All photos and words from Sound Colour Vibration’s resident head photographer Oliver Walker | http://olivermwalker.com/
DAY 1 PHOTOS: LINK
DAY 2 PHOTOS: LINK
DAY 3 PHOTOS: LINK
DAY 4 PHOTOS: LINK
Sasquatch Music Festival, the jewel of the northwest music scene, was in 2012 a festival like none other. Not many festivals sell out their first year of existence, but judging by the lineup this year, this 11 year old circus known as Sasquatch was not going to let its well deserved popularity go to its head. Born from festival creator Adam Zacks desire to appease a diverse musical palette and taking place at the Gorge in George, WA, Sasquatch his the trifecta of quality acts, grand setting and that elusive festival character.
Hidden among the hordes of music fans and the extravagant costumes, guitar-wielding bear statues and panoramic vistas lies the spirit of Sasquatch. People that attend Sasquatch seemed very prepared to push the experience along a little further then most attendees, whether that be by wearing a pink yeti suit all four days, taking a few too many substances and having to take five in the medical tent or even get a little freaky on the grass once the sun goes down.
I’m pretty sure I saw two breakups happen, and a couple young fellows entertained themselves during Shabazz Palaces by frisbeeing an entire pack of flour tortillas into the crowd at the Bigfoot stage. Every attendee is intent on having the best time, and when a large group of people lit sparklers during “Seven Nation Army” or threw some 20,000 glow sticks into the crowd during the first drop of Pretty Lights, it only makes more memorable what would have already been a fantastic experience. Someone snuck in a full sized sky lantern that was released before Feed Me, and a small group of young females along the rail for Ben Howard made it very clear they were all down for a party if he was.
Arriving just in time on Friday for Iceland’s Of Monsters and Men, Friday was non-stop as I took in Polica, Little People, Santigold, and Mark Lannegan Band, before a twilight set by Girl Talk complete with toilet paper cannons and an uncountable amount of stage dancers turned the gorge into Washington’s biggest dance party.
Festival staple Explosions in the Sky synced wonderfully with the landscape of canyons. The Texas prog-rockers promised the crowd they would try to match the beauty of the scenery in there set before launching into “Catastrophe and the Cure.”
A surprise set by Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis had the crowd on its feet before Pretty Lights monstrous LED countdown event lit up, and by the time the glow sticks started flying the Sasquatch stage had become a sea of limbs, hair, and glowing headbands.
The prime real estate that composes the festival is split into two sections; the gigantic grass hill concrete parking lot and monolithic structure that make up the Sasquatch stage has an overall size that rivals the other four stages combined displaying headliners like Jack White and Beck. The Bigfoot stage held acts that would in future years grace the Sasquatch stage such as St. Vincent and fun., while the banana shack was an EDM-centric dance tent that also had early afternoon comedy offerings including Purity Ring or James Murphy. The Yeti stage offered up folk-rock and singer-songwriters like Dry The River and ReignWolf, while the main stage showcased under-card hip-hop acts such as SPAC3MAN or Don’t Talk to the Cops!
Between the octave crushing vocals by Pickwick, the electronica dancethems of STARFUCKER and the pop R&B of Electric Guest, the early sets on Saturday were stunningly magnificent. Though beset by technical difficulties (talk to St. Vincent and Ben Howard) the short set that Craft Spells were able to play made me a new fan of theirs.
Alabama Shakes has been building a massive and well-deserved wave of buzz in 2012, which was backed up by their absolutely electric live show that had lead singer Brittany Howard wailing on her guitar and somehow managing to nail every note on some plant-esque vocal duties.
London folk-rockers Dry The River put on an energizing performance, proving live that their heavy rotation on my iTunes isn’t without merit. Over at the Banana Shack, Purity Ring and Com Truise kept my feet busy and the tent sweaty before I headed down the hill to check out new material from Metric. The new album Synthetica got seven spots on the set list, but I’m glad they saved some room for “Help I’m Alive” off of Fantasies.
Under a bright crescent moon, newly minted songstress St. Vincent battled both the wind and the sound booth through a set that included her crowd surfing during “Krokodil.”
Jack White turned in the performance of the day with his cadre of world-class gentlemen of music. While Jack White has been the backbone of countless bands, it is with this elite group of players that play at such an exceptional level that Jack really shines. Not having to quarterback the operation every second makes every vocal and flaming guitar lick all the brighter, as he feeds off the energy of drummer Daru Jones and keyman Ikey Owens.
Sunday begin with smoke and guitar fire ReignWolf covered in black leather and sporting wild hair, belted out howling solos as smoke belched from his stack of amps. Minus former member Kurt Vile, who had played the previous day, The War on Drugs expansive ambient passages made a perfect match with the wild wind and massive canyons laid out before them.
Beat Connection and Apparat were unstoppable in the banana shack, priming the pump for James Murphy’s disco inspired set. I’m pretty sure everyone was hoping for him to pick up the microphone and revisit a past project, but I’m betting that event will be reserved for another festival years from now.
The Head and the Heart, playing close to their hometown of Seattle had the biggest turnout for a day show with an almost divine line shining on them from above. The Walkmen opened their set with the first track from their recently released Heaven, a quite impressive sixth studio album while retaining the original lineup. Hamilton Leithauser’s climbing vocals on “We Can’t Be Beat” echo the drive of the band, big and bright with the spirit to fight. Deer Tick and We Are Augustines injected some guitar-based energy into the afternoon, stories of cocaine and churches under stompy drums and jangling riffs.
Little Dragon’s exuberance shown through in her performance, and down on the Sasquatch Stage Bon Iver laid out his recent growth from a cabin-bound studio project to a full-fledged arena-filling rock experience. Feed Me (With Teath!) unveiled a forty foot wide set of LED canines for his Sunday night set: fast and hard electronics with a bite.
The Sights, Vintage Trouble and Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside are all high-energy rhythm and blues groups that run the gamut from rock and roll to a more tight and classic sound, but all three can keep up with the vigor if not the popularity of the Alabama Shakes.
Cloud Cult put on an interdisciplinary presentation, including live painting while having fun. Front man Nate Reuss stuck to filling the Bigfoot stage with the formidable pop anthems of his newest project. Avant-garde hip hop group Shabazz Palaces drew a sizable crowd to their presentation, which included some synchronized dancing, live percussion, and the haunting loops of “an echo from the hosts that profess infinitum.”
The Cave Singers rebounded from earlier more folk-centric albums with 2011’s No Witch, which incorporated more wild guitar and the manic vocals of their live show. John C. Reiley and Friends brought the biggest crowd of the week to the Yeti Stage, as guests wishing to view the actor were treated to some tracks from the Walk Hard movie and other compositions.
Mogwai were an unfortunate last minute cancellation, but from the opening notes of “Sweet Jane” to the closing stanzas of “come together”, Spiritualized proved just as worthwhile as what I have seen from Mogwai in the past with J. Spaceman’s superb guitar work and rock symphony compositions. Working in tandem with a synchronized light show and a three part chorus, Spiritualized was one of the few sets I watched in entirety. Deer Tick played a second set in the space vacated by Spiritualized who were bumped to the later slot. Their second set of the weekend consisted of drunk covers of The Band, Led Zeppelin, and The Beastie Boys.
Festival closer Beck appeared on point through show opener “Black Tambourine”, playing a 21 song set-list that culminated in playing “E-Pro” with Tenacious D while his young son danced on stage.
28 miles of walking later and my first Sasquatch experience is successfully under my belt.
DAY 1 PHOTOS: LINK
DAY 2 PHOTOS: LINK
DAY 3 PHOTOS: LINK
DAY 4 PHOTOS: LINK
Oliver Walker continues his photo documentation of Sasquatch 2012 with highlights of Sunday’s festivities. Justin Venom’s Bon Iver, Apparat, Sweden’s Little Dargon and new Mexico’s Beirut were among he headlining acts of the evening and turned out ground breaking performance. New Jersey’s James Murphy to Wisconsin’s Zola jesus is just one example of how far into the sonic variety day three revealed itself to be. The eclectic grouping of so many different worlds is a trademark of the Sasquatch experience and these photos leave no other realization than just that.
The Beat Connection
Many more photos from this days set of performance and the rest of the week to come soon…
From Sunset Television:
‘Vagabond’ tells the story of a group of soldiers and sailors flirting with nurses and hard-living local girls at a dance. It was shot at the beautiful Warsaw dancehall in Greenpoint and inspired by the look of Milos Forman movies from the 60′s. There were a couple of live chickens on set who were surprisingly easy to work with and natural onscreen. They also tended to sh*t the moment the camera was on them. With all the smoking, drinking, and advanced pregnancy, the video will probably be banned from MTV, so we hope lots of people enjoy it on the Internet.
Beirut Tour Dates:
Sun. April 15 – Indio, CA @ Coachella
Sun. April 22 – Indio, CA @ Coachella
Sun. May 27 – George, WA @ Sasquatch
Tue. Aug. 28 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues Boston
Wed. Aug. 29 – New York, NY @ Rumsey Playfield
Official video of ‘Vagabon’ by Beirut from Sunset Television
*Photo by Kristianna Smith