Summer Starts at Sasquatch! (or with its webstream – including Wilco, Modest Mouse, Death Cab and “Soft Bulletin” live)…

“The Gorge is incredible, everyone should go there at least once. I highly recommend getting there for a sunset show. That’s actually when I saw Modest Mouse, and they knocked it out of the park. It could have been combination of the location, the timing, the people – but it was fantastic…they became my favorite band after that”

-Fan Ryan Richards,

For music fans in the Pacific North West Memorial Day weekend means starting the summer at the beautiful Gorge in Quincy, Washington with Sasquatch! 

Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, Neko Case, Decemberists, and Ben Harper are Sasquatch! regulars and since the festival began in 2002 other key sets have been performed by Beck, Pavement, MGMT, Grizzly Bear, Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, Animal Collective, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, My Morning Jacket, Broken Social Scene, Built to Spill, Fleet Foxes, Nine Inch Nails, Midlake, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, Bjork, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Beastie Boys, The Black Keys, Cat Power, Apollo Sunshine, Postal Service, The Roots, Thievery Corporation, The National, Band of Horses and Ween.  In other words, a who’s who of contemporary indie and alt-rock.  Even Coldplay have played the fest!  Among it’s other distinctions, Sasquatch! also hosted the world première of The Flaming Lips’ film “Christmas on Mars” in 2008 (pictured below, Wayne’s “cause” for Under the Radar’s “Protest Issue 2008” photographed at The Gorge).

Unlike most festivals (which tend to start on a Friday night and run through Sunday), Sasquatch takes advantage of being held on a holiday weekend to offer three full days of music plus the Friday night before.  The 2011 line-up – headlined by Foo Fighters, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips and Wilco – was particularly strong.  A sold-out crowd watched four stages-worth of the freshest music 2011 has to offer: Local Natives, Iron and Wine, Bright Eyes, The Secret Sisters, J. Mascis, Wye Oak, The Head and the Heart, The Thermals, Sleigh Bells, Matt & Kim, Bassnectar, White Denim, Foster the People. Twin Shadow, Beast Coast, Black Mountain,Cold War Kids, Yeasayer, Wavves, Deerhunter, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, The Decemberists, Guided by Voices (complete schedule – here).  Among other highlights of the fest this year – the banner-year 10th anniversary, The Flaming Lips top-billed Sunday night slot featured The Soft Bulletin and a special birthday dedication to Sasquatch!

Seattle’s KEXP – one of the coolest radio stations in the country – teamed up with NPR, Minnesota Public Radio 89.3 The Current, OPBmusic Portland and KUT Austin to stream much of the festival here – making it the perfect BBQ soundtrack for those unable to attend.  The plan was laid out by NPR’s press release – “This is the first time that curated coverage of the Sasquatch! fest will be accessible through free, live webcasts at NPR Music …. live coverage will be available at NPR … and constantly updated photos of the action at The Gorge, the scenic venue where the festival takes place” – and executed without a hitch.  Check out the schedule below (bold were broadcast live, non-bold from tape – click on linked artist names for direct link to hear full sets, as recommended by Psych Explorations of the Future Heart).


12:00 PM Foo Fighters (high-action hits from a band living up to all the magazine covers and media coverage they’ve recently been receiving for their new album and documentary; the NPR stream is just highlights, not the full set – Spin: “It’s a homecoming of sorts for the Foos, whose roots run deep in the Seattle area, with bassist Nate Mendel being a member of Seattle emo trendsetters Sunny Day Real Estate and Dave Grohl having played in that ’90s Jet City band you might have heard of. It’s always good to come home, but even better when it’s on the strength of one of your best albums yet, Wasting Light.”)

12:20 PM Death From Above 1979 (the recently re-united duo played one of the first major sets of the weekend)

1:00 PM The Radio Dept.

2:00 PM The Head and The Heart (Will this be a break-out set for this joyful singalong crew with roots as Seattle buskers?  On tour with Iron and Wine they’re winning over audiences with an infectious enthusiasm for playing that reminds some of the Arcade Fire.  Apparently they won over Ben Gibbard at Sasquatch! – he dedicated “Underneath the Sycamore” to them in Death Cab’s headlining set that night).

2:55 PM Bob Mould (impassioned Friday set with intimate vibe recommended for long-time Mould/ Husker Du/ Sugar fans – just Bob and his electric guitar… like a punk veteran troubador…) 

3:40 PM Mariachi el Bronx (check it out!)

4:20 PM Wolf Parade

5:00 PM The Globes

5:45 PM Local Natives (looking – and sounding – cooler than ever… check it out!)

6:20 PM Rebecca Gates

6:45 PM Iron and Wine (Yacht rock gone prog?!? No, not really but in any case, with strong band support and earthy horn arrangements, it’s light years from the whispered solo songs Sam Beam started the “group” as. Note he starts the set saying “see you on the other side” – the same expression Dave Fridmann used to say before Mercury Rev sets – giving them a title for their third album.  Coincidence? Probably… either way – check out this set!)

7:50 PM Aloe Blacc (dynamic and funky soul set)

8:15 PM Bright Eyes (well-played set by an impressive band of instrumentalists… and Conor being Conor)

9:20 PM Wye Oak (drummer plays bass at same time – while goth-y singer shreds on guitar: packed crowd eats it up)

9:45 PM Death Cab For Cutie (Bright Eyes and Death Cab are currently touring together and Sasquatch! will no doubt be a highlight; a big night for Death Cab – the evening after the premeire of their VH1 “Storytellers” and just three days before the release of their latest album, Codes and Keys; they kicked off their legnthy set with the legnthy ambiance building of “I Will Possess Your Heart” – the perfect sounds to float over a crowd and fill the Gorge on a late-spring, holiday weekend night; other highlights include “Long Division” 29:37, “What Sarah Said” 42:42, “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” 48:27, “You Are a Tourist” 52:10, “Doors Unlocked and Open” 1:09:43, “Soul Meets Body” 1:15:37, and “The Sound of Settling” 1:27:10; Spin: “Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden defined the ’90s sound of Seattle, then Death Cab unraveled their work over the course of the ’00s…lovelorn tales soundtracked millions of angsty, unrequited walks home… Sasquatch! [finds] Death Cab celebrating the release of their latest effort, the sunnier (but still captivating) Codes and Keys.”) 


12:00 PM The Antlers (well-received)

1:00 PM Washed Out

1:25 PM Sharon Van Etten

2:10 PM Fitz and the Tantrums (party!)

3:00 PM Dan Mangan

3:15 PM Tokyo Police Club

4:00 PM The Thermals (Spin: “Harris and bassist-vocalist Kathy Foster are longtime Portland scenesters, and were show promoters before the Thermals really took off. Recently, on Facebook, Harris said that they put on the first Portland show by fellow Sasquatch 2011 performer Bright Eyes back in 1999. Hutch’s favorite Bright Eyes song? “The Calendar Hung Itself.”)

5:10 PM Basia Bulat (sweet songs with a sacred gospel ending)

5:25 PM Cold War Kids (sounding more like a Jack White spin-off band than ever…)

6:15 PM Typhoon (…lots of love…)

7:05 PM K-OS (Canadian rapper samples eclectic hits with live band, audience enjoys…)

7:35 PM Mad Rad

8:00 PM Flaming Lips (excited audience gets Soft Bulletin laid on it)

9:35 PM Robyn (dance, dance, dance)

10:00 PM Modest Mouse (Brillant upbrubt start to a highly anticipated, and rare – nowadays – show; A big deal and sort of homecoming featuring two new tunes – tentatively titled – “Poison” and “Lampshades On Fire”; Spin: “From their freakier origins in the late ’90s and early ’00s to the shocking mainstream success of 2004’s “Float On” to their unlikely partnership with Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, Modest Mouse have perennially been a band worth watching and listening to. But nowhere are they more beloved than the Pacific Northwest.“) 


11:30 AM Wavves

12:20 PM Ratatat

1:25 PM City and Colour

1:40 PM Old 97s

2:30 PM Archers of Loaf

3:00 PM S. Carey

3:25 PM Gayngs

3:50 PM Guided By Voices (Spin: “While there’s no doubt that GBV main man Bob Pollard will keep making music until he physically cannot do it anymore, this might be the last chance to catch what many consider to the band’s prime lineup, who recorded 1994’s Bee Thousand”)

4:55 PM Noah and the Whale

5:10 PM Sharon Jones (check it out!)

6:15 PM Flying Lotus (more info at Spin)

7:20 PM Gold Panda

8:25 PM Das Racist (hip-hoppin’ – for real, not joking- with a horn section! check it out!)

9:00 PM Black Mountain (check it out!)

9:30 PM Wilco (Spin: “Frontman Jeff Tweedy says the music [for next album due later this year] fits into two categories: “experimental-leaning rock” and “cinematic-sounding country music…you know, folk music.” Some new material should see the light of day at Sasquatch.”)

Don’t worry if you missed the streams on Memorial Day Weekend, most of them are archived at NPR. Deerhunter unfortunately was not included in NPR’s streams and Beach House – who used their slot to début new material – wants to keep the new material under taps and refused to let NPR’s recording be streamed or archived.  We’ll just have to take the word on the street – Beach House’s set was not to be missed…

If listening to full sets from all five headliners plus dozens of others isn’t enough to fill your free-listening-Sasquatch! fill, download Spin’s sampler as well:

Checkout sweet pics found on twitter and follow twitter.sasquatchtweet and twitter/futureheartday for more!

Check out the beautiful images at brooklynvegan, including the below photos of The Flaming Lips and Modest Mouse…











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