Sasquatch 2012 Day 4 Highlights
GARY CLARK JR.
Hailed as the next great blues guitarist, I was equally excited to see Gary Clark Jr. for this title as I was for his music (of which I haven’t listened to that extensively). But it was clear others in the audience had as they chanted “Gary! Gary! Gary!” both before his set and in between most songs. Both his songs and frequent guitar solos impressed, although it was clear he needs some more material to fill up such a time slot – don't get me wrong, guitar solos are great, but they shouldn’t be relied on to reach a time limit.
CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH!
It’s been a long time coming for me to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! I’ve been a devoted fan since their emergence into the indie rock scene back in 2005, yet I somehow never managed to catch them live until now. As the first band I was super excited to catch Monday, I had all my energy ready to dance and sing along (to the lyrics I can understand, anyway). The majority of the crowd may not have been as in to it as I was but that didn’t stop me from getting the 7 years of anticipation out of my system. They played all the hits, including “Is This Love?” as an encore we were all crossing our fingers for but not necessarily expecting; icing on the cake.
Despite the enormity of the Sasquatch Stage, the packed pit in front of her, and the immense Gorge behind her, Feist was never dwarfed or lost on stage, but instead managed to truly keep the crowd captivated. All eyes were on her from the moment she opened with "When I was a Young Girl" through to the end of "Sealion." Her banter with the crowd and band members on stage (including the girls from Mountain Men as backup singers) fueled the ease of which her set flowed and added to the general relaxed (or perhaps exhausted) ambience of Monday afternoon. From engaging those on the top of the hill asking if they were part of her audience too (then, after many screams and cheers, admitting that made her even more nervous) to sharing how she swam in the river below the Gorge, she made the crowd love her even though her music alone would've done the trick.
After a cancelled Mogwai set, which put such a damper on my day I don't think I was able to quite enjoy anything afterwards to its deserved potential, Spiritualized was bumped to the headlining spot of the Bigfoot Stage. I was ready to hate them for no other reason than the fact they weren't Mogwai, but the group stole my heart. Jason Pierce's stoicism (I don't think he looked at the audience once, let alone spoke to them) and the other static, banter-less band members contrasted with the sultry sways of the two backup singers and the religiously-themed lyrics, both which perfectly embodied the group's gospel and soul influences. "Hey Jane" off their latest release "Sweet Heart Sweet Light" kicked off the set to the delight of fans and managed to keep even those confused ("But wait, this isn't Mogwai" exclaimed a neighboring fan) to stick around and hear them out. The rest of the set stayed true to their minimalist yet symphonic core, utilizing trance-rock elements such as feedback and drones to transcend the gorge, bringing the audience with them.
It pains me to write anything but a glowing review of Beck, but his Monday night headlining performance unfortunately fell short of expectations. It's understandable Beck was feeling the pressure of closing out one of the summer's biggest festivals, any artist would, but unfortunately it didn't seem as though he was able to overcome the anxiety. After being spoiled by three nights of lively closing acts, the crowd was obviously eager for some danceable tracks, which Beck, more comfortable with his acoustic guitar in had, wasn't willing or able to provide. Even the more upbeat songs seemed to only force dance parties rather than warrant them, to which the flow of people trickling out of the pit to start their journeys home was a testiment. I held out though and was glad I did as the boys from Tenacious D, Sasquatch himself, and an adorably uncoordinated blonde boy joined Beck on stage for "Mutherfucker" and "El-Pro" to close out the night. Beck's set would have been much better received not in the 4th day headlining slot - it only left me wanting something else to end the weekend and pining for another opportunity to see Beck redeem himself - hopefully he will later this month at NYC's Governors Ball.
I expected to be begging for my own bed and clean clothes by the fourth day of Sasquatch, but I was more depressed than eager to get home as the cars began to pull out of the camp grounds Monday night to beat the Tuesday traffic. I may have been tired and dirty but I'm convinced I would have lasted another few days of music and camping. Truthfully, even though a week has passed, I'm still willing to trade my shower and sheets for another round at the Gorge. I guess I'll just have to let our photo gallery console me until next year.