Day one of Sasquatch Music Festival started off with a really strong note as we just made it onto the concert grounds just as Laura Marling on the Big Foot stage was going into the middle of her set and we were making our way to the neighboring Yeti stage for Fool’s Gold.
It was a pretty proud moment to walk in to the incredibly scenic grounds and see a packed crowd for the Los Angeles-based band. It was also pleasant to go from Laura Marling’s folk music to Fool Gold’s world-music sound. Hippies were in full force as girls were riding shoulders and waving the peace sign back and forth.
Songs such as “Surprise Hotel” and “Nadine” seemed to get every one into a groove and the energy in the crowd didn’t die down until the very last song – making it a very successful opening set for the day at the Yeti stage. However with it only being the beginning of the day, we had at least ten more bands to see. Next up was Mumford & Sons.
Mumford & Sons was just next door at the Big Foot stage and it became a surreal experience as their vocal harmonies and banjo strumming produced a reaction from the crowd we weren’t not expecting. As fantastic as their album Sigh No More is, ballads aren’t really something we see pump the audience up so much. However, it was a different experience with Sasquatch. People were dancing, singing out loud and really enjoying the show. We wish every indie folk band got this response, because bands like Mumford & Sons completely deserve it.
Minus The Bear was just in Los Angeles, but seeing them play the massive xbox 360 main stage was a trip. With vertical jumbo screens on each side with an insanely beautiful view of mountains, water and sky, the band was really taking advantage of everyone’s happy moods. With a sea of an audience (which is really organized for such a massive event) and only getting started, Minus The Bear pulled off a nice and solid set.
After grabbing some food, we stopped by the Big Foot stage to check out some Portugal. The Man. It never hurts to support your local artists and since we had already done that for our Los Angeles bands for the day, we decided to support Portland’s local music. At first the sound was a bit limited to the typical indie rock sound but as their set went on, they expanded into a nice neo-psychedelia and experimental sound which worked well. Thumbs up to Portland, Oregon for Portugal. The Man.
After walking down the hill, we caught Australia’s The Middle East putting on a gorgeous show with their silky vocals and and post-rock infused with some folk. For a band who play some down-tempo music, their ability to subdue a drunk-crazed crowd was almost magical. The Yeti stage is a bit more intimate than the other two stages but it suited The Middle East for velvety songs such as “The Darkest Side.”
Right after that, we didn’t waste anytime to go back up the hill and catch the beloved Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. With a lead singer who contains so much charisma in his signature white tunic and red scarf, the crowd went berserk for the entire band on stage. Every note Alex Ebert and his band sang seemed to pour right into the crowd who just spouted it out right back to the stage with glee. There’s been a lot of hype over this Los Angeles-based band and every time we see them, the justification still stays in place.
Taking a quick break from the two smaller stages, we headed over to main stage for the much anticipated Broken Social Scene set. The pit area was already packed and they weren’t accepting any more people in there, but we managed to go through a loop hole by entering the pit on the other side. The risk was completely worth it as BSS gave us one of most cohesive sets of the day yet. With Kevin Drew thanking Sasquatch for having them for their last show of their tour, the set was definitely one to remember. There were no guest appearance by Amy Milan, Emily Haines or Feist but Lisa Lobsinger has obviously become a somewhat permanent female vocal for the band.
As much as we wanted to stay for the entire Broken Social Scene set, we’re weren’t going to be missing out on one of the most popular electronic trios of last year. So, off we headed back to the Big Foot stage to catch Miike Snow. Dressed entirely in all black, Andrew Wyatt and his band started a slick show with songs such as “Plastic Jungle” and “Silvia.” It became one of the best dancing crowds of the day as well. When the camera would pan over the audience, the only vision were bodies jumping up and down with hands in the air. At one point, there was a person in a full gorilla costume surfing on top of the crowd. Things like that seem bizarre out of context but when you’re at a huge festival like this, nothing is out of the ordinary no matter how strange it may be.
Just as Miike Snow started to play their most popular hit, “Animal,” we had to high tail it back to the main stage again for The National. Our time at The National’s set was a completely unbelievable experience. We would say it’s safe to say that The National gave us one of our top 10 performances ever – if not just already the best performance of the festival. Matt Berninger is always epic with his intense stares in his gentleman outfits of suit vests and ties, but to see him perform in front of the water with the sun setting in the background was amazing. For those further away from the stage, we can bet even seeing The National show on the jumbo screens was an epic experience.
Their new songs such as “Afraid of Everyone” and “Bloodbuzz Ohio” sounded phenomenal live and it broke into chaos when Berninger jumped down from the stage and into the crowd. This was the first time we had seen this happen at the festival but for it to happen with The National, it was making it a moment to remember for years. Watching the camera men try and follow him into the crowd was also another amusing event as they eventually gave up and started filming a crowd surfer who fell and produced an “Ohhhhh” from the crowd.
Toward the end of The National set, everyone was lining up to get into the pit for Vampire Weekend. We understand that the hype surrounding the band from Columbia University is still relevant with the release of their latest album, Contra, however we just couldn’t imagine anyone being able to follow The National after that set! It was pure ludicrous. It looked like Vampire Weekend had some cool lighting going on during their set but we were off to see The Hold Steady.
The Hold Steady is one of those bands who have been around for a long time but they’ve put out decent albums one after another and their post-punk rock really translated well at the Big Foot stage. With a much smaller crowd and the sun going down, it was getting pretty chilly but loyal Hold Steady fans were still moving around keeping the body warmth in tact. Lead vocalist, Craig Finn, and lead guitarist, Tad Kubler, had an infectious bond on stage as they humorously high fived each other every once in a while.
Nada Surf also went down the same way. Although many people were still finishing out the Vampire Weekend set, they all eventually came over to the Big Foot stage because they either loved the new tunes or were digging them out of nostalgia. We here at BeatCrave remember them as one of the 90s bands we loved while we were in middle school, but with this evening’s performance it was obvious that they still sound great. We were glad we were there for them instead of Vampire Weekend. (We’re sure that set was fun but a schedule jam packed with The National/The Hold Steady/Nada Surf was too good to pass up!)
Finally, to finish our first night at Sasquatch out, we headed over to the main stage one last time. Sitting on the lawn was a must for this set since we knew My Morning Jacket fans were going to go crazy and we were right. It was quite the sight to see from up above. The dark clouds were looming and all of a sudden we saw fog attack the crowd and dramatic flashes of light hit the stage. With an almost demon-like (but rocking) intro, it was pretty epic as we couldn’t see anything on stage but saw creepy images of a horse’s eye on the jumbo screen. My Morning Jacket is known for stretching songs out into ridiculously great jams, and that’s what they did this night. With an atmosphere like The Gorge and a rad intro like that, shredding on the guitar was only expected to follow. My Morning Jacket may be up there with Broken Social Scene and The National for best sets of the day, but it was also largely due the grandiosity of everything they did on stage – everything from the lights, the fog, the guitar riffs, the energy on stage. It was a great way to end the first night up in Washington.
Check back for our second day at Sasquatch Music Festival 2010! We’ll also have full photo galleries up with all the acts for you soon!
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