I stepped outside of my tent and instantly noticed how many cars had disappeared from the campgrounds.
People traveled from far and wide to attend Sasquatch, so it seemed as though everyone need a day to return to work on Tuesday, and with the exception of the select group of Wilco fans, every stage was fairly barren and open to easy front row access.
Dressed in suits and tuxes, Noah and the Whale came out with a set up equally polished with their well-orchestrated mournful and occasionally inspirational pop tunes. The first time I saw them live a few years ago, the lead singer had apparently just gone through a break-up and their set was a bit of a depressed mess, but in a way, that’s what made them relatable. Now, looking confident and put together, Noah and the Whale lost a bit of their charm, but still surpassed many expectations and presented a lovely set.
Next came beloved Montreal-natives Chromeo on the main stage. As always, Dave-1 and P-Thugg put on the show their fans have come to expectâ€”cocky, smooth, and ironically cheesy. Even though it was the third time I’d caught them live since August, their lovability has far from deteriorated.
90’s four-track, lo-fi college rock kings Guided by Voices took the stage after Chromeo for one of the smallest crowds I observed all weekend at the main stage.
From a distance, the lack of support was a bit understandable; their music didn’t come off well in a large open space like the Gorge and the instrumentation felt dated. But from the pit, hardcore fans joined together, sang along, and helped make Guided by Voices feel at home.
After, Bonobo treated the Banana shack to a DJ set of obscure tracks and mash-ups, coming across as one of the most accessible dance artists of the weekend.
Then, at 7:30, !!! (also known as chk chk chk) brought forth the best set of the day and maybe of the weekend. Somewhat akin to LCD Soundsystem if James Murphy was replaced by a flamboyant karaoke singer at a gay bar, !!!’s lead singer, Nic Offer stormed out with most likely coke-induced energy.
“Don’t kick the photographers out of the pit after our first three songs, let them stay in the whole timeâ€¦. I have a few surprises for them.” With those words, I became painfully aware of the absence of my photographer attending Best Coast instead.
Offer walked through the crowd, tried on audience members’ accessories, posed for photos, and basically cage-danced on the P.A.’s. But in the end, it was the flawless disco/electronic music that held the performance together.
Everything after felt like a bit of a disappointment, especially Wilco, strumming through some even more mellowed out versions of their songs, commenting on how the last time they played at the Gorge was their worst show everâ€¦
But Major Lazer gave what can be best described as a frenzied, womanizing, lawless two-encore performance of crowd-surfing, daggering, and cloth-fucking.
Mental note: if given the choice between a legendary group’s acoustic jam set or Major Lazerâ€”choose Major Lazer.
And with that, comes the conclusion of Sasquatch 2011. Within the next week I’ll have a full overview sorting out my thoughts, observations, and highlights on my first major festival of the year.
See more photos by Matt Shanafelt from Sasquatch! 2011 via facebook.
*** Editors note: that guy, standing (yes you know the one I’m talking about) is not in a band, but is seriously awesome.