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
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,
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
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
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
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
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