Sasquatch! Music Festival 2013: Day 1
Sasquatch!, one of the best mid-size festivals in the country, hit a whole new level of hype this year. The combination of Northwest favorites such as Postal Service and Macklemore, as well as international stars Sigur Ros and The xx promised an amazing weekend. The 25,000 tickets for the festival sold out in less than an hour. But what makes Sasquatch! standout is not just the powerhouse acts it draws every year, but it’s unique atmosphere. It has a distinct Northwest quality to it, laid back and music-focused. Maybe most important is that the festival has retained it’s medium size (instead of going for two weekends like Coachella) and feels in turn, more like a community. Every Memorial Day weekend at The Gorge you will find great bands, tons of really nice Canadians, a plethora of beach balls, and at least one person wearing a full body neon suit.
Day one at Sasquatch kicked off with the strongest Friday lineup this Owl has ever witnessed. Things started right with Seattle local Reignwolf, whose electric guitar riffs are reminiscent of the late and great Jimi Hendrix. His talent, which includes the ability to play drums and guitar at the same time, is unreal. To end his set, the rocker jumped on top of an Easy Street Records van and played in the middle of the crowd.
Next up was Japandroids, whose set was sadly disappointing. The hype they’ve gotten this year promised for a great show, but their album didn’t seem to translate live. Whether it was because of the sometimes sketchy sound on the Bigfoot stage or too high of expectations, this Vancouver duo sounded like a quiet rock band. However, the crowd surfing induced by their music was extremely entertaining to watch.
Next was Father John Misty, Northwest native, Owl favorite and an all around sassy guy. John Tillman seduced unbelievers into becoming fans with his hip shaking, crazy dance moves and sarcasm. The set included an amazing performance of “This Is Sally Hatchet” as well as a monologue between an audience member and Tillman on why they shouldn’t fall in love with his beard. What’s great about Tillman is his ability to balance weirdness with great music. The quality of his sound isn’t compromised by his dark wit or tendency to wrap the microphone around his neck.
Youth Lagoon was up next, and despite the fact that they were running 40 minutes late, their set was better than this Owl has ever seen it. Trevor Powers played to a packed crowd at the Yeti stage, including new songs and old favorites. The lighting (arguably the best of the day) along with heavy bass and Powers’ Technicolor jacket, made for a mesmerizing show.
Vampire Weekend, who hit a high note with their latest release, co-headlined on the Yeti Stage. They drew a huge crowd before their sound check had even finished. The band shone on old songs such as “Cousins,” but the new songs, which are arguably their best, didn’t translate as powerfully as one would hope. However, their set was definitely a solid one.
Last but not least, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis took the main stage with the most outrageous show of the weekend. This overnight superstar certainly does not go small. The show included a scooter, fur jackets, sequined capes, and a host of special guests. The set was extremely personal, as many of Macklemore’s songs focus on Seattle. A moving moment of the set occurred when “Same Love” was performed, a song near and dear to Washington’s heart, with vocal powerhouse Mary Lambert. The show ended with an explosion of technicolor confetti that reached all the way to the top of the Gorge.
Best Performance of the day: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Surprise of the day: Reignwolf plays on top of a van!
Disappointment of the day: Japandroids
Check out all the amazing photos HERE.