sync throughout their performance. They laughed and chatted throughout their set, while delivering beautiful and emotional vocals.
Halfway through Jess let the crowd know that it was Holly’s birthday (whom she describes as her best friend), at which point the crowd and the band sang her “Happy Birthday.” You can tell by the way they perform together that they truly are best friends and have fun together on and off-stage. I can just imagine them going shopping together for those outfits. Even their nail polish matched.
If Lucius was under the radar during the first half of the year, they definitely won’t be after this year’s festival tour.
After only one album release, PAPA already has a devoted following and are poised to be the next big thing. Darren Weiss and Danny Presant are completely relaxed and confident on stage, joking and interacting with the crowd throughout the set. Darren, who is the lead singer and drummer, also took the stage in a jumpsuit with “PAPA” printed on the back. Where do I get one of those?
The band played their popular single, “If You’re My Girl, Then I’m Your Man,” as well as a cover of “Love Is A Battlefield,” which secretly excited me beyond belief and had fans chanting their name mid-set.
Of all of the other projects Darren Weiss has been involved in, including Girls, PAPA is my favorite and allows him to show his personality while working with his childhood best friend, Danny.
“You are beautiful. You are powerful. You are a goddess.”
These were the words that hit me most during Banks’ Sunday set in the El Chupacabra tent. Following this statement, she played her newest single “Goddess” with complete confidence that those things are true of herself.
Banks has only released an EP and a few singles, however judging by the excitement in the crowd leading up to her set, an outsider would never know she hasn’t been releasing albums for years. You could tell that Banks was nervous before taking the stage for her festival debut, but that did not stop her from giving it her all.
There is a certain mystery that surrounds the singer. The stage was dark and had lighting perfect for her personality and performance. However this is also the reason why you will be hard-pressed to find many photos of her at Sasquatch.
I have to admit, I am not the biggest HAIM fan. That all changed after catching just the end of their set.
I’m sure you will see plenty of photos of the three sisters floating around the internet, and one thing is for sure, they aren’t afraid to really get into the music and make crazy (and often not the most flattering) faces. They show the essence of true musicianship. They aren’t afraid to rock out and don’t care what they look like doing it. They ended their set with a drumline-style drum-off that left me in awe of their sheer talent. Even if their music doesn’t quite do it for you, I would still suggest that everyone go see them just to witness that true talent and musicianship does still exist.
Kid Cudi’s performance was the perfect ending to my time in Washington. He played some crowd favorites such as, “Erase Me” and “Soundtrack 2 My Life” while mixing in some slower, more emotional songs. He also introduced the crowd to his “special guest,” “Mr. Rager.”
Cudi ended his eclectic and exciting set with a performance of “Pursuit of Happiness” followed by the extended remix, which got the dance party started. His songs definitely speak to me, and I think that they speak to our entire generation. We are all “on the Pursuit of Happiness,” after all.