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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sasquatch Review: Day Three

If you missed my reviews of day one and day two, you can see them here and here.

We kicked off Sunday by checking out the Seattle indie folk/pop band Hey Marseilles. Hey Marseilles is probably my favorite band that I discovered prior to the festival by listening to performing artists I was unfamiliar with. Their album "To Travels & Trunks" from 2008 has some insanely catchy songs. If you're unfamiliar with the band, I recommend checking out "Rio" (below) and "Cannonballs."

After Hey Marseilles, we stuck around and saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. on the main stage. Then, I had one of the tougher decisions of the weekend with Hospitality and Trampled by Turtles performing at the same time. Since Hospitality has released one of my favorite albums so far this year, I headed over to another stage to catch the first 2/3's or so of their set. They put on a fun show that I was glad I was able to catch. I made sure to head back to the main stage to see at least a bit of Trampled by Turtles, and I was pleased to be reminded of home by the Minnesota bluegrass band.

The crowd and band both seemed to be loving the music and atmosphere. The band really seemed to be able to command the large crowd of the main stage better than almost any other early afternoon band all weekend. After Trampled By Turtles, Blind Pilot slowed things down on the main stage. Their album was a pleasant surprise to me last year, and while the energy was lower than that of Trampled by Turtles, the songs were great. Next, we headed over to another stage to see The War On Drugs on a side stage before returning to the main stage for the rest of the night. I didn't know any music by The War On Drugs, but I really enjoyed their set, and I plan on checking out more of their music now.

Anyone who has read this blog for a while or knows me well probably knows that M. Ward is my favorite artist (and it's not all that close). So I'm probably not coming at this in the most unbiased manner, but I thought M. Ward killed it in his set. It was the first set on the main stage that we decided to actually get close to the stage rather than remaining on the hill. As M. Ward tends to do at shows, the talking between songs was minimal and instead his set was just packed full of songs. Considering the shorter set times at a festival, I love this approach, and he was able to pack a ton of songs into his allotted time. He also seemed to cater to the festival atmosphere by focusing on more of his upbeat tunes and on those that allowed him to really rock out on guitar (which he is fantastic at doing). Another thing I love about M. Ward is how much he shows his appreciation for other artists, and during his set I counted 5 covers (including John Fahey's "Bean Vine Blues No. 2," Daniel Johnston's "To Go Home," and Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven"). This was my third time seeing M. Ward live (fourth if you count with Monsters of Folk), and each time he has really delivered.

After M. Ward, we stayed down by the stage for Seattle indie folk band The Head and the Heart. I really enjoyed their debut album, which was re-released on Sub Pop last year, so I was looking forward to seeing them. However, I had no idea how lucky I'd be to see them at Sasquatch as opposed to another venue. There was such an incredible mutual love and appreciation going back and forth between the band and the crowd the whole set. It was obvious that the band loved being able to play before such a huge and affectionate audience in their home state. They played a great set made all the better by enjoying it in that specific environment. Violinist / sometimes vocalist Charity Rose Thielen was actually moved to tears saying thank you for everyone's support at the end of the set.

After the excitement of M. Ward and The Head and the Heart sets was Beirut. I think Beirut could put on a really fun show, but unfortunately it just seemed like the wrong time and wrong place for me. Between being a bit tired and people talking over the sound of the music, the set just didn't work for me. However, it wouldn't deter me from going to see Beirut another time. One of the people behind me was actually saying that Beirut played one of his favorite shows ever at real small and intimate venue but that he wasn't too into the set going on at the time.

However, after Beirut's set was one of my most anticipated sets of the weekend, Bon Iver's. Extremely long time readers of the blog may remember that my very first post was inspired by Bon Iver. While the setting didn't seem to work to Beirut's advantage, it was perfect for Bon Iver. The sun had gone down, creating a perfect darkness to accentuate the lights on stage and draw all focus there. Where people had talked over Beirut, Bon Iver played louder and people talked less. I know there is a lot of backlash to Bon Iver's music and Justin Vernon's quick rise in popularity, but I love the way he has chosen to handle his new found fame and how humble he seems to remain about all of it. Justin Vernon many times mentioned how humbling it was to be playing in such a gorgeous place in front of such a large crowd. In terms of the actual music, I'm not a good enough writer to really do it justice, but if you think you might want to see Bon Iver perform live, all I can do is urge you to act on that. I had sky-high expectations for seeing Bon Iver, and every single one of them was met. It was an absolutely wonderful way to cap off the third night of the festival.


Artists I saw: Hey Marseilles, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Hospitality, Trampled By Turtles, Blind Pilot, The War On Drugs, M. Ward, The Head & The Heart, Beirut, and Bon Iver

Favorite sets: M. Ward and Bon Iver

Below is "I Get Ideas", one of my favorite tracks from M. Ward's new album. It's a cover song that has been done by many people, but I was most familiar with Louis Armstrong's version. If you haven't heard the full album yet, it looks like you can stream the whole thing here.

Bon Iver released my second favorite album last year, and in that post, I included the beautiful video for "Holocene," which features a little boy walking through picturesque Iceland. Since I already posted that one, here's the track "Towers," which follows someone on the opposite end of the life spectrum doing... I have no idea.

I'll be back in a day or two with the final Sasquatch post from the weekend.

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