Sasquatch: Day Three with Haim, Queens of the Stone Age, Demetri Martin & More, May 2014
Show Review & Photos by Abby Williamson
The final day of Sasquatch started with perhaps the most colorful group I saw all weekend – Seattle’s own Tacocat on the Yeti Stage. Equipped with a bubble machine, purple hair, and candy-coated crop tops, this group turned up the energy to ten so early that I forgot it was only 1 p.m.
The girl power was everywhere to be found that day – La Luz was the second group on the Yeti Stage that day, and their laidback surf rock was so nostalgic that I felt like I was watching them through rose-tinted sunglasses. I stuck around for bit of La Luz’s set before heading over to the Bigfoot Stage (which was already behind schedule so it worked to my advantage) for Irish group Little Green Cars. I saw this band several months ago at the Croc, and this broad stage suited them much better. It was overcast and a bit blustery, so the atmosphere matched their sound perfectly. I stayed for a good portion of their set before running over to the Narwhal Stage to catch another local group – Pillar Point. While their dreamy brand of electronic music didn’t necessarily fit in the early afternoon, it was perfect music to sit and zone out to. And after seeing three bands in one hour, I needed a bit of zoning out.
My biggest dilemma of all weekend came in the next hour. Was I going to see tUnE-yArDs or was I going to stay for all of The Lonely Forest’s set? The day before Sasquatch the Lonely Forest announced that they were going on “indefinite hiatus,” and they were only playing three more shows, Sasquatch being the first of those. I had no plans of attending Bumbershoot, so I know that Sasquatch was my chance to see them one last time. Of all the local bands around Seattle, The Lonely Forest means possibly the most to me – since they were the first concert I photographed five years ago at the Showbox. So you can guess what I did – I skipped tUnE-yArDs in favor of staying for all of The Lonely Forest. I was glad that I did though, because it truly was a special experience for the people there who – like me – have been fans of that band since the beginning. I might have cried just a little bit behind my sunglasses.
Sir Sly was up next on the Bigfoot Stage, and this band truly has been through quite a lot this year. After getting crazy airplay on 107.7 The End, they played the Sasquatch Launch Party without even knowing if they were playing the festival. Thankfully, later on they got added to the lineup and it was their first festival ever.
You wouldn’t have known though, because they kind of killed it. In that same hour, I saw Lucius, who brought out a huge crowd to the Yeti Stage, one almost too big for the yard. They lived up to their flamboyant stage persona – with sassy as hell pop music. I would love to see them again in a small venue, just to see how it compares.
Finally the comedy stage opened up, and I started my day of laughs with Hannibal Buress – my most recent standup love. I first saw Hannibal on Broad City as the awkward and lovable Lincoln, and when I did some digging, I realized that his standup is flawless, and just inappropriate enough. His crowd was huge, and rightfully so.
Two other standouts of the afternoon were Syd Arthur and Black Joe Lewis – the latter I was seeing for the second time. The first time I saw Black Joe Lewis was the second year I photographed Sasquatch, back in 2011. I remember back then the crowd left the lawn covered in toilet paper, and this year it was no different – just a bigger lawn.
I headed back to the comedy tent, where they had saved the biggest for last. Demetri Martin drew the craziest crowd I’d ever seen at the comedy tent – and not just of the weekend, but any weekend. His relaxed one-liners somehow worked well for the relatively wasted group of people standing in front of him. I’ve been a fan of
his since before he had that short-lived Comedy Central show – what was it called? Demetri Martin. Person. He was the first stand up comic I ever saw live almost a decade ago at the Moore Theater, so it nice to see him as an adult. I stayed for enough of his set to not have to crawl underneath the tent though, thank god.
At that point I thought about running down to the main stage to get a good spot for Haim, but just at that moment, Bob Mould started rocking the Bigfoot Stage. This was the second time I’d seen him in the last 12 months – the last time was at Musicfest Northwest in Portland – where Fred Armisen inexplicably joined him for a couple songs. Fred was absent this time, but Bob Mould still killed it – even if the crowd was considerably smaller than he deserved. I guess everyone else had the same thought about the main stage that I did.
I reached the main stage, and surprisingly the ground floor was not filled to the brim. Hello good side stage spot! Haim took the stage at just the perfect moment too – the little bit of rain had just subsided, the sun was starting to set, and the wind had never felt so welcome. That’s the best thing about music festivals – built-in wind machines. Those sisters rocked harder than anyone I’d seen all weekend. I was half-expecting to be underwhelmed because of how much hype they’ve gotten this year, but I can tell you straight up – they live up to the hype. Este’s bass faces are as weird as everyone says; Danielle has so much sass and attitude, and Alana literally does not stop moving. It was a blast, and I stayed for basically the whole set. For a band with one album on the scene, Haim held that stage like they’ve been doing it for decades.
I trekked back up the hill to catch the last bit of the Flavr Blue’s energetic set at the Narwhal Stage. It was the last band I saw on the Narwhal Stage that night, and I made the most of it. Jumping around with Hollis and the rest of the crowd – it almost didn’t feel like a festival setting. In fact, that was the feeling of the Narwhal Stage all weekend – and I hope they keep this little gem next year. The local bands deserve it.
I was down to the last couple hours, but it didn’t slow down. Rodriguez, most recently known for the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, which detailed two Cape Town fans’ efforts in the late ’90s to find out whether the rumors of Rodriguez’s death were true. The filmmakers went on to discover that Rodriguez was not dead, and didn’t even know that his music had such a huge following in South Africa. Just the idea of that made seeing him at this venue so much more special. His story was so much cooler than any I’d heard in a long time, and it was a joy to see the crowd experience it.
After a short break, packing up most of my gear, I headed back over to the Bigfoot Stage in the rain for Portugal. The Man. The first time I saw Portugal. The Man was at Neumo’s a good four years ago, so since then they’ve come a long way. The smoke machine was still a bit overzealous, but their live show did not disappoint. It’s cool
seeing Portland bands getting big.
I was anxious for my next and final trip to the main stage – where Queens of the Stone Age would blow my socks off. I was wearing socks, I think. Queens was one of the few bands I freaked out over when I first saw the lineup – partially because I’ve always loved their music – and also because I secretly hoped Dave Grohl would join them on stage. Hey, a girl can dream. No Dave, but that band and that crowd was the perfect way to – for all intent and purposes – close out the festival. This was the first time at the main stage that weekend that I felt like one of the youngest people on the ground floor. Josh Homme’s snarky on stage banter kept everyone laughing while they were tired, wasted, stoned, hung over, or all of the above. It’s clear that man has been at it for almost 20 years. The only downside was that their set was surprisingly short for a band that’s been at it for almost 20 years. I don’t even think they filled up the allotted time slot on the schedule, which was disappointing, but at that point I was so beat that I didn’t care that much.
And as tired as I was, I still had one artist to see – the French electronic artist Gesaffelstein – in the dance tent. I got up into the photo pit and could barely see the guy behind his huge synthesizer table, but I could tell that he was holding a cigarette in his mouth while controlling the whole machine. How stereotypically French of
him! Really? I managed to stick around for a little bit to wait for the mass exodus to clear out before walking back to camp for the night, but Gesaffelstein was pretty darn entertaining, and that thumping electronica was the perfect soundtrack to the almost mile-long hike back to the campsite.
I’d have to say that my 5th Sasquatch in a row was a pretty good one. Happy 5th Anniversary, pal!