Sasquatch 2012 Day 1 Highlights

posted by Laura Baker-Finch on June 01, 2012

After a two and a half hour drive from Seattle, a stop for groceries that ended with cartons of beer strapped to our roof, and some MacGyver-ing of our tent (not to mention all the steps that got me to the North West in the first place), I finally made it into the Sasquatch festival grounds for the very first time. The view, the music, the people - everything surpassed expectations as I walked up the hill to the main Sasquatch Stage overlooking the Gorge. And as if seeing this view for the first time wouldn't have been magical enough on its own, I did it for the first time with Iceland's Of Monsters and Men as my live soundtrack.


The six-piece (plus an extra touring member) group has been hailed the new Arcade Fire recently, a title they certainly proved they deserved during their hour-long Friday set. The crowd jumped, danced, and sang along as the band, while less outwardly energetic, dedicated a song to random audience members, held up a crowd surfer's discarded sneaker, and frequently let sweet but coy smiles slip between lyrics to make clear they were having just as much fun. From the opening song "King and Lionheart" (during which the crowd never failed to miss a 'hey!') through the end of their set with "Six Weeks," I had a smile on my face and chills up my spine. A perfect way to kick off the festival.


Santigold's set got the crowd dancing and singing along with songs from her latest album, "Masters of Make-Believe," as well as her 2008 debut album "Santigold." Though the entire set was perfectly structured - from the brightly colored costumes to the impeccable dancers - Santigold's demeanor and the audience's enthusiasm was anything but orderly. Santigold's contagious smile and impromptu dance party with crowd members fueled the audience who returned her excitement with matched enjoyment.


I continued my Santigold dance party over at the Banana Shack (which was a tent, not a shack, and sadly did not resemble a banana) for Portland-based STRFKR. The tent overflowed with both fans and those who simply gravitated towards the danceable indie electro-pop and catchy lyrics exuding from the 'shack.' To my surprise, STRFKR wasn't one guy with a laptop mixing samples but consisted of four members with live drums, guitars, vocals, keys, and synths - which made the ensuing dance party that much more impressive. As the set came to an end with "Boy Toy" off their newest album "Starfucker Jupiter," all I could think of was when I would get the chance to see them again, and I know I wasn't alone. Luckily, Sasquatchers didn't have to wait long as the band hit the Bigfoot Stage Saturday afternoon to fill in for a cancelled I Break Horses set.


I've been a huge fan of Explosions In The Sky for many years and even though many argue their lyric-less, long songs and lack of band-audience interaction aren't cut out for festivals, the Austin-based group is always on my must-see list, regardless of the venue. The quintet brought an unparalleled energy into their set - but not in the same way their preceding acts did that day. Rather than pumping up the crowd with hype-man style antics, their energy translated into enjoying their music so much that they seemingly forgot the audience was there entirely. The roaring guitars, rock-inspired symphonies, and creative distortion closed out the first night on the Bigfoot Stage and again stirred my emotions like I so often expect only lyrics to do.


Beats Antique wasn't on my list of bands to check out at Sasquatch, but I'm so glad I did. As I left the Bigfoot Stage to head back to the main Sasquatch Stage, I was drawn to the Banana Shack for the end of Beats Antique's energetic set. They drew a large crowd of ravers and hippies a like, entertaining fans not only with their eclectic eastern-inspred electronic tunes but with a belly dancer, animal costumes, and a light show as well.


The first day of Sasquatch came to an end with Pretty Lights on the main Sasquatch Stage and every festivalgoer in attendance either on the hill or in the pit. A crazy dance party ensued complete with sing-a-longs to the DJ's samples and right vs. left glow stick wars (a trend that continued throughout the weekend as a never-ending supply of glow sticks assured each night rained neon). Despite Day One's shortened schedule, the rest of the weekend had a lot to live up to.