[Sasquatch! 2013] Recap: Day Two
As the weekend of Sasquatch! festivities continued, the weather got better and so did the overall mood. The sun beamed down and the festival goers were waking up eager to party. The smell of bacon was met with the crack of beer cans opening, and campers were quick to set up ladder golf or throw a frisbee around. Day two was already off to a fantastic start and the nighttime was even better. The xx, Bloc Party, Holy Ghost!, Porcelain Raft, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, a hilarious stand up set by Nick Offerman and more, Saturday really impressed with some of the best performances of the festival. Check out the recap of day two below (and read our recap of day one here).
Much of Saturday was spent hanging out in the campgrounds, meeting our neighbours, drinking beer and enjoying the sun, putting us all in a good mood. Spirits were high as well as being consumed, and around two in the afternoon my girlfriend Katherine and I headed off to the festival grounds. Over the next couple of hours, we spent some time in the backstage and media areas doing interviews (these will be appearing on the blog over the next five days) with some fantastic musicians. Everyone we met was so interesting and fun to chat with and that's the feeling I got throughout the whole festival. There was always someone new to meet.
At around 6 o'clock, we made our way to the El Chubacabra tent to see Nick Offerman. For those unfamiliar, get familiar. Offerman is best known for playing Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation as well as being married to Megan Mullaly of Will & Grace fame. The guy is hilarious, with a very straightforward, dry delivery, and it all works into his American everyman style. He strutted out without a shirt on, calmly stating, "You were warned that minor nudity was included." Putting on an American flag button-up, he offered attendees his "10 tips for prosperity." He encouraged the consumption of plentiful meat and bread, to practice romantic love and to do it often, as well as the safe use of drugs and intoxicants. He also dished out a few songs on his guitar, and at the end even brought his wife and actress Stephanie Hunt on stage. They did a mashup of Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" and Cypress Hill's "Hits from a Bong" that was simply awesome. You can check out the mashup here, but be warned the sound quality isn't the best.
Next up was Holy Ghost!, who performed at the Honda Bigfoot stage right after Offerman's set. It was good timing and I was really excited to see these guys live again. Rest assured, they did not disappoint. The sun was still bright when Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser tore up their hour-long set. With a full touring band supporting them, they sounded great. Kicking it off with their new single "Dumb Disco Ideas," the New York duo then dished out loud, dancey renditions of "Hold On," "Wait & See," "Do It Again," "Hold My Breath" and pretty much their whole debut album. I didn't stop dancing that whole hour.
Still on a bit of an energy high from Holy Ghost!, we caught the second half of Bloc Party's set at the main stage. While we showed up late, what we did see was fantastic. I caught them last year at Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, and they sounded as good if not better this time around. Sitting comfortably up on the hill, their set sounded so tight and it was a treat hearing songs from all four of their albums. While most of the set was material from Four, hearing old highlights like "Helicopter" was great. They even debuted a new song titled "Ratchet." Crowds were high-energy for this one.
With a bit of free time on our hands, we caught a short bit of Porcelain Raft at the Yeti stage. I had never seen Mauro Remiddi live but I really enjoyed his debut album Strange Weekend, so I was excited to find out what he sounded like in person. After hearing both "Drifting In And Out" and "Put Me To Sleep" I was very impressed. Remiddi's dreamy tunes sound great live, floating effortlessly through your eardrums. After what I heard, I was sad to leave, but The xx was waiting right around the corner.
Heading back to the Sasquatch stage, we prepared for The xx. Tucking into the left side of the stage, we made our way into the crowd and up to the front left. With a great, up-close view, we parked ourselves in place. As the band walked on stage the sun was giving us it's final minutes of light, giving way to the band's dark attire and stunning light show. All I can say is these three blew me away. Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie xx know how to build and atmosphere and completely own a crowd. Their stage presence is minimal and quietly charming, and for good reason. They let their instruments and sounds do the talking, using heavy bass kicks, explosive claps, rolling basslines and dazzling light arrangements to put you in a trance. It was so mesmerizing to see and hear "Reunion" live, being carefully strung along by the slowly-encompassing atmosphere. "VCR" was met with roaring applause, and then complete silence as the crowd gave way to the music. As was "Islands." As was "Swept Away." "Angels." "Crystalised." Seriously, it was like that with every song. I had no expectations going into it, but I left that stage in awe.
Walking away from the main stage, my mind was lost, still in a daze. We wandered to the El Chupacabra for a change of scenery. It was a drastic shift going from the minimalist beauty of The xx to the pulse-pounding electronic beats of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs. That didn't matter. My excitement for TEED quickly took over. Easily securing a spot against the front barrier, our eardrums were met with a barrage of pulsating bass and synthesized sounds. Surrounded by flashing lights, he kept the crowd moving for an hour straight, never letting go. TEED assaulted the senses with a well-paced set, and fans responded with high-energy dancing. He threw down tracks both old and (mostly) new, including "Your Love," "American Dream Pt. II," "Garden," "Stronger" and more. This was my first taste of electronic music at the festival, and it was so good.
Following TEED's set I had a ton of energy, so my friends and I bounced around to different stages for a while. First, we headed to the main stage, reaching the crest of the hill overlooking the tail end of Sigur Rós' set. The view was beautiful. A clear black sky speckled by stars dominated while the band doled out their final songs. It was a brief visit to the main stage—only 10 minutes—but it was a mellowing follow-up to TEED. My attention was occupied by something else, though, as Sigur Rós' quieter presence lost out to Tame Impala's raucous sounds at the nearby Yeti stage. We brashly decided that the party should continue and headed in that direction.
Tame Impala were supposed to perform at the Honda Bigfoot stage at 10pm, but due to their gear arriving late they were moved to an 11:15 set at the much smaller Yeti stage. That didn't matter, though. By the time we arrived at Yeti, the crowd was massive. Thousands of dedicated fans amassed around the stage, and the band responded with a fuckin' rowdy set. They brought songs from both Innerspeaker and Lonerism and unleashed them in loud, blistering fashion upon us, enveloping vocalist Kevin Parker's fragile vocals in warm, psychedelic sounds. It was incredible to hear "Elephant" roar to life, causing the excitement level to explode, and to lose yourself in "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" as it drifts along in a dream-like manner. The highlight was easily the end of their set, as "Solitude Is Bliss" so very loudly echoed from the stage, leaving everyone with the words "You will never come close to how I feel" etched into their minds.
Still feeling the reverberation of Tame Impala course through my body, we set our sights on the final show of the night: Empire of the Sun. Gladly choosing this band over Laidback Luke's set at El Chupacabra, I prepared for the bright, colorful extravagance of Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore. That's exactly what we got. Booming explosions of light and smoke introduced the band, donned in absurd outfits and accompanied by bizarre dancers. Apparently, they needed over an hour to prepare the stage and costuming for the show, and it certainly showed. This is pure showmanship, with stage-wide visual wonderment. The music was fantastic too. It was great to finally hear "Standing on the Shore," "We Are The People," "Half Mast" and "Walking on a Dream" live, but it was the new material that really stood out. "Alive" was anthemic and the whole crowd was chanting along energetically, while brand new songs from their upcoming album Ice on the Dune really showcased a catchy '80s dance vibe. I did get the sense that their was a lot lip-syncing going on, but I admit I didn't care because it was so bright and theatrical and fun. Fuck... is that a bad thing? It was just so good!
Day two really showcased all of what Sasquatch! has to offer: amazing music diversity, stunning vistas and weather as well as tons of memorable experiences. It was a day full of continuous high notes, amazing performances and ridiculous fun, and the story continues tomorrow with a recap of day three.
By Adrian McCavour.