Day 1 Sasquatch 2011: Canada’s Best Festival

Upon arrival, the first thing that caught our eyes at Sasquatch 2011 were the endless Vancouver Canucks flags. After entering the grounds, things were not much different with hundreds of jerseys worn in support of the squad representing Canada in the upcoming Stanley Cup Finals.

During the set of the Trailer Park Boys, a Canadian comedy troupe, chants of “CA-NA-DA” came and went. The group played off the homegrown fans and riffed on Canadian currency and the fitting gag from their show of “Sam-sqatch.”

Unfortunately, the set felt a bit forced and the mics were too quiet, so very few of the jokes actually landed. The audience didn’t seem to mind, though—they were just content to be in the presence of the idols they had come to love.

“I can’t believe it, fuckin’ Ricky and Julian are right there! Where’s Bubbles? This is the greatest moment of my life!” Those were the words of a Sasquatch-tripper right behind us, who seemed on the verge of tears for most of the set.

Really, that fan represented the atmosphere of Sasquatch this year: amazing. Everyone has been relaxed, elated, and completely in sync with the performers.

They showed their appreciation with screams and sing-a-longs to the first artist we caught, Aloe Blacc. His band was over fifteen minutes late and he was another ten after them, but when he skyrocketed from backstage, adorned in a purple button down, vest, and fedora, the energy soared.

Aloe jumped right into the vocals and dancing, greeting the crowd with the cheer-worthy message of, “My name is Aloe Blacc and I’m here to sing some soul music.”

His aura was undeniable and the crowd loved it, but nothing could compare to my personal highlight of the day, Washed Out.

Led by Ernest Greene, who I have an interview tentatively planned with, Washed Out breezed through a set of layered synths and bass riffs. Playing in the tent designated for electronic artists, they deserve respect for utilizing a full band amongst a series of keyboard-only DJs.

Washed Out unveiled a new song, taking its live v-card for Sasquatch and opening up a new emotional dynamic to their music. They successfully walked the rarely attempted tightrope of simultaneous emotions and danceable beats. Not to mention, the strangest group of musicians I’ve seen in a while (see: pictures).

I packed it in early, still adjusting to the switch from London to Northwest time, but according to the people I spoke with about Bassnectar’s late night set, he phoned it in with a mediocre DJ set and easy drops, making me thankful to have not deprived myself of much-needed sleep.

Looking back, it was a fantastic day with a perfect audience. Everyone is friendly and open to each other, because they know that anyone with the know-of-all to attend Sasquatch is probably someone worthwhile to get acquainted with. Well, then again, maybe its just because they’re all Canadian.

Washed Out – “Eyes Be Closed” by Stereo/Pirate

See more photos by Matt Shanafelt from Sasquatch! 2011 via facebook.

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