So, I realize this blog is a little past due, but I decided to post it anyways. I've been waiting for my friend Emily to send me the Bon Iver video she took at the festival, but I still don't have it, so hopefully my pictures will do. I did the best I could with my good old digital camera, whilst jockeying with thousands of people for a good spot to catch each show.
Here is a little glimpse into my experience at Sasquatch! Music Festival 2009:
Saturday, May 23
I started off the day catching Blind Pilot's set, which was lovely. I had never seen them before and I was really impressed. I also really liked that their sound check was each of the vocalists' singing the chorus of Starfucker's "German Love." After Blind Pilot's set i stuck around to watch the newly popular Passion Pit. I really liked Passion Pit's Chunk of Change EP and I was curious as to what their live show would be like. Well, let's just say that Passion Pit doesn't really translate well live, at least not in a festival atmosphere. I wasn't particularly digging them, so I headed to the main stage for M. Ward.
I've never seen M. Ward perform before and am a new fan (I'd never listened to M. Ward before his latest album) of his. I enjoyed his performance perched on the hill overlooking the Gorge, so I was pretty far away, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. He played "Rave On" my favorite song from Hold Time and I couldn't imagine a better first show experience.
After M. Ward was King Khan and the Shrines, whom I've seen a couple times before and always loved. King Khan was dressed ridiculously, as usual, and their set was as energetic and fun as they always are. I will say that during their song "I Wanna Be a Girl" that one of the band members may have dropped his pants and danced around the stage. Yes, I have pictures of this happening. No, I will not post them.
I caught a bit of DeVotchka and then prepared myself for Animal Collective. I was really excited for Animal Collective, but pretty tired after six hours in the blazing sun. I decided to stay at our spot up on the hill, which I think may have ruined their show for me. They played all the jams off of Merriweather Post Pavillion, which was a treat, but I wish I would have seen them more up close.
I wasn't particularly interested in seeing The Decemberists, in fact, I had told myself I wasn't going to watch them. Well, somehow I ended up staying to on the hill for their set and it was AMAZING. I don't remember every song they played, but I know the majority of songs they played were from Hazards of Love. My Brightest Diamond was there to sing with them and it was soooo goooood.
After The Decemberists me and a few friends headed over to see Mos Def because he's pretty great, but more importantly to find a good spot for Bon Iver who was coming up next. I think Mos Def's crowd was the best of the entire festival. People were dancing and people weren't being jerks and pushing you. We danced around a bit and somehow found our way right in front of the stage for Bon Iver.
Bon Iver was, hands-down, the absolute best performance of the entire festival. It was a beautiful and perfect performance. He played a lot from For Emma, Forever Ago as well as "Blood Bank" and a cover of Kathleen Edward's "Mercury." I'm not going to lie, I kind of had to hold in tears when he played that cover. Whatever you do, do NOT miss him at the Twilight Concert Series.
Sunday, May 24
I started the second day of the festival by watching Viva Voce, a band that I'd never listened to until we got a promo of their newest release Rose City at Slowtrain. I'm not sure why I didn't take any pictures of this show- maybe it was too early or I was enjoying myself too much? Regardless, I really enjoyed their performance.
Next up were The Walkmen. This was another show I watched from the hill. I'm pretty easy to impress- they played a few of my favorite songs and I was totally pleased by their set.
Towards the end of The Walkmen, I walked over to see St. Vincent. I had listened to the promo for Actor once and liked it enough that I knew I had to see her live. Let me just say that she and Grizzly Bear tied for the 2nd best performance of the festival. She has an amazingly beautiful voice and I love the way it contrasts with the heavy guitar on her newer material. She tried to incorporate the crowd into one of her songs (I forget which one) and we kept messing it up, but she would laugh it off and start over. I didn't expect to love her performance as much as I did. Apparently, Kyp Malone, from TV On The Radio loves her too- I spied him watching from the VIP area off-stage. If you haven't heard her new album, come to Slowtrain and buy it immediately! Seriously.
After her set, I stuck around to catch some of The Wrens, but I'd never really listened to them before and only watched them because my friend Luke told me they were his favorite band. I don't particularly love their music, but during the 15 minutes I watched them play there was some guitar throwing and some serious rocking-out.
I walked back to the main stage to get ready for TV On The Radio and caught wind of the series of curse words coming from The Murder City Devils. I had no idea what this dude was talking about, but man he was cursing up a storm and kind of annoying me. I walked to our spot on the hill and proceeded to watch them with a look of confusion and amusement. I'd never heard a single song from The Murder City Devils and I kind of liked their music, but I wasn't sure how I felt about their clearly intoxicated lead-singer. He was rolling all over the stage and jumping into the crowd. He was being ridiculous and I kind of loved it. At the end of their set, he walked to the back of the stage, picked up some random dude, carried him like a baby a few feet, dropped him and fell on top of him, picked him back up and carried him to the front of the stage and tried to kiss him. By this point, I couldn't stop laughing.
After the MCD's shenanigans, I walked down to the ground level to watch TV On The Radio. Again, this was my first time seeing this band and I looooooved them live. I officially have huge celebrity crushes on Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe.
After TVOTR, I walked over to see M83 whom I have been loving since last fall. I wasn't sure they would be too great live, but boy, did they prove me wrong. I had a pretty good spot for their set, but halfway through it I found myself surrounded by 15 year old jerks who were annoying beyond words. I watched the latter half of their set from pretty far away, but loved it nonetheless.
After M83 was Of Montreal and I probably shouldn't be admitting this, but I sat down during most of their set. I was soooo tired and it was soooo crowded, so I watched their crazy stage show from afar.
Monday, May 25
The day started off with Other Lives- a really wonderful band from Oklahoma. I'd listened to their album quite a bit at Slowtrain and really loved their haunting sound. Also, any band with an upright bass will always get a thumbs-up from me.
Next up was Grizzly Bear, whom I've slowly developed a gigantic crush on over the past few months. I made sure to get a good spot for their show and I took a ridiculous amount of pictures. Everyone of them has an amazing and unique voice and their drummer is a bonafide pro. Yes, I said bonafide and I'm not even sure what it means, but I'm willing to look stupid in hopes of making you realize how amazing their drummer is. I'm pretty sure all I did for the hour following Grizzly Bear's set was talk about how good their set was.
The next few shows I watched were all at the main stage and were SUPER crowded. I wasn't about to try and be close to the stage for Santigold, so I watched her from the comfort of my blanket on the hill. She put on a fantastic show and I loved watching her and her back-up dancers. I also loved all the drunk festival-goers dancing way harder than was probably healthy considering the heat.
I sat in the shade and ate ice cream during Gogol Bordello's set. I'm pretty sure I was half-asleep during Fleet Foxes set. I tried to take some pictures, but I was so far away that they all came out really horribly. I ate some chicken strips while I watched some of Beach House. I grooved to a bit of Erykah Badu's set. Finally, the entire weekend ended with Explosions in the Sky. I was determined to get at least one good picture, but their lighting made it nearly impossible. A couple of my attempts are below.
Overall, a really amazing festival. I saw lots of bands I'd never seen and maybe won't get the chance to see in the future (considering most of their summer tours don't involve Utah), but I'm not sure I'll be going back next year. If I do a music festival again it will be one in a city where I don't have to camp next to a group of 15 year olds trying to be cool or a group of 40 year olds that listen to DMX all day. Just saying...