Sasquatch 2009

Karen O getting freaky with her bad self.

At a certain point in the early morning ruckus the realization dawns upon you—much like the soft glow smeared across the eastern horizon heralded by countless drunken revelers—that you might be a little old for this sort of thing (which, at 24, is saying a lot). Perhaps owing something to the R.V. wedged beneath the agricultural sprinkler not 20 feet from your tent, the screeching metal grind of its air conditioner unit being crunched while pipes sag and water gushes freely to the ground while your neighbors cheer. Dionysus is alive and well at the Gorge. (Lucky for the unfortunate R.V. driver, the farmers whose sprinkler was damaged were able to extract him the next day, and what a show that was!)

The Sasquatch! Music Festival is like any other modern commercialized music festival spanning several days: its chemically-charged attendees bake under a merciless sun to share their common love of live music and sleeping on the ground, a multitude of Honey Buckets the closest thing resembling a bathroom for the duration. If you like greasy, over-priced festival food, it’s the closest to heaven an atheist can get.

This year’s festivities consisted of a healthy Canadian population (whose numerous flags could be seen waving proudly from the campground), who perhaps even outnumbered American attendees. Signs of the economic times, I suppose. Nobody, regardless of nationality, escaped from the scorching hot sun, which—unusual for the typically unpredictable Gorge—shined without interruption for the entirety.

Early on it became clear just how three-day ticket holders make it through, subsisting on diets high on stimulant intake (energy drinks, nicotine) and plenty of booze to ease sunburns and general malaise brought on by the oppressive heat.

New to the festival this year were the all-inclusive luxury boxes adjacent to each of the three stages, humbly called “V.I.P. Zones,” with access granted only to V.I.P. ticket holders. Funny (though not `ha ha’ funny) how even after so much attention is paid to the corporate fleecing of America and the world that we plebes seem comfortable with so blatant a statement. Yet another lovely reminder of what separates the A.I.G.s from the yous and mes. A big fat `$.’


The Decemberists: Ever the elegant showmen/women, Colin Meloy’s band of rakes and roustabouts debuted their new opus, The Hazards Of Love, in its entirety, to a rapt audience. My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden was on hand to lend a guitar and one mean set of operatic vocals.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It’s hard not to appreciate Karen O’s earnestness. With Debbie Harry’s chic grace and the raw, unrelenting growl that owes no small part of its inspiration to Siouxsie Sioux, Karen O is rock star from glittering eye shadow down to her fishnet toes. Nick Zinner’s guitar work was an ever illuminating revelation.

Black Moth Super Rainbow: Nobody does weird good like BMSR. With a truly bizarre visual accompaniment to their psilocybin-saturated synth set-up, no elevated mind can resist the soothing transcendence offered by their strange vibes. Like Boards Of Canada but with live beats.

Monotonix: Three hairy (barely dressed) Israeli immigrants who play IN the crowd and perform mildly death defying acts, like standing on bass drums and being hoisted above the audience. What’s not to like? Well, maybe the sludgy, uninspired music, but then that really isn’t the point.

School Of Seven Bells: This pair of sisters and their guitarist friend recall a spacier M83. Walls of synth and guitar drifting high like passing clouds offered brief respite from the blazing sun.

For more of Jackie Canchola’s photos, click here

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