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May 21st, 2014 MATTHEW SINGER | Music Stories
 

Wrangling Sasquatch

Who to see—and who to avoid—at this year’s Sasquatch music festival.

music_bigfoot_4029IMAGE: WW Staff
Let’s face it: If you’re driving four hours to middle-of-nowhere Washington for Sasquatch this weekend, it’s probably to see Outkast. But there’s a lot of other stuff happening before and after “Hey Ya!” fades into the night. Here’s a day-by-day primer.

FRIDAY

BEST REASON TO GET UP EARLY: The Stepkids

Mind-warping soul that makes a convincing argument for taking those mysterious pills, which you got from that weird dude at the gas station, hours earlier than planned.


BEST REASON TO EXPLORE THE SMALLER STAGES: Gifted Gab

Not to be confused with indie-rap motor mouth Gift of Gab, though after hearing Gifted Gab’s rugged, blunted flows, you’re more likely to wonder how long the Lady of Rage has been hiding out in Seattle.


BEST REASON TO AVOID THE MAIN STAGE: Cage the Elephant

No, they’re not the band that does “Pumped Up Kicks” or the one with the irritating period in its name. They’re…wait, who are they again? 


BEST REASON TO STAY OUT LATE: Die Antwoord

Like a Lars von Trier movie or your mom’s final project for that sculpting class, some monstrosities you just have to witness for yourself. You’ve already seen Outkast, so what do you have to lose (except for sleep as that one dude’s face haunts your dreams)?


SATURDAY

BEST REASON TO GET UP EARLY: Hobosexual

And you thought Diarrhea Planet was the worst name ever. At least in this case the handle gives you some idea of what you’re getting into: scuzz-bucket, two-man boogie blues with song titles like “Sex Destroyer,” “Van Candy” and “A Motherfuckin’ Song About Robots.”


BEST REASON TO EXPLORE THE SMALLER STAGES: Eric Andre

Comedy with any sort of nuance usually doesn’t translate well at music festivals, but that’s not a problem for Andre, whose manic non sequiturs make just as much sense whether you can hear them over the surrounding instrumental buzz or not.


BEST REASON TO AVOID THE MAIN STAGE: Violent Femmes

No one’s denying that the Femmes’ debut is a college rock classic, but it came out in 1982. For the average Sasquatch attendee, the band might as well be Benny Goodman, and watching two dozen middle-aged record store clerks pleading for “just one fuck” is a sight depressing enough to put a damper on the rest of the weekend.


BEST REASON TO STAY OUT LATE: Cut Copy

Once just another indie electro-pop group grasping at dance nirvana, the Aussie trio reached it with last year’s ’90s-gazing Free Your Mind. Don’t expect a lot of sick drops—just ebullient house grooves you can ride all the way back to your campsite.


SUNDAY

BEST REASON TO GET UP EARLY: Pollens

Seattle’s answer to Dirty Projectors layer mellifluous vocal harmonies over elliptical guitars and African polyrhythms, and its trancelike quality is just the sort of massage your brain is going to need to get through Day Three.


BEST REASON TO EXPLORE THE SMALLER STAGES: The Flavr Blue

The cancellation of English dance-pop duo AlunaGeorge was a major disappointment, but this Emerald City group’s nocturnal electro-R&B should help fill at least part of the void. 


BEST REASON TO AVOID THE MAIN STAGE: Kid Cudi

He’s like if Drake had a cousin whose idea of flirting is reading passages from his unpublished sci-fi novel in Auto-Tune. Unless you want to know what Martin Starr’s character from Party Down would be like as a rapper, it’s probably best to just get a churro and chill.


BEST REASON TO STAY OUT LATE: Gesaffelstein

One part of the production team behind Kanye’s “Black Skinhead” (along with fellow Frenchmen Daft Punk), his clanging industrial techno is leaden enough to black out the glow sticks that’ll be waving for Major Lazer at the other end of the Gorge. 


SEE IT: Sasquatch is at the Gorge Amphitheater, 754 Silica Road, Quincy, Wash., on Friday-Sunday, May 23-25. Sold out. See sasquatchfestival.com for complete schedule.

 
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