Words by Alicia Haberman. Photos by Robert Delahanty
When Sasquatch Festival 2012 was first announced, many felt as though someone jacked the lineup from their iPod. It makes sense that a lot of us would feel that way because (aside from SF’s Outside Lands), it’s the most versatile collection of artists we’ve seen for this year’s festivals.
Even if the lineup wasn’t enough to draw you, the Gorge itself was. No matter how you got there, you’d have taken the scenic route. The one-of-a-kind amphitheatre has a phenomenal backdrop overlooking the Columbia River Gorge….in George. Yes the Gorge is in George, Washington. We know.
The fans, most of who camped on-site, seemed to be a genuinely peaceful and happy crowd. If you’ve been to your share of festivals, that’s a big deal when it comes to packing together 25,000 people for 4-days and selling them $5 waters. Glancing around the grounds we witnessed some unforgettable dance parties, some impressive facial hair, a surprising amount of animal pajama suits, and (thanks to free samples), an overwhelming amount of beef jerky.
The make-shift community took on a life of it’s own, and the music was most definitely to thank. Here are some of our favorites:
The Seattle native grew up singing at church with his father, and has crafted one of the most powerful voices we’ve ever heard. Even while decked in grandma glasses and long blonde hair, the man is dripping with soul.
Still reeling off their successful SXSW debut, their vibe was a nice combination of powerful and classy. They have a organ-driven celestial-type sound and their frontwoman, Channy, has a crazy-impessive range.
Some of us got in the mood for some daylight raving, so we shot over to their show. The guys pounded out 45 min of danceable electro-pop with endless drum layers, synthesizers, and just the right amount of the Passion Pit-esk vocoder.
The dance party continued throughout the day with fantastic performances by Beats Antique and Girl Talk. Girl Talk out-did himself with unexpected mixes of “Teenage Wasteland”, “Another one Bites the Dust”, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and appropriately, Beck’s “Loser.”
These guys are crazy new and fun. Their video for “Lemonade” is a refreshing form of retro/indie hip-hop. By the end of their set they had collected most of the walkers-by. Give ‘em a listen.
They closed out the first day and set a tone for the scene with their loud ethereal instrumental jam rock. Dope.
The sounds of summer. This Seattle group combined their tropical beach drumming with otherworldly vocals, synths, and a even brought out a horn section. They have an insanely catchy new record called “The Palace Garden” that are about to hit the road with White Arrows.
Saturday we finally witnessed Oakland’s one and only Tune-Yards. Singer Merrill Garbus brings a tribal energy, using looping pedals to layer her powerful voice and beats from scrappy DIY drumkits. Visually she impresses with bright feathers and warpaint. Check out her anthems “Bizness” and “Gangsta.”
As the crowd came down from a heavy, raging Jack White, the Roots crew picked them right back up. An endless set of hip hop perfection that included one of the weekend’s many MCA tributes, a cover of “Paul Revere.”
Intricate, colorful indie-rock. Our favorite moments were unexpected jam sessions during two of their most popular songs “How Do I Know” and “Make Up Your Mind.”
The UK Producer/DJ Starslinger mainly mashes up hiphop/r&b tracks. This year he’s touring to back up his first solo album and we’re so glad to have caught this set. His new stuff rocks glitchy bells, heavy bass and some crazy marching band breakdowns. Also, he definitely knew how to cater to the various ages in the crowd…with Rihanna’s “We Found Love” right into Bone Thugs “Crossroads.” Ridiculous…ly awesome.
If you couldn’t make it this up to Sasquatch this year, try again in ’13…or at least put the Gorge amphiteatre on your bucket-list. It’s unforgettable. Check out the rest of the lineup and more of the festival highlights HERE.