Sasquatch 2015 - Monday: Alvvays, Courtney Barnett, Kendrick Lamar, Run The Jewels, Tame Impala, THEE Satisfaction
at The Gorge
Getting things started right on Monday afternoon were Seattle hip-hop R&B duo THEE Satisfaction. With local producer and beat maker O.C. Notes as their DJ, MC”s Stas and Cat vibed their way through a set filled with cool jams and some heavy beats. The bass in this set hit HARD. The duo even worked out some choreographed moved, and they played off of each other really well. Young rapper and fellow Sasquatch performer Porter Ray even joined the group onstage to spit a verse.
As the weather started to take a slight turn towards the ugly side, Courtney Barnett and co. took the main stage and put on a pretty powerful show. Winds and light rain started to infiltrate the festival in the middle of her set, and with roadies frantically running around stage behind her and with wind blowing all around her, Barnett ripped through her catalogue of fantastic rock songs.
at The Gorge
One of the pleasant surprises (at least for me) was the late afternoon Bigfoot stage performance from the Birmingham soul septet St Paul and the Broken Bones. Front man Paul Janeway sang with a ton of energy. He’s got a voice that seems to have an Otis Redding tone to it, with some occasional touches of Al Green. Backed by a pretty solid backing band, he worked the crowd with his pipes and energetic dance moves and spent most of his time on the catwalk at the front of the stage. Towards the end of the set they performed a couple covers of some soul classics; Sam Cooke’s “Shake” and Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”.
Following St Paul on the Bigfoot stage, Temples brought their 70’s influenced psych rock and huge, chugging guitar sound in all its glory. The quartet broke out a new song titled “Henry’s Cake”, and although it started out soft and melodic, it didn’t take long to get loud and heavy. Watching this set I couldn’t help but imagine the band walking around in the artist areas trying to meet Robert Plant.
at The Gorge
The Budos Band came ready to rock the mid-afternoon crowd on the main stage. One member of the band played the biggest saxophone I’ve ever seen. A quick Internet search tells me it’s a sax called a “contrabass saxophone”; pretty good low-end sound coming from that thing. Their sound has grown a little more rock oriented over the years, but that didn’t stop a group of young men in the crowd from throwing down a mat and break dancing to their set. I didn’t see the break dancing crew for the rest of the weekend, which is a shame because there were a lot of shows that could have used some break dancers in the crowd!
Over in the El Chupacabra tent, local beat maker Vox Mod energetically rocked a modest-sized but enthusiastic crowd. Accompanied by Ben Van Citter’s visuals which included some sci-fi movie scenes and neon graphics, Vox Mod twitched and jerked his way through the 45-minute set. He was about as energetic a man behind a computer and some electronics (his set up wasn’t visible so I’m guessing here) can be.
at The Gorge
Starting things off on the right foot Friday evening, Queens rapper Action Bronson rocked a large crowd on the Bigfoot stage as big drops of rain came down. The crowd seemed to actually gain energy once the rain started to fall. Bronson rapped over some crowd favorite beats like Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” before departing the stage eating a plate of food. It takes a lot of swagger to bring your dinner up on stage with you.
Later on the Bigfoot stage Little Dragon brought their dancey jams. The drumming was on point, and lead singer Yukimi Nagano kept everyone engaged by bouncing around the stage, occasionally banging on a drum or shaking a tambourine.
Friday’s headliner Sleater-Kinney played a shockingly under attended set on the main stage. Maybe the younger crowd wasn’t that familiar with them? Sleater-Kinney still put on a great show for those in attendance. Corin Tucker’s voice sounded great bellowing up the hillside.
(photo: Belle and Sebastian photo by Søren Solkær)
Michael Hadreas’ solo project Perfume Genius took the stage as people were still filling up the always lovely Paramount Theater and alongside 3 backing musicians they wasted no time doing what they do best. The bass and drums reverberated loudly throughout the theater as Hadreas’ booming vocals grabbed everyone’s attention. For most of the set Hadreas sashayed around stage, swaying and seductively playing with the audience members who were smart enough to show up early for his set. The set finished with two of his more bombastic songs; the slow jam “Fools” in which Hadreas let out some truly chill-inducing howls, and his most recognizable song to date, “Queen”.
It had been 5 years since Belle & Sebastian last graced a stage in Seattle; back in 2010 they were touring behind that year’s release Belle and Sebastian Write About Love. Earlier this year they released their 9th studio album, the dancey and even occasionally funky Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. Most of their new material was accompanied by video projected on a giant screen behind them, from early 20th century black & white photos to video of early 90’s video games. For “The Party Line”, it was dancing silhouettes in front of colorful backdrops, looking strikingly similar to a mid-2000’s iPod commercial.