If I had to go on the same vacation every year, if I could only camp once a year, if there was a law that said I could only travel to one place outside of the town I was living, I would choose The Gorge Amphitheatre, in George, WA every Sasquatch season. Arguably one of the most beautiful music venues not only in the U.S., but world, Sasquatch Festival is a chance to unleash your inner animal, forget the rules for a while and attend incredible shows. If you love music and you haven’t attendee yet, start saving for next year because it’s an experience like nothing else.
After a disastrous attempt to expand Sasquatch to two weekends last year. This year the Sasquatch Festival was only one weekend and four days instead of three. Ticket prices stayed the same this year but did not include camping like they did last year. I also didn’t think the lineup was as strong as last year, but was still stoked to attend and see what the festival experience would bring, round two. Realistically, I could probably write a book on Sasquatch but I will keep it as brief as I can and use this as a way to pass along info about musicians I didn’t know much about before and who I think others would like too.
Disclaimer: my musical taste tends to be electronica infused music but not EDM. I love indie rock with electronic elements and indie pop. I have also become somewhat of a hip-hop in in recent years. This obviously influences what shows I chose to attend. I opted out of Modest Mouse for ODESZA even though I like Modest Mouse, quite a bit. When I’m at a festival, in general I like to be moving. Dancing, jumping up and down etc. When I’m at the Gorge, I’m there to go crazy and dance ‘til my feet hurt. Calmer shows are for theatres and smaller venues. Keep this in mind when I give you lowdown.
Best Overall Show:
Like a lot of people, I only knew Kiesza from her viral music video to “Hideaway.” She seemed like someone I could get into but I didn’t expect to be entranced. Kiesza was in Chupacabra which was the stage where most of the danceable music was going on. It is a huge white tent and it gets HOT.
Just like in most of her music videos, Kiesza dances throughout her entire show. She has two back-up dancers who are drenched in sweat by the end of the show, Kiesza on the other hand, looked like all the dancing was hardly a workout. And when I say dancing, I mean really dancing. Footwork and thoughtfully choreographed moves, not just shaking her butt (sorry Beyonce). I thought the art of molding dance and pop music was lost but I honestly don’t think there has been anyone since MAYBE Madonna who can sing well and dance well like Kiesza. If you need to see what I mean, check out this video.
It wasn’t just the dancing that impressed me, more so that combined with her vocals. Kiesza sounded perfect, about as close to the recording as they come. These are what I imagine to be very hard songs to sing when tired. Kiesza was hitting every big note. Her voice was powerful and she never once sounded shrieky or shouty which tends to happen when one gets tired, and I know this from personal experience.
I get the feeling that she is a perfectionist. Everything in her show seemed carefully thought out and it paid off. Incredible. Check-out her most recent album Sound of a Woman and listen to her track with Diplo and Skrillex called “Take U There” while you’re at it.
Most Fun Show:
Definitely a show I was super excited for. Schoolboy came out with a ton of crazy energy. He was jumping and dancing around the stage and definitely hyped up the crowd. Though funny enough the pit stayed pretty calm. I was upfront and was surprised that I had any space at all. Then about two thirds of the way through something must’ve happened in the back because we all got pushed forward and bodies went down. Though I went to some pretty crazy shows where the pit was intense, this is the only one where I saw multiple people fall-down and nearly get trampled to death.
I did notice immediately that Schoolboy was tired, one song and he was heaving. He would drop a couple words here and there when he was rapping but it was still fun because I knew all the words. Highlights would be when he took a puff out of his inhaler on –stage and when he surprised us all and did his verse from “2 On.” Best performance from him was “Yay Yay,” at least I had the most fun during that song (and “2 On” 🙂
twenty one pilots
Didn’t know much about this group before attending but had a pretty good feeling it would be an intense show. Intense was an understatement. I was literally in the very front against the barrier and it was a lot to take in. twenty one pilots is a two-member group. One on drums and occasionally trumpet and one sings/raps, plays piano, and ukulele.
Pretty interesting combo and this group is still hard for me to define genre-wise. They’re a mix of rap, rock and indie-pop but perform in ski masks and red and black paint on their bodies. They crowd surfed not only their own bodies, but a small drum kit and ended the show sitting on the crowd playing bass drums covered with water. I would’ve loved to have seen the show in the dark because it was too light out to have any light elements at the time they performed Saturday. Check out my favorite song of theirs “Holding On To You” and their most recent album Blurryface
Most Energetic Show:
Run the Jewels
With a crowd that was practically salivating by the time El-P and Killer Mike got on stage, Run the Jewels couldn’t help but give that energy right back. The two were jumping around the whole time, pumping up the crowd. If you’ve seen them, they both could lose a few so I was honestly impressed that they were able to jump around like they did the whole time. Needless to say, they were both pretty sweaty by the end of it.
Probably 80% of the shows I attended had a DJ element to their sound. Run the Jewels had the best DJ and I think he was actually doing quite a bit of live mixing which was awesome. Shout-out to DJ TrackStar! They also had a great light show. They played on the Bigfoot stage Monday night when it was dark so the production looked awesome against the dark sky.
Run the Jewels’ show ended right when Kendrick Lamar started so their crowd wasn’t as big as it could’ve been and thinned out as time went on. I stayed the whole time and sprinted to the main stage in time for Kendrick, but others didn’t take that risk. Check out Run the Jewels’ latest album Run the Jewels 2 and try not to go nuts.
What an awesome person. MØ’s outfit was dope, her sound was awesome and she brought just as much energy as any of the group acts or male performers out there. Her dress was a loose fitting sparkly gold complete with combat boots and a hat. Needless to say, I wanted her outfit.
This show was a dance party in itself and like some of the others would’ve been so much better at night when a light show would be view-able. Either way, MØ’s voice sounded awesome and love the raspy yet airy tone she has. Haven’t stopped listening to her since I got back! Please check out her recent album No Mythologies to Follow. One of my favorite songs off of that album is “XXX 88 feat. Diplo.” I also love and recommended giving a listen to her feature in Major Lazer’s “Lean On” and “New Year’s Eve.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, James Blake is making the sexiest music out there right now and let me tell you the crowd was feelin’ it, myself included! James Blake combines haunting R&B-esque vocals with dark electronic and piano music that creates a unique sound that I don’t think is comparable to anyone else currently in the biz.
James would lull me in to a romantic state and then suddenly turn up the bass. Folks around me were lovin’ on whoever they brought with them then suddenly were jolted out of the love spell and thrust into dance party mode. It was awesome…and was one of the only shows I truly did not want to end. Incredible that a man can sit at a piano/synthesizer etc., not move and still mesmerize me
Best Dance Party:
This was a really tough choice because there a ton of dance shows, whether EDM or the sort of indie-pop that AlunaGeorge is. Ultimately AlunaGeorge won this for me because Aluna sounded great, she got the crowd pumped and there were stars in my eyes the whole time. Highlight was definitely when she sang “White Noise,” her featured song on Disclosure’s Settle album. If you haven’t listened to AlunaGeorge before please do so! Other than “White Noise” I recommended “Attracting Flies” and “Best be Believing.”
The only let down of Sasquatch. I was super excited and left with a horrible taste in my mouth. In his one and a half hour set, Kendrick played 11 songs. Why? Because he took his sweet time transitioning from song to song and he did “m.A.A.d city” FOUR TIMES. He didn’t play “King Kunta” at all which left me heartbroken. Two of the times he did “m.A.A.d city”, he brought fans up on stage and they rapped along with him. This was cute and probably incredible for those particular fans but I did not spend a month’s worth of rent to watch random people do Karaoke. This was his first show since To Pimp a Butterfly dropped and there was a lot of hype. Kendrick did not deliver. He also left most of the rapping up to the audience and I also noticed that his band messed up a couple times. Sad to say I will probably never go out of my way to see Kendrick again.
The War on Drugs
Dudes on stage, playing their music, hardly moving, no special lighting, no set. I guess I am not as hipster as I thought, but that sucked. I was excited for this show but the excitement quickly ran out.
Lana Del Rey
Although all she did was stand up there and sing, she looked great. That woman has perfect hair. Teach me.
Best Small Show:
I just saw this dude the weekend prior and I have to say he brought it again. Tons of guests on stage with him (including Sol) and the crowd was going crazy. Someone even through bread on stage. I felt a lot of happiness during that show. Grynch sounded even better than the last time I saw him because the sound and mic system were better. Great show and it was at the smallest stage there early Monday afternoon.
Artist to Watch:
First of all, Monica Martin, the lead singer of the indie-folk group is absolutely adorable. She spoke (and sang) softy whilst saying nasty things. The lady was sassy but in the most innocent way possible.
This band was beautiful. The harmonies they achieved were heavenly and all of the musicians had their moment to shine in the six-piece out of Wisconsin
Chromeo, Ab-Soul, St. Paul & the Broken Bones
Great shows! Chromeo was a party, Ab-Soul outperformed Kendrick and St. Paul & the Broken Bones hit me right in my soul but in the grooviest way possible.
What a great experience! I will definitely attend again, if not next year, after that! Fingers crossed for a Prince headliner. 😉