I saw some pretty amazing shows on Friday, the first day of Sasquatch. I think, instead of writing about these beautiful performances first, I’ll take you through what it’s like to go to Sasquatch (for the first time) being a kind-of-shy-very-tired person. So let’s start with the first night.
I didn’t have a lot of reference about what it would be like to go to a music festival of this size or scale so when I arrived I was floored. We drove about 3-4 hours to get to the Gorge and when we parked, I was completely stunned at the beauty of the grassy area where we camped. I, knowing I had a big day of doing reviews and whatnot coming up the next day, was really excited to set up my tent and get some planning done. I wasn’t surprised that my camping buddies weren’t too stoked on that idea but I had no idea that people would be partying until very early in the morning. Piece of advice: DO NOT GO TOO HARD ON THE FIRST NIGHT OF SASQUATCH. Being the grandpa that I am, I definitely went to bed around 10pm and thought nothing of it but I know for a fact that most people were drinking and singing and dancing until very, very early in the morning. Why would you not want to partake in the merriment on the first night? Because then you miss the first three or eight performances of the first night. Let’s just say that missing out on half a day of music you paid up front for is…less than ideal. Sure, you’re paying for the whole experience in the ticket price, but let’s be honest…we’re there for the music. So my first piece of advice for anyone thinking of going to this festival is to take care of yourself, especially on the first night.
Honestly, I would extend that advice out to the rest of the weekend (in various ways). Pack clothes that will suit the weather (no, headdresses do not count as weather-appropriate accessories. They’re just stupid and rude, so really reconsider those at music festivals). By weather-appropriate, I mean shorts and short shorts and tank tops and bro tanks and all the other things that cover just enough for you to feel comfortable but show off enough that you won’t bake in your own sweaty clothes. Trust me, it’s totally possible to do that and it’s totally possible to sweat so much it feels like you’re crying sweat. Neither are generally accepted and neither are especially fun. BE SO WARNED, THOUGH: It get’s incredibly cold at night. This was one of my major mistakes during the festival. I forgot that the desert isn’t always sweltering. Sometimes, the desert is the freezer you accidentally locked yourself in for 8 hours. No one is coming to save you from that freezer until about 8 or 9am so be sure to pack the warmest pajamas you own. You’ll wake up in your own sweat because that temperature isn’t your friend but I’d rather sleep well and wake up hot than be cold for too long and THEN be too hot…either way you’re going to be warm.
Take care of yourself is my advice and that goes for health, y’all! Take some B-12 vitamins! Drink a ton of water! Eat some fruit or something other than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! You’re out there for 4 days and it MATTERS what you put into your body. I know this reads like a mom’s lecture but seriously, learn from my mistakes. Don’t get me wrong– I had a beautiful time at this festival, I just wish I had taken better care of my body so I didn’t get so tired halfway through the day (or so freakin’ cold at night).
I know, I know, ENOUGH OF THIS ADVICE BUSINESS. What about the music?! Let’s just say that Day One was packed with musical genius. The first show I could get myself to was Hozier and he knocked it out of the park. We walked up to the Yeti Stage and there were some pretty excited girls (let’s be honest with ourselves, ok?) there. Patterned in the pre-show buzz were the words “Take Me to Church” and “have you heard Take Me to Church” and I’m pretty Hozier heard us because when they played their latest single, they looked a bit annoyed with the fact that it was the only song everyone knew the words to (whoops because I definitely was one of those people). Andrew Hozier-Byrne is the frontman of Hozier. A singer-songwriter from Dublin, Ireland, he really knows what he’s doing. I first listened to the band on recommendation from a fellow KSUB’r (Erica McIntyre) and instantly fell into the depths of the incredible sound this guy produces. I don’t know why, but I didn’t expect soul/gospel/blues music from an Irish singer-songwriter but that is exactly what you get from Hozier. He basically punches you in the face with his beautiful voice and I don’t know why it’s so enjoyable but it is the richest sound. I was lucky enough to be pretty close to the stage and so when Andrew walked on stage with his cup of tea and slight frown, I knew we’d be close friends. By this, I mean that I would stare at him in hopes that between songs he would call out and say that he and I should hang out or something. This, sadly, didn’t happen. What happened instead was a brilliant performance. Sure, he seemed pretty annoyed to be there but that didn’t stop him from out-performing a lot of other bands that came on stage for the rest of the weekend. Did he deserve a bigger stage? Oh most definitely. What I’m trying to say here is that Hozier really, really did the thing and he did the thing better than he really had to. The thing, in this case, being that he showed up and gave us a taste of his talent.
The next show I had the awesome pleasure of seeing was Chance the Rapper. Alright, so this guy absolutely blew everyone out of the water. I have to say that I was in the middle of probably the rudest, drunkest kids at the festival and my friends and I were completely sober so I got hit in the face A LOT but it was still one of the best sets I saw all weekend. He’s about 6 months older than I am and he’s performing some of the best acid rap out there. I mention age because it’s INSANE that someone so young could be so talented and so awesome about sharing that talent. There’s no BS with Chance- he’s giving you exactly what you need (the best rap music out there). When he busted out the Arthur theme song, I almost cried. What I love about Chance is that he’s FUN. He gives you fun and beautiful verses and catchy hooks that keep you bouncing, singing along, and generally happy. There’s not a moment to waste by being bored because he’s going to have fun, so you might as well join in. He was so excited to be on the Bigfoot stage (although he ABSOLUTELY deserved to be on the Sasquatch stage) and that was a really inspiring thing to see.
So, next up I decided to try out the El Chupacabra stage/tent and it was probably one of the best decisions of the weekend. Did you know that Maya Rudolph has a Prince cover band? Because she does. She totally does. And if you didn’t think that hearing this beautiful human being singing Purple Rain in a tent was super important to your life, you were wrong. It is THE MOST IMPORTANT. I am more than excited and proud that I got the chance to see her do her thing on stage. She has a great voice and, most importantly, she was having the best time on stage. A pretty great way to ensure that I’m going to have a great time at a show is for the artist/band to have a great time first. Thanks to Maya for really putting herself out there for us, the result was incredible.
I decided, at this point, that it was worth it to sit on the Sasquatch hill and wait for a bit for my body to recover and figure itself out so I saw part of the Foals and it was pretty underwhelming. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t that invested or because I wasn’t down by the pit or the stage, but I wasn’t impressed. I was not able to hold on to the real memory of the music they played. I’ve enjoyed listening to Foals at home but when I saw them live, I kind of yawned about it…sorry to all the Foals lovers out there but it wasn’t my favorite part of the day.
Speaking of underwhelmed, I’m pretty sure Foster the People was the worst show I saw on day one. Yeah, they hit all the notes and did all the songs but I was so offended that they performed Pumped Up Kicks that the rest of their set didn’t even matter to me. They have that song, and then one other kind of style of song and I’m not really into listening to the same song for an hour and a half. The lead singer’s eyes were completely dead the entire time and I was seriously creeped out by it. Smile, dude! You’re on stage in one of the most beautiful places in Washington! GET YOURSELF TOGETHER AND HAVE A GOOD TIME! If you don’t know why Pumped Up Kicks is so offensive, I suggest looking it up because it’s kind of seriously messed up.
Guess who was the best part of the day, though! OUTKAST! These insane humans took all my expectations of a great show and stomped all over them with their talent. Sad to hear that Coachella didn’t get the greatest comeback performance because everyone who went to Sasquatch got one of the most entertaining two hours of their lives. From the second they started setting up their show to the second it ended, people were cheering and singing and dancing. If you didn’t get hit in the face with a backpack or someone’s hand during the show, you weren’t going hard enough. Sure, they weren’t always perfect but they did the absolute best they could and it was so apparent that they were having the time of their lives. They worked hard to be there and worked hard on stage. I can’t ask for anything more from a duo that gave me some of the best musical moments of my young life. Thanks Outkast, for being you.
-Jasmine Schwartz/Broken Shoe Keeper/News Director