Sasquatch Recap

Day 1 is Saturday of the Memorial Holiday weekend (5/23/09). If one shows up late, one gets put in the overflow parking, which seems a little odd, considering you have to buy a camping ticket in advance, they already know who will be showing up, there shouldn’t need to be any “overflow” as if we were unexpected. Regardless, it was a blessed convenience, proving to be a mere 100 steps to the front gate, with no hills to climb. Woo-hoo!

That Close to the Front Gate!

That Close to the Front Gate!

But it also meant that I was late and showed up after a couple of the bands I had actually wanted to see had performed. But hey, I had to stop at Stonehenge!

My next door camp mates were a foursome from Portland and Salem, all young women, who somehow managed to fit all of themselves, camping gear, food and beer in a Volkswagen Jetta. Amazing! They turned out to be a friendly bunch, including me easily, and over the next few days I was able to offer them various items that they had forgotten to pack. They offered beer in exchange, but I took them up on using their cooler to store my brick of Tillamook cheese. And using their propane powered stove to use my newly acquired French Press, using Stumptown coffee.  Yum.

Once our campsites were set up, off to the festival we went, already in full swing. I walked in as Shearwater played, and headed off in time to make Animal Collective. I also managed to catch Arthur & Yu (mellow, laid back), Sun Kil Moon (mellow good sedate), Ra Ra Riots (peppy strings), Mos Def (lounge-y, fun, smooth… ending with a nod to James Brown by shrugging off a sweat jacket that kept being tried to be put on his shoulders), Bon Iver (gentle) and the Decemberists. The Decemberists had three vocalists perform, one was a female alto who sounded an awful lot like Antony of Antony and the Johnsons. I’m used to hearing just the male vocalist for the Decemberists, so it was a surprise to hear two women sing in addition.

The Decemberists

The Decemberists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also caught a little bit of James Pants, Crystal Castles and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The latter two had screaming vocalists, and I just wasn’t in the mood. I had caught the mellow Northwest vibe from all the previous artists.

And that was how I would characterize the whole festival — mellow. Frequently the bands were quiet, and one had to get up close and personal to hear all that was being played, sung, said. It was the Northwest mellow vibe, regardless whether the band actually was from the Northwest or not. It just led to packed in close audiences, a more intimate performance, as other stages might be more amped and bleeding into the different stage areas.

Sun Kil Moon, up close and personal

Sun Kil Moon, up close and personal

They had changed the festival grounds around a bit since last year, mostly for the better, now the smallest stage area was no longer a cul de sac that caused bottlenecks, but actually had more than one entrance. This also meant the portapotties in this area didn’t close off as the stage was no longer used. The down side was they moved the second largest stage to a previously under utilized area, which was good except one can no longer stand on the special spot and see all three stages simultaneously. But it now allows much larger crowds at each of the stages.

Mos Def on the re-located 2nd stage

Mos Def on the re-located 2nd stage

 The evening ended with Kings of Leon, a band I still wonder why they were headlining, but that’s just me. I left as they took the stage, and the evening was uneventful,  my camp neighbors were back before me, and about to hit the sack, all four in a tent together. I decided I was tired too, and quickly fell asleep.

Sunset on the Gorge

Sunset on the Gorge

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