Kim Schifino of Matt and Kim at Sasquatch 2011 (05/28/11)
Words and Photos: Drake LeLane
Sasquatch! Music Festival 2011, Day 2
The second day got off to another late start, thanks to sleep and an extended game of tickle monster with my 3-year old. How many campers can use that as an excuse for their late arrival on this overcast Saturday? As such, I missed Seattle’s own feel good story, The Head and the Heart, making my way through the gate as they played their final song to a fair amount of applause so early in the day. Since I’ve seen THATH too many times to count (they played a LOT of gigs in 2010), my heart wasn’t too broken (I was more sad for just missing Rebecca Gates). Even arriving late, I still managed at least a check in on 12 different acts.
The NPR neo-soul favorite, Aloe Blacc strutted on to the stage to the sounds of his recognizable “I Need a Dollar,” the theme and best part of HBO’s How To Make It In America. The band quickly shifted gears, though, and launched into another song before vocals would arrive in that song, saving it for a bring-the-house-down-crowd-sing-along later in the set. Another theme for Sasquatch was becoming apparent — the use of horns. Besides Blacc’s smooth delivery, the use of horns was a highlight of the set. (Hear the entire set via NPR.)
While we’re on the subject of themes, another prevalent theme (and has been for years) is the incredible amount of Canadian talent that is put on display at Sasquatch!. There’s always been a lot of Maple Leaf flags at the festival, but I’ve never figured out which came first — the Canuck audience or the artists? The beer stands were stocked with plenty of Molson and between sets small talk would inevitably move to a discussion of the Canucks chances for the Stanley Cup. Oh, and Dan Mangan played. He’s a folk artist from Vancouver on the cool Canadian indie label Arts & Crafts. NPR has the whole concert still available to stream.
Playing their penultimate show before going on an indefinite hiatus,
Worf Wolf Parade’s energetic performance was bittersweet. Other projects for Spencer Krug (Sunset Rubdown, Moonface) and Dan Boeckner (Handsome Furs) have taken up most the passion for making music for the two-headed monster of a writing team, and so (after Monday’s performance in Vancouver) the band is going on indefinite hiatus. As such, the band played like it may never play again, not holding anything back. Lucky for those of us there to witness, but unlucky for all now that it’s over.
Jenny & Jonny
Real life couple Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice (aka Jenny & Jonny) ripped through their songs that lay bare their relationship — complete with commitment issues and oh so clever threats of faux violence. The Sun managed to poke out for nearly the entire set, and the especially pasty Jenny Lewis almost seemed to melt in its presence, with a sly smile all the same.
The duo of Jenn Wasner (guitar/vocals) and Andy Stack (drums/samples) began their recording career inspired by shoegaze but have leaned more heavily on alt country over the past two releases, and their live shoe is a reflection of both these seemingly opposing sounds. Wasner’s haunting voice soared over the proceedings, whether flying close to the wall of sound or high above the more quieter moments.
Since The Antlers’ latest, Burst Apart, gets a lot of play in my household, I was excited to see their live set. The both trippy and measured sound of the Brooklyn band was on full display, but there lacked some energy on the stage. Peter Silberman‘s falsetto might’ve been better served in an enclosed space, as what should have been a soaring delivery felt weakened by the open space of the surroundings. It did nothing to deter my love for the album, though.
Iron & Wine
It wasn’t that long ago that Sam Beam and his beard did this Iron & Wine thing alone, with an acoustic guitar. Now the still bearded Beam is backed by an 11-piece band, making for quite a difference in sound and expectations. Instead of the whispered, plaintive folk of the past, Iron & Wine’s base sound is now essentially the blues, and Beam’s troupe of musicians and back-up singers often drifted into noodle-y spaced-out jams — perfect for the herbs that were being set on fire all around me.
Matt & Kim
Aside from the Flaming Lips, no band put forth and generated more smiles per minute that Matt & Kim. Their infectious energy is hard to deny, even when if sometimes feels like it’s unicorns and rainbows coming out of the speakers. Kim seemed to admire the length of my lens, repeatedly playing to the camera (and you’ll hear no complaints from me).
Eminem Conor Oberst took a bit of time to get on stage, but when he did, the hoodie, dark bangs and sideways stature kept photographers mostly at bay. Backed by longtime producer and fellow Monsters of Folk member Mike Mogis, Oberst remained committed to the angsty hip-hop persona he adopted at the beginning, commenting on the beauty of the Gorge: “That shit is deep, yo.” It was at times uncomfortable and band members even seemed confused at times, but to those watching, it was entertaining all the same.
Death Cab For Cutie
I only caught a little bit of DCFC’s Saturday night ending set, feeling the need to get in on some Robyn action, but I hear they came on for a 30 minute encore. So there’s that.
The Swedish pop star made us all wait an extra 30 minutes, with the
Scandinavian Canadian contingency threatening to riot. Not really ever a threat, actually, but the temperature was dropping quicker than acid in the audience. Robyn came decked out in some crazy duds, complete with fake fur and plaftorms, performing her should-be-smashes like “Dancing on My Own” as the audience sang along. Somehow, Robyn managed to pull off some amazing dance move in those platforms. Thankfully, she sang the lyric “I wish someone could clone me ’cause I’m hot and you’re not” early enough that I was able to catch it, before I had to move on to Sleigh Bells.
Even with the temperature now dipping into the 40s, the open-aired Banana Shack tent was hot and sweaty for Sleigh Bells’ bombastic performance. It was impossible to stand still during their set, not only because the music held sway over your feet, but also because the energy of the audience wouldn’t tolerate anything static. Even the thick tent poles were shaking and beaten on. I couldn’t get very close, but the real experience of the set seemed to be further out anyway — further being the key word here. And with that, another hour long drive home was underway.
More photos from Day 2 of Sasquatch 2011 after the jump.
Jenny & Jonny
Iron & Wine
Matt & Kim
Death Cab For Cutie