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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 3, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 23
SASQUATCH 2016
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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SASQUATCH 2016

by Dru Dinero - SGN Contributing Writer

On Memorial Day weekend more than 10,000 people annually travel from all around the world to an area as remote as the Gorge Amphitheatre to attend what is generally respected as one of the must-see music festivals in the Pacific Northwest, Sasquatch! Music Festival. This year, however, the festival seemed a bit jinxed. Act cancellations, a brush fire in the distance, and winds that threatened the stability of the main stage left diehard Sasquatch fans slightly disappointed, but hopeful for improvement and a little bit of luck for the organizers of Sasquatch next year.

For three years now, photographer Nate Gowdy (whose work is featured on the cover of the latest TIME Magazine) and I have both welcomed attending Sasquatch as we find it helps break up the work year in both our lines of work and because we're both avid music fans. Sasquatch has a very eclectic music palate and does a good job of introducing fans to a variety of acts. It's always a great feeling to discover a new band and Sasquatch's extraordinarily beautiful venue makes that experience all the more memorable.

Vic Mensa, a Chicago hip hop artist affiliated with the likes of Jay-Z and Kanye West, rocked the Bigfoot stage Saturday night with an army of cardboard cutout cops that looked like they could've been designed by Banksy. The constant red and blue lightshow fit perfectly with Vic's more recent anarchy-influenced style of music and aesthetic.

Major Lazer fed the hungry-for-a-party Saturday night crowd on the main stage a feast of reggae, dancehall, and electronic dance music. Performing tracks from their latest album Peace is the Mission, Major Lazer allowed us to dance up a sweat in the cold that sweeps over the Gorge once the sun goes down, lighting up the night sky with a vibrant and blinding light show.

Moved from the main stage and into the El Chupacabra tent due to high winds, Seattle's own Tacocat took the stage Sunday afternoon to a crowd of enthusiastic fans. Tacocat's feministic pop punk style made the crowd bounce around to songs like 'FDP' and 'Bridge to Hawaii.' Tacocat's bio-queen with armpit hair aesthetic makes them a fun-to-see, truly Capitol Hill cultured band.

Alabama Shakes took the stage and crowd by storm, sounding as sweet as Lynyrd Skynyrd claims the state to be. Sounds from their song 'Hold On' took the Gorge to church that Sunday evening. Upon hearing the first song, I became an instant fan of this groovy sounding band.

Closing out the night on Sunday was Big Grams, the collaboration by Big Boi from Outkast and the electronic rock duo Phantogram. Being a big fan of both acts, this was an act that I could not miss. As expected, Big Grams came out and put on a spectacular show. The chemistry that this band shares on stage makes it seem like they are a family just having fun making music. At one point Sarah Barthel, lead singer of Phantogram, introduced us to her mom who Sarah claimed was high. Big Boi and Sarah also told us that it was Phantogram member Josh Carter's birthday. They brought out a piñata crafted as a mule and had us wish Josh Carter a happy birthday. The high energy and funky music blend that these artists create is a great fusion of two styles that would never seem to work on paper, but there is no denying what it makes you feel in the flesh when you see thousands of people dancing the night away to Big Grams.

Vancouver BC's electronica artist Grimes lit up the Gorge with electric sounds and Gollum-esque noises that worked beautifully as the sun set on Monday. Grimes' stage performance exudes confidence, almost like a little girl that is talking back to her parents for a completely benign point, which is fascinating because she turns into a mousy little girl in between songs - smiling widely, sheepishly thanking the audience and apologizing for & nothing really. However sheepish Grimes may be, it doesn't translate into her music and performance. Nate and I watched as a woman in an American flag bikini top and daisy dukes on danced like a stripper to Grimes' high-energy sound.

Closing out the main stage for the weekend were the majestic sounds of London's Florence and the Machine. Florence Welch took us on an emotional and spirited journey as she danced and twirled around like a jewelry box ballerina while delivering hits such as 'Shake It Out' and 'Sweet Nothing.' Mentioning that she wished she could've brought a full choir with her to accompany the epic sound of the band, Welch sweetly directed the audience to get involved as her choir while putting our phones down in order to savor moments without technology's invasion.

At times the errors in fluidity of this year's Sasquatch scared me as to what could happen to this great festival in the future years if it continues in the direction of act cancellations. Attending Sasquatch is quite a commitment of time and money, and missing an act that you're excited about can really be a bummer. I'm able to reflect on what might have dampened the experience and I'm pretty confident that Sasquatch organizers will put on one hell of a festival again next year because most of what went wrong simply was not the organizers' fault. We must remember that Mother Nature can be a bitch sometimes and rain on our parade, or threaten to blow over the main stage at Sasquatch. Until next year, Sasquatch!

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