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Afterthoughts after the party: Some analysis of Sasquatch! 2010

February 16th, 2010 by travis hay

The lineup for the 2010 edition of the Sasquatch! Music Festival was announced Monday night during the first Saquatch! Launch Party at the Crocodile.

The show, which was free and featured the Atlas Sound, Fresh Espresso and Surfer Blood, filled the Crocodile to capacity but the music wasn’t what attracted the crowd. The belle of the ball was the unveiling of the Saquatch! lineup which is light on big-name headliners but has lots of heavy-hitters from the indie rock world that will likely help the festival sell out the Gorge for three days this Memorial Day Weekend.

Headliners include Kentucky jam band My Morning Jacket, reunited influential indie rockers Pavement, UK elctro pioneers Massive Attack, the dance-friendly LCD Soundsytem and the heavily buzzed Vampire Weekend and MGMT. Supporting the headliners is a slew of must-see, much lesser-known indie acts. Artists like Freelance Whales, Midlake, Nurses, Local Natives, The Mountain Goats are hardly household names but they do carry massive clout when it comes to indie cred.

Some quick observations about Sasquatch! 2010’s lineup so far:

Past Sasquatch! festivals have used top-tier headliners such as Coldplay (2003), The Pixies (2005), Nine Inch Nails (2006 & 2009), the Flaming Lips (2008) and the Beasties Boys (2007) to draw people to the Gorge. This year the meat is in the middle of the lineup. Sasquatch! founder Adam Zacks, who selects every band that plays the festival, seems to have shifted the focus onto spotlighting next-big-thing bands. This was a specialty of previous Sasquatch!s and from the looks of things Zacks is bringing Sasquatch! back to its roots of breaking a bounty of buzz bands into the mainstream.

Local talent is noticeably missing. There are some bigger local names (Band of Horses, Minus the Bear and the Long Winters) but overall the festival lacks in the local department. Previous Sasquatch!s have hosted lots of smaller, unsigned local groups and this focus on smaller Northwest musicians became a part of the festival’s identity. Monday’s big reveal was only the initial lineup announcement so I expect there to be more local bands added as it gets closer to the festival’s date as has happened in years past. It would be a big disappointment if this didn’t happen.

The dance and comedy tent got some pretty impressive names. Top-tier DJs (Z-Trip, A-Track) and popular dance groups (Deadmau5, Simian Mobile Disco) are lineup for this year. The tent, dubbed the Rumpus Room, will host dance groups at night and comedy sets during the day. So far only a few comics have been named (The Office’s Criag Robinson and The Daily Show’s Rob Riggle). You can expect that to change as it gets closer to the festival date too.

There are some interesting choices for hip-hop acts. While Sasquatch! has never been a heavy on the hip hop, the choices stand out. Hip hop legends Public Enemy are joined by albino rapper Brother Ali, mixtape master Wale and Billboard Top 10 guy Kid Cudi as the only non-local rappers to grace the Gorge. The locals are Fresh Espresso and Shabazz Palaces. The latter pretty much blew the minds of every local music critic (including mine) during their live debut at Nuemos last month. Of all the acts on the bill Kid Cudi is the most out of place given his Top 40 success. Shabazz Palaces is the most interesting local act on the bill given the mysterious nature and the popularity of the group.

So far this year’s lineup keeps Sasquatch! in the conversation of must-attend destination fests and makes the Sasquatch! 2010 well worth the price of admission, which is   $170 for a three-day pass or $70 a day. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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One Response to “Afterthoughts after the party: Some analysis of Sasquatch! 2010”

  1. Craig P Says:

    when will we get the day schedule? I am so excited! Everyone in my office is buzzing. My only disappointment was the omission of THee Satisfaction.

    I cannot WAIT!

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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.