Why Sasquatch Festival is (Still) for “Hipsters”
Sorry EDM fistpumpers, you might as well close this tab now.
Last year, I took time off from Sasquatch for the first time in four years to go to Lightning in a Bottle. I LOVED LiB…but it was weird being away. As a Washingtonian, the Gorge leaves a hole in your heart when you leave it, and when you miss a major festival out there to go somewhere else, you wonder why you did. Alternatively, you look back, and the blurred memories of The Gorge that come to mind are either tainted by annoying ass hipsters at Sasquatch who think that Lana Del Rey is a queen (barf), stumbling 18 year olds who run around dehydrated asking you where “Molly” is (thanks Paradiso) and potheads of all ages telling you that “THIS WAS THE BEST YEAR OF DAVE!” each year during DMB’s Labor Day Gorge invasion.
(Disclaimer: Dave Matthews, I love you and your repetitive 4 day sets each year, even if I cheated on you last year to go to Burning Man. Can we still be friends?)
The Gorge has just as many people as we hate at other festivals, but it truly is a special place. You really can’t get similar sunsets at Coachella (unless you spend $17 for a 3 minute ferris wheel ride) and the people of Washington, British Columbia and Oregon that encroach on The Gorge during Sasquatch really are cooler than most of the people that you’ll meet at many other major festivals.
These are a few of the reasons that I came back to The Gorge and went to Sasquatch this year; honestly…it wasn’t primarily for the lineup. Live Nation: you’ve really got to stop making this festival four days long, man. With a day job at a corporate company over in Seattle, I think I speak for a lot of the weekend warriors when I say I can’t stay to watch The Glitch Mob and Kendrick Lamar late Monday night, only to stroll into work on Tuesday feeling like a million bucks.
However, I still had a blast. If you go to any music festival and don’t have a good time overall, I’ve really got to wonder what’s wrong with you. Even with an affinity to electronic music that’s been there as long as I heard my first Tiesto track when I was 8 years old, I’ve got a soft spot for Indie bookings that rocked this year’s Sasquatch stages.
–Odezsa were the kings of Sasquatch. You’d think it was freaking Macklemore who walked onto the El Chupacabra stage to throw down when they came on, but you know, it was just two guys from the Seattle area whose talent and dedication have paid off through the years. Even when I chatted with them a few years ago, I knew they would be successful, but I had no idea it would be to this degree. They deserve each and every ounce of fame, and I wish Clayton and Harrison nothing but the best. PS: They killed it at LiB the same weekend too, with just as many (if not more) fans in the crowd.
-I was actually pretty excited to see James Blake, but I expected a sullen (and slightly depressing) indie set. The basslines that came along with James’ incredible vocals were absolutely hypnotizing, and he had the entire Bigfoot Stage entranced just after sundown. I was eating dumplings from The Dump Truck during this set, and oh my lawd were they amazing. Sidenote: Sasquatch really killed it with the food vendors this year, and it was nice to have other choices than gyros and “scaryaki” noodles.
-Madeon is Madeon, there’s not much else to say there. He’s a talented little dude with a lot of street cred in the DJ community and I respect that. Personally, I don’t have much to say about the set; the electro just really wasn’t what I wanted to see that weekend.
–Glass Animals definitely did their thing and won the award for the most “non-electronic, but not indie enough that each song has twinges of sadness” performance. Overall their set was great and their vocalist has one hell of a set of pipes. But alas, like any band rising to stardom among the masses, everyone just kind of swayed until “Gooey” came on and then it’s as if their frontman had just yelled out that each member of the audience would be receiving one million dollars. I swayed my hips a little bit; it was good.
-People will get mad if I don’t put Chromeo in here. They were good, everyone was happy. That’s about all I’ve got there.
-I didn’t go to Lana Del Rey, but anyone who didn’t worship her like she was a freakin’ god said that set was kind of a trainwreck. I could hear her crooning (aka whining into the autotune) from over at the Jack Daniels bar, where I enjoyed my $13 double while playing Cornhole and waiting for James Blake to come on. (Protip: If you’re trying to get your drink on and are sick of paying for $10 Bud Light 24 oz cans at The Gorge, fear not – at most festivals in the venue, there is usually a full bar + craft beer for around the same price that is for anyone over the age of 21…you’re welcome).
-It’s interesting when you see a “live” performance of an electronic act that gets more credibility for their remixes than their original tracks. I have to say I had high expectations for AlunaGeorge on Friday night, but between the rain storm that sent every attendee (electronic fan or not) into the dance tent for cover and the slow-paced tunes really killed the vibe of their performance. To be short, it just wasn’t what I expected.
-Flume. I really don’t know how to put this into words. I struggled with this, after making the decision to leave the set early on Friday to go to bed (TO. GO. TO. BED…), although many of my friends said he was one of their Sasquatch favorites. Harley…I’m still a little sad about What So Not, and that’s the honest truth. Consider me biased, because I have no idea what’s gone on behind the curtain, but What So Not’s music is just as amazing as the solo project, and I was looking forward to seeing the duo live, not just Emoh. You made it clear two years ago that you have always been about making music for you and nobody else, and I really respect that, although it was a quote I’ve heard from many artists in the past. Our interview was a little awkward (that’s my fault, it was my first video interview, I was stupidly nervous), but I still respect you for being yourself and rejecting the artist performance status quo more than most people I’ve talked to. Now I get the need to please a crowd, but I didn’t see the individuality in your set (in fact, I feel like I’ve heard it on SoundCloud at least 2 or 3 times before), so I was pretty disappointed. I hope you decide to get weird again, and I look forward to hearing it.
-I saw SBTRKT a few years ago at Sasquatch and he was…alllllright. I was excited to give him another chance and either it was the acoustics on the stage or maybe the sound guy was drunk, but it sounded pretty bad. Or maybe I was drunk. I might have been drunk.
The Sneak Attacks
–Manatee Commune is a local dude who is taking after Odesza’s flowy, chillstep vibes and I think a lot of people appreciated that. The lineup on Monday was stacked with similar artists from Slow Magic to the ever disco-y Hot Chip. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Manatee Commune, especially at this year’s What The Festival.
-I’d never seen Rustie live, but damn did he ever blow it out of the water. The young Glasglow, Scotland-based producer had everyone dancing more than many of the other dance tent sets that I saw all weekend. I am definitely looking forward to seeing him again.
EDMers: Stay home until Paradiso
Seriously, I see this every year. People who don’t listen to much music other than electronic get so disappointed when Laidback Luke and Wolfgang Gartner aren’t at Sasquatch (although they’ve had some great Sasquatch sets in the past). Just wait a month for Paradiso, PLEASE. We like our Sasquatch without a bunch of whiny, dilated pupil college kids in neon bras and bro tanks, because it’s way better with a bunch of whiny Indie rock fans.
Stay you Sasquatch, you know I’ll be back.
Title photo credit: King Tuff by Christopher Nelson
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