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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.
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Posts Tagged ‘Sasquatch! 2010’

Seven bands I plan to check out, or at least give another listen to, thanks to Sasquatch! 2010

Friday, June 11th, 2010

It’s hard to believe that almost two weeks have passed since the wonderful weekend at the Gorge Amphitheatre that was Sasquatch! 2010. Most of my Sasquatch! 2010 coverage can be found on Ear Candy (check it all out over here). Since the festival is all about musical discoveries, here’s a list of seven artists I plan to spend more time with in the coming months thanks to my experience at Sasquatch! 2010.

The Heavy: This UK  group got added to Sasquatch! late and they sort of got screwed by having a noon time slot on Monday. The main stage crowd was sparse for their performance but those who were there witnessed one of the most electrifying sets of Sasquatch! The band’s dirty R&B garage rock was spiked with horns and featured an amazingly energetic and passionate frontman in Kelvin Swaby. It was impossible not to shake your booty in a dancetacular frenzy to The Heavy’s highly polished modern take on retro rock. Catch them live when they come to the Showbox at the Market June 21.

The National: I missed most of their set at Sasquatch! a few years back and I had to miss most of their set this year because they were playing opposite America’s greatest festival band, The Hold Steady. I heard some really great things about the entire set by The National so I plan to give The Boxer a good listen in the coming weeks and I also plan to check out High Violet. There has to be a reason why everyone seems to like these guys, right?

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My Morning Jacket, MGMT, Vampire Weekend and Dr Dog own Sasquatch! 2010

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Editor’s note: The Sasquatch! Music Festival took place during Memorial Day Weekend at the Gorge Amphitheatre. While I was busy covering the festival for another media outlet my good friend Brent Stecker managed to cover the festival on my behalf for this site. Here’s what he had to say:

The first day of Sasquatch! 2010 was certainly an eventful one, full of indie stalwarts, power-popping veterans, and the usual aches & pains that go with 12 hours of hoofing it up and down the hills of The Gorge. But without a doubt, any pain I may be feeling right now is well worth it after the unbelievable main stage-closing set by one of my personal favorite bands, My Morning Jacket.

MMJ immediately took the stage by storm, blasting a several-minute long power-chord jam before kicking into their classic “One Big Holiday.” Frontman Jim James (or Yim Yames, depending on which day it is) was a ball of fire, and the rest of the group was in rare form as they tore through a two-hour set that was highlighted by an epic, 15-minute-plus version of the slow-burning “Dondante,” and several other well-received cuts from their breakthrough album Z.

Earlier, Vampire Weekend played to a massive and energetic crowd at the main stage. After starting out strong with their signature afropop stylings, VW’s set seemed to get bogged down as the songs took a more electro turn. The crowd seemed to embrace it all, regardless.

Other first day highlights included a tight early afternoon set from Seattleites Minus the Bear, The National’s intense turn on the main stage, and The Hold Steady’s charisma-fueled show on the Bigfoot stage.

One other quick note: This year’s attendees don’t seem to be too enthusiastic about no-frills rock bands. The Bigfoot stage was overcrowded for Mumford & Sons and Portugal. The Man, while sets by Brad, The Hold Steady, and The Posies were all poorly attended. The crowd at My Morning Jacket also thinned considerably as the show went on, likely because of DeadMau5′s laser-heavy late set at Bigfoot.

SASQUATCH! 2010 DAY 2

Two days in, it was clear the hype that surrounded this year’s Sasquatch! was be well earned.

Sunday saw highly-anticipated sets from Pavement, LCD Soundsystem, and Massive Attack, plus turns by Public Enemy, Local Natives, and surprise fill-in act Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band on the Bigfoot stage.

Pavement showed why the indie world basically demanded a reunion tour, playing for more than 90 minutes with a playful-yet-precise irreverence. The five-piece suffered only from an early bass-tuning snafu, which made for a surly Stephen Malkmus for the rest of the show, ironic considering the tone of their work.

LCD Soundsystem was a big hit with the crowd, and really did turn The Gorge into a giant dance party with its bleepity-bloopity goodness.

Massive Attack was visually stunning and aurally hypnotic, while at the same time Public Enemy soldiered on for a fiery and political show despite issues with the P.A.

Early in the day, buzz band Local Natives impressed a sizable crowd, the Long Winters played some new material and covered the Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey,” and They Might Be Giants delivered on an entertaining set, at times coming off like an endearingly low-rent Flaming Lips.

SASQUATCH! 2010 DAY 3

An eclectic mix of acts and a very receptive crowd made the final day of Sasquatch! the one to remember from this year.

Topping the list of highlights from Sunday was MGMT’s evening set, which was rivaled only by Vampire Weekend on Saturday for audience enthusiasm. The place was packed for the boys from Brooklyn, and seeing the crowd bounce along to the group’s holy triumvirate of “Time To Pretend,””Electric Feel” and “Kids,” I anticipate that the performance will go down in the annals of Sasquatch! as one of the landmark moments in the festival’s history.

Just before MGMT, Band of Horses played a well-chosen set of songs that coaxed the large turnout into a borderline singalong. And whereas MGMT was seemingly going through the motions onstage (the crowd clearly was going to love them as long as the aforementioned trio of songs was performed), Ben Bridwell and Co. actually brought their A game.

The early evening was the perfect time for She & Him’s pleasant pop. Zooey Deschanel has great stage presence — you know, somebody should put her in a movie or something — and M. Ward kept the crowd from getting sleepy with a rip-roaring take on “Roll Over Beethoven.”

Passion Pit made waves earlier in the day on the main stage, but Dr. Dog was secretly melting faces at the Bigfoot Stage at the same time. While the Philadelphia natives are relatively sunny and polite on record, they proved to be loud and captivating on stage. The four-piece clearly puts a lot of emphasis on taking a good song and enhancing it with dynamics. But the thing that I really loved about them was that unlike other bands that rely heavily on harmonies, they don’t shy away from rocking out. And that’s not because they’re full of testosterone and need a release; it’s because rocking out is fun, especially if the songs are good.

Finally, the three days came to a close with Ween, a band I knew absolutely nothing about heading into the day. It was a neat to experience them for the first time in that setting, and I genuinely enjoyed their Zappa-esque combination of instrumental mastery and screwball mentality. I can see why they’ve been embraced by a loyal fan base (almost like that of a jam band), and they were a good fit to end the most eclectic day of the weekend.

*** All photos by Chris Nelson for Live Nation


TMBG, Posies added to Sasquatch!, but is the fest snubbing local indie bands?

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Sasquatch! is known for having an abundance of smaller Seattle artists as part of its bill but this year there is a noticeable absence of local indie bands. I assume there will be additional locals announced as it gets closer to Memorial Day weekend but as it stands right now the lineup is pretty full and the smaller local indie bands are limited to Fresh Espresso, Shabazz Palaces, The Long Winters, The Lonely Forest, The Long Winters and Minus The Bear.

Sure having six lesser-known hometown bands on the bill of a major three-day festival is great and the exposure will likely be helpful for those six groups, but in 2008 there were 22 indie acts from Seattle at Sasquatch! out of the 73 total that performed at the festival. That’s a pretty big number of local artists considering last year there were 11 local indie groups out of the 78 total at Sasquatch! according to my count. Given last year’s number is half as many small locals on the bill the year before, perhaps Sasquatch! is shifting away from its tradition of focusing on indie talent from Seattle and focusing on making money instead. After all, Live Nation is a co-producer of the festival and as anyone who has purchased an $11 beer at the Gorge will tell you, Live Nation likes to make money.

There are 10 weeks until Sasquatch! 2010 and so far 81(!) bands are lined up, which I believe is the biggest number of acts ever to play Sasquatch! Hopefully there’s still room for a few more bands of the local indie variety to be added to the festival.

Speaking of additions to Sasquatch!, a few additions have been added to this year’s Sasquatch! lineup. Boston geek rockers They Might Be Giants will play on May 30, hometown power-pop icons The Posies will be at the festival May 29 and indie favorites The Heavy will grace the main stage May 31. The other musician added is Brit-popper Martina Topley Bird.

There have also been some additions on the comedy front. Pothead comic Doug Benson, UPDATE: On March 20, 2010 Bobcat Goldtwait was added, replacing Benson in the lineup, diary-reading Mike Birbiglia and Todd Barry are the three big names. Other comics that have been added include: Rory Scovel, Hannibal Buress and Moshe Kasher.




Afterthoughts after the party: Some analysis of Sasquatch! 2010

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

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:

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The lineup for Sasquatch! 2010 is finally here

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

The lineup for the 2010 Sasquatch! Music Festival was revealed Monday night at the Crocodile.  There were lots of surprises along with quite a few obvous names on the list of performers who will be at the Gorge on Memorial Day Weekend. You can compare the actual lineup with my guess at the lineup by clicking here. As expected about half of the artists I thought would be at Sasquatch! actuallyended up on the bill.

My Morning Jacket/Massive Attack/Pavement/Ween/Vampire Weekend/MGMT/Band of Horses/The National/LCD Soundsystem/Tegan & Sara/Broken Social Scene/Passion Pit/Deadmau5/She & Him/Public Enemy/Nada Surf/The New Pornographers/The Hold Steady/The xx/Dirty Projectors/OK Go/Drive By Truckers/Kid Cudi/The Long Winters/Minus the Bear/The Mountain Goats/Quasi/Camera Obscura/Fruit Bats/Brother Ali/Midlake/Dr. Dog/Caribou/Simian Mobile Disco/City & Colour/No Age/The Temper Trap/Vetiver/Miike Snow/Portugal. The Man/Telekinesis/Mayer Hawthorne/Why?/Girls/Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros/Wale/The Lonely Forest/Japandroids/Boys Noize/Yacht/Freelance Whales/Laura Marling/Patrick Watson/Past Lives/Cymbals Eat Guitars/The Low Anthem/The Very Best/Phantogram/Neon Indian/Nurses/The Tallest Man on Earth/Fresh Espresso/Mumford & Sons/Jets Overhead/tUnE-YarDs/Shabazz Palaces/Fool’s Gold/Morning Teleportation/Z-Trip/Dam-Funk/Hudson Mohawke/The Middle East/Local Natives/Avi Buf


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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.