SASQUATCH 2012

As featured on VancityBuzz

I got into the campsite late Thursday, set up and met the neighbours. I checked out the Red Bull dance area as well as another DJ from Vancouver that was spinning all night long under a 10X10 tent with some Christmas lights. Needless to say after a long drive, and border delays, bevies were in order.Friday started out a bit later than planned; getting wristbands and getting over to the venue proved longer than expected. I hit the main stage first (not to be confused with the MAINE! Stage) to check out Santigold. I guess I got there early because Allen Stone was still up there doing his aussie surf-dude thing in a red sweater. Eventually Santigold came on and rocked the main stage on with a team of dancers decked out in neon and gold streamers. Fans were invited up on stage to kick it with her for the last couple songs ‘girl-talk’ style.Girl Talk performed shortly after Santigold on the main stage, but not before his friend, local rapper, Macklemore warmed up the stage for him. Macklemore performed from one of the video towers in the crowd, just he and a drumkit. I didn’t even realize where he was until days later. Girl talk got the crowd jumping with his signature 10 second samples mashed up into danceable delight. Before long toilet paper was flying through the air and there were fans on stage dancing right in the midst of the musical mayhem.Beats Antique put on a spectacular performance in the Banana Tent with dancing, drums, and everything else that makes a good time.Pretty Lights wrapped up the night with an almost 2 hour long electronic dance music performance on the main stage. The floor was packed and everyone was getting down and dirty to the grungiest dubstep set I have heard. He even threw in his remix of Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” to please the non-dubheads. Needless to say everybody loved it when he performed his 2006 hit “Finally Moving” that samples Etta James’ “I Get a Good Feeling” that has since been sampled time and time again. As the bass dropped over and over the crowd would leap into the air and toss hundreds of glow sticks into the sky in a magical synchronicity with the beat of the music. Saturday got going a bit earlier than Friday, and was the first full day of the festival. Blitzen Trapper started the day off at the main stage with their alt.-rock country crowd pleasers.

Alabama Shakes was next up on the Bigfoot Stage. This band is making quite the name for itself, as it is currently on tour opening for sold out Jack White shows across the United States. They bring to the stage a soulful southern rock unlike anything I have ever heard before. It was poor planning that positioned them at the smaller Bigfoot Stage when they definitely deserved a main stage appearance, but all the same, the killed it.Following Seattle rapper, Grynch’s show on the MAINE! Stage, his buddy Sol, who is blowing up in the world of west coast hip-hop played what might be the most intimate show he will ever play again as he sails into stardom. From the closing of Grynch’s set, fans were packed tight to the non-barricaded stage in anticipation. When Sol came out everybody went nuts and before long nobody in the front row was farther than arm’s reach of this lyrical genius. Sol brought out Grynch to perform their song “All I Wanna Do” before extra security had to be called in to calm down the crowd.

Childish Gambino brought his heavy hitting, smart hip-hop to the main stage and a jam-packed dance pit. Before his 45 minute set about penis jokes and “what chicks is fly” had ended he had stripped down and paraded across the stage in a shirtless strut that would be so out of place if it was done by his character on the TV show Community.

Metric kept the high-energy crowd from the Gambino show well fed with an extra strength dose of Emily Haines’ electronic indie rock.Coeur de Pirate played at some point in the day too.The Purity Ring show in the Banana Hammoc went absolutely tribal. They make some really cool experimental electronic music, with drums and lots of smoke. The experimental indie rockers Tune-Yards were next to perform on the Bigfoot stage. Their brass-heavy set featured hits from their most recent album, WHOKILL, including Bizness and Gangsta.

Later in the evening, Jack White treated the main stage crowd to his latest self-titled musical project while Wolfgang Gartner was spinning up a storm of electronic dance music in the Banana Dance Tent.The Roots rounded out the night to a packed Bigfoot stage. Starting a bit behind schedule the eager crowd was instantly ecstatic when they opened with “Paul Revere” as a tribute to the late Beastie Boy, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch.Sunday was a party day for me. The number of photos is pretty much inversely proportional to how hard I was partying.Chiddy Bang was the first big act of Sunday on the SASQUATCH! Stage. Chidera “Chiddy” Anamege and his DJ, Noah “Xaphoon Jones” Beresin, blended quick rhymes with favorite pop samples to keep the crowd happy.

Deer Tick suited up for their set on the Bigfoot stage. The alternative indie rockers jammed out for just under an hour with their jingly guitar riffs and simple lyrics.

Big names M.Ward, The Head & The Heart, and Beirut all warmed up the quiet Sunday crowd for an even quieter performance by recent Grammy winners, Bon Iver. Bon Iver closed out the night with a stunning light show and lullabies so sweet, it was difficult to pull yourself off the grass amphitheatre at the end of the evening. The last day of Sasquatch started out slowly with a heart warming performance by breakout British musician Ben Howard at the Bigfoot stage. After 20 minutes of sound checking and technical difficulties, Ben and his guitar finally came to life to the relief of the anxious crowd. His beautiful guitar work and sweet vocals was a dream come true for the 80% female audience.

Gary Clark Jr. might be the next Jimi Hendrix. He serenaded the SASQUATCH! Stage with guitar licks and rugged vocals so well that he might have had the legend rolling over in his grave.I caught a bit of Don’t Talk to the Cops’ set at the MAINE! Stage, which included some heavy hitting hip-hop and a breakdance team.Cloud Cult’s 6-piece band and exclusive speed painter performed mid day at the Bigfoot Stage. Following their performances they auction the paintings and donate the profits to their environmental nonprofit Earthology Institute.

Recent breakout pop rock group Fun. played the Bigfoot Stage shortly after to a crowd that was as big if not bigger than long time rap group, the Roots’, Saturday performance. The Queen sound-alikes put together a high-energy show that was about as fun as it gets. Inflatable animals were tossed over the jam packed crowd while we sang songs that just make you feel good.

Canadian indie rock mama Feist threw down on the main stage as the last sun of the festival began to set. She rocked the house in a stylish dress with a neon pink taped acoustic guitar and three soulful dancing backup singers that go by the name of Mountain Man.Goof-rockers, Tenacious D, played an entertaining set on the main stage as the crowds assembled for the last performance of the festival: either electronic dance music mastermind Nero at the Banana Tent or 90s pop rock sensation Beck. Beck started of with some classic hits that had the crowd on their feet singing along and soaking up every last ounce of goodness that Sasquatch had to offer. His set mellowed out before being joined for a rowdy encore with Tenacious D.

More photos here.

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