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


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.


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

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