St. Vincent at the 2009 Sasquatch! Festival (05/24/09)
Words and Photos: Drake Le Lane
For the second day, I was determined to be a lot less daring in my attempts to catch more bands. Not only were my legs tired from not sitting down at all the day prior, but I realized I needed to plant myself at a stage to work my way to the front to get some good shots. That meant seeing some bands just to get into position, and as an added bonus, it also meant I’d not be walking by those $9 beer stands.
Sasquatch! Day 2 Wrap Up (May 24, 2009)
These earlier sets on the Main Stage are always kind of weird. The crowd isn’t as big and the bands always seem more subdued, and The Walkmen were no exception. Of course, with the sweater vests and ties, Hamilton Leithauser & co. are always ones to play it cool. But when they pulled out “The Rat,” the mood noticeably changed, or maybe that was just me, screaming the words (“…POUNDING ON YOUR DOOR!”). Then Calexico’s horn section joined the band on stage for a song and everything was ‘cool’ again.
I like JV, he always seems like such a nice guy, and he has this connection with his fans that not many folks have. At this set, for instance, he borrowed some sunglasses from an audience member (“whoever has the largest, most ridiculous shades, preferrably…”) and the band happily autographed them after the show upon request. I can never remember what he played, or whether it was good or bad, just that everyone on stage and off was pleasantly connected. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment, though.
Like many on this hot day, Annie Clark was having problems with her effects pedals thanks to the brightness and the heat of the sun. The band would get some momentum with a song like “The Strangers” or “Marry Me” and then have to pause whle Clark either fiddled with the settings or just needed to crouch down to see what the heck was on the LED’s. I was in the same boat with my camera, as her skin was so alabaster white that I repeatedly had to adjust my camera settings to compensate.
The foursome from New Jersey so rarely play in our neck of the woods (or at all, really) that when I heard they were coming to the festival, their name was circled first. Since it was their only festival of the year, they packed in enough energy for several, with Bassist/Keyboardist Kevin Whelan taking it upon himself to make sure it was a memorable show. Whether it was throwing his duct-taped bass high in the air and then into the crowd, yelling at the audience to get excited; or even jumping off his bass cabinet from the drum riser down to the main stage, he did it while still contributing to whatever song was being played. The set was both beautiful and noisey, powerful and poetic, in short, exactly what a Wrens show should be. Plus, two new songs! Naturally, someone in the audience had to yell out “when’s the new album coming out?” It’s the “Freebird” of a Wrens show. I’m thinking they must be getting closer, as they recently started a MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter account. My camera battery lost a lot of juice with how trigger happy I got on this set… which I considered to be the best of the two days I was there.
Murder City Devils
This was another “get in position” set for me, as I caught this set purely to try and get in place for the following act. But I’m glad I did, if only for the spectacle of Spencer Moody and his drunken rant and on stage antics. It’s always entertaining to see the band give the audience the middle finger. After awhile, though, the act started to feel old… Moody was too wasted to even really sing, just growl out the same note. It got a lot of people talking, though.
TV on the Radio
In the time since I last saw the band, they’ve gotten quite a bit funkier. Every song got a little extra thump, even “Young Liars” and the blazing closer “Staring at the Sun,” sounded like they got hit with the funk stick. It was fine performance, even if the crowd got even more “jock” heavy than during the MSD set. Aziz Ansari came out and played maracas on “A Method,” near the end of the set, which is when my camera battery died.
I almost didn’t last for this show, as I’d yet to sit down for either of these festival days, and my legs were toast. But when the music started and the bodies around me started dancing, all the pain magically disappeared. Always a spectacle, the theatrics of an Of Montreal set are a blast, and this night was no exception. Another selling point of an Of Montreal show is that the crowd gets a bit frisky, to the point that some sweet young thing felt free enough grind on my leg for part of the set. She eventually moved on to another leg, which I was fine with. Apologies to my wife, but that’s just the hazards of the job, right?
And with that, I headed home, dead legs and all.
That’s the last of the 2009 Sasqautch! Festival coverage, thanks again Drake! More photos from Day 2 after the jump.
PS For some Day 3 coverage, you can head over to Consequence of Sound.
Henry Clay People
TV On The Radio