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kickin’ it with the ‘squatch: sunday.

I’m really behind in life right now. Every time I start feeling better, and think I’ve turned a corner, I slip back into feeling miserable again. It really sucks, and it is sapping my already dismal productivity. Hopefully I will get all of my Sasquatch posts up before Sasquatch starts again next year.

Sunday was the last really awesome day at Sasquatch. This is probably in part because it was the last day before I started getting really sick, but it was also largely because the lineup was right up our alley.

Gardens and Villa

We kicked things off with Gardens and Villa at the Yeti Stage. An enjoyable Santa Barbara band who drew a pretty big crowd, comparatively to the size of other Yeti crowds we saw over the weekend.

The lead singer performs with a literal quiver of flutes. So, clearly, this band isn’t exactly like anything else. The sound for this show was a little muddy, and for a song or so the entire right bank of speakers stopped working, but it was still a fun start to the day, overall.

M. Ward

via @ The Stranger

After Gardens and Villa, we moved over to the Main Stage for the rest of the day. I know, we weren’t hip enough to spend the whole day listening to the most obscure music we could find all day. We went to Sasquatch because of how many bands performing there are near and dear to our hearts, and I caught as many as I could without compromising the standards I have to help me enjoy a concert as much as possible.

We caught the end of a hip hop act, Chiddy Bang, and then moved up front for the incomparable M. Ward. Neither of us had ever seen Mr. Ward before, and he was near the top of both our lists of acts we were most excited to see. He didn’t disappoint!

One of the primary things I love about M. Ward is that he’s just so fucking cool. Laid back, always wearing sunglasses but somehow without seeming like a dick because of it, with a soft sing-song voice when speaking… he’s just the epitome of cool.

As is the case with his studio albums, I could have listened to him play all day long. He makes what he does appear effortless, even though he’s actually a really great guitarist. Making difficult things seem like their no big deal is pretty much the definition of cool.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again: it often takes conscious effort on my part to keep from heading down to Portland, finding Matt Ward, and following him around until he agrees to by my friend or has me arrested.

If only Zooey had shown up, which would have made things perfect.

The Head and the Heart 

via @ Verbicide

This was only my third time seeing The Head and the Heart live. I feel a renewed love for the band after seeing them live again, which is good, since they are Seattle’s ever more popular indie darlings who formed at Ballard’s own Conor Byrne Pub. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how excited I was about the show. I was kind of at the point where I thought maybe I was done with them for a while. I thought, “That may be fun, but I’m probably going to be a little bored with the old material.”

Not so! They wooed me back into love with them with another great set, including a new song in which vocalist Jonathan Russell seems to channel a bit of David Gray. They’re a band that people love to love, which means they are also a band that some sour-pussed contrarians love to hate. I think that even as their star rises they are still delightful. Their energy never wanes, and to be present for milestones in their career, and to watch their reactions to those milestones (especially those of Charity Rose, who I’m pretty sure was crying at the end of the set) is a really fun ride.

I’m looking forward to their sophomore album!


First, I love Beirut. Love! Second, this was a fairly boring live set. Remember when I was writing about The Civil Wars, and how impressed I was that they filled the Main Stage space with energy even though there were just two of them? Well, Beirut was the opposite of that. He had such a sparse band on stage with him, compared to the remarkable degree of instrumentation that we hear on the albums. The music just felt empty and flat.

He needs to figure out how to recreate his sound a bit on stage when he is missing most of the instrumentation that make his trademark sound so unique and enjoyable. Something needs to replace the horns when he only brings one extra trumpet player with him in addition to himself.

Bon Iver

**I’ll have to go back eventually and find out where these photos came from. They were just on my desktop from a previous search, but we didn’t take any of them, aside from the last one, which Emily took from her vantage point farther back than me.**

However… after being fairly disappointed with Beirut, Bon Iver proceeded to shut my brain down with awe. His entire set was one long exercise in pure beauty.

I’ve been to so very many concerts in my day, but I have never seen anything remotely resembling Justin Vernon’s current live show. The stage becomes what seems like a pirate ghost ship, with what looks like torn sails hanging from the rafters above the stage, and fog filling the stage to varying degrees throughout the set. With lines of large lightbulbs of varying heights set at three points on the stage, so that the band is actually playing behind lights and not just in front of them, the lights change color and effects repeatedly during the set so that every song has it’s own mood.

One song is even performed lit from the main effects booth out in the center of the crowd, with an effect that made it look like the band was performing lit only through blinds looking out on a futuristic cityscape.

However, more than the impressive light show, Bon Iver’s performance was what was really overwhelming. With eight other band members, Vernon performed a passionate, remarkable set that was literally jaw-dropping. They were just so damned good!

Songs that were once small and intimate became large and somehow even more emotionally charged, and somehow the songs of last year’s masterpiece of an album shone through with all the depth, complexity, and layering that made the production of that album so wonderful.

All the video I could find on YouTube really sucks. Hard. I wish I could take you back in time with me to see this again.

It’s blasphemous to my Roots loving heart, but the Bon Iver show was the most mind-blowing show I saw at Sasquatch… it was close, but Bon Iver ekes it out.

I then proceeded to dance to a dub step show until 1 in the morning, because life is short and I want to try new things. It was really fun, but I still can’t hear the difference between one dub step recording and another… I guess I’m officially an old man.




kickin’ it with the ‘squatch: saturday.

Friday, to allow for travel to the Gorge, the festivities didn’t kick off until 4:00. On Saturday, with most already camped out, things began at noon. Were I home, that would be early for me, since normally I fall asleep between 4 and 7 in the morning, and then intermittently piece five or six ours of sleep together through the better part of the daytime hours. However, at Sasquatch, this was impossible. I may not have fallen asleep much earlier, but with the hot sun beating down on our tent by early morning, it was an oven by 9:00, making sleep a purely theoretical venture.

Up early in the day, we wasted most of our mornings laying lazily around the campsite or charging our phones near the kitchen. Then, we would drive into town and get some much desired AC and free McDonalds wifi. Even though we were awake, we never actually got our act together early enough to make it in by noon, but normally caught the second or third act of the day as our first show.

Saturday, we finally got organized and motivated to catch the shuttles over to the Gorge a bit after 12. This reminds me, I keep mentioning the shuttles, but haven’t mentioned that said shuttles were awesome decommissioned King County Metro buses. Complete with old ads and PSAs. There were two oldish buses, like this one:

And then two more really old buses, that had most certainly been active through our country’s shameful segregated bus history.

This added an additional bit of character to our daily bus trips.

Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires

via @ The Stranger

We made it in on Saturday in time to catch the beginning of Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires. For those who don’t know Charles Bradley, I didn’t either. Apparently, he is the 64 year old “Screaming Eagle of Soul.” A less spectacular cross between Otis Redding and James Brown. And don’t take my statement he is less spectacular than Otis Redding and James Brown to be an insult, we’re all less spectacular than Otis, that’s just a fact of life.

At 64, Bradley still brings it on stage. Whether crooning about the woman he loves, or taking us to church with a song about America and Jesus [complete with an interlude during which he carries his microphone stand on his shoulder like the cross], Bradley is still every bit the showman.

He even mentioned my hometown during a song. It got exciting when he rolled into the lyric /I went to upstate New York/ I thought, “Hey, upstate New York.” Then he finished the line with, /to a little town they call Poughkeepsie/ After which Emily and I cheered and then needed to explain to our neighbors in the grass why we did so.

Blitzen Trapper

Blitzen Trapper was just about exactly what I expected them to be. On stage, just as in their recordings, they’re a good, talented, classic rock throwback band that takes bits from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s and throws it together to make really strong rock music.

I enjoyed their set, and I would write more, but it was already a week ago, and they were immediately overshadowed by what came next.

The Civil Wars

via @ American Songwriter

The Civil Wars. Dear Lord, The Civil Wars. Watching them perform, I didn’t sing along, I didn’t dance, I didn’t clap and yell. I was truly and entirely riveted, struck dumb by the remarkable talent I was witnessing.

The hardest thing about a small band [in size] playing the main stage is that the space is so much larger than most. Often, a band isn’t ready. It’s not just about filling the space with band members or noise, although that certainly helps. It’s about filling the space with presence, with energy, which is a lot easier for a band the louder they are. It should have been a remarkably tall order for The Civil Wars. It’s just him and her, and with the exception of one song, the only instrument used is John Paul’s acoustic guitar. At a festival, in the middle of the afternoon, it’s nearly impossible to draw people in and keep them excited without a big production of some sort.

The Civil Wars accomplished the nearly impossible. Just the two of them, with the power of their raw talent and charisma, blew the doors off the main stage armed with nothing but their bittersweet songs of love, life, hope, faith, pain, and disillusionment.

They were spell-binding. The way they play their characters is perfect. She is the innocent, sexy, seductive young woman. He is the rascal, with his tuxedo, his long hair, and the glass of whiskey he brings on stage with him. They are playful and winning, stealing each other’s microphones, joking back and forth. Watching the chemistry between them, it would be easy to assume that the two were together, that she was pregnant with his baby, and not that each is actually married to another.

Each song was stunning. When they performed their hymn “From this Valley,” a song I’d never heard before, I nearly broke down weeping. For me, it was the perfect song in the perfect moment.

We just missed the band the last two times they played Seattle (Ballard no less!), but now that we’ve finally seen them, it was remarkable, and I sure hope they are back in our neck of the woods soon!

Jamey Johnson

This was easily the most uncomfortable concert I’ve ever witnessed. We were up front for Civil Wars, we wanted to stay up front to see Childish Gambino, and so we had no choice but to stick around for Jamey Johnson. As far as scheduling is concerned, this was the only truly massive failure we witnessed on the part of Sasquatch. I don’t know who is into Jamey Johnson, but it most certainly isn’t the people showing up for Civil Wars and Childish Gambino.

Everyone around us for the Jamey Johnson show was there for Childish Gambino, just biding their time. This means they were all in the mood for some energetic emcee action. What’s the furthest thing from energetic emcee action? How about pop-country music… yup, that’ll do it.

Maybe Jamey Johnson has tons of fans all over the country, but they weren’t at Sasquatch, and they certainly aren’t the kids waiting for Childish Gambino. We were surrounded by people having loud conversations that Johnson could most definitely hear from the stage. It was depressing, awkward, and remarkably uncomfortable. I spent the entire time just wanting the whole thing to be over.

Childish Gambino

Then, in came Mr. Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, to save the day. It was our second time seeing him, and once again he delivered exactly what we’d expect: fun, cocky, underrated emcee work to the delight of a good sized group of passionate fans who, in turn, rapped along to all his words while also shouting out Community references about Troy Barnes, Abed, and Annnie’s Boobs.

The only thing that would have made it better would have been if Alison Brie had actually made an appearance.

The Afternoon

After that, we spent the afternoon at the Honda Bigfoot Stage, relaxing in the sunshine, while eating our Beecher’s Mac’n’Cheese on our M’s blanket to the musical stylings of The Helio-Sequence, and then tUne-yArDs. We needed a rest, and fortunately at Sasquatch rests include listening to wonderful bands playing great music, soaking up sunshine (while properly sun-screened of course).

By the end of the tUne-yArDs show, there was a glorious desert sunset to accompany our wait for St. Vincent.

The first casualties

This evening also marked our first two major casualties. I would have loved to see The Shins and Jack White, but it wasn’t meant to be. I could have made it if I was willing to sit at the back and watch a bit of The Shins before hopping over to see St. Vincent, then walked back over and stood at the back for Jack White before rushing back to see The Roots. That’s how most people at Sasquatch seemed to do things. However, that’s just not how I watch a concert, or do anything for that matter. When I do something, I do it deeply and entirely. I immerse myself in it. The whole reason I have wanted for so long to spend all this money and travel out to central Washington for Sasquatch was because I love concerts so much. I love the experience of them, the energy and passion. I have trouble getting into concerts from the back row, as a passive observer. I just don’t think that is how a contemporary rock show is designed to be experienced.

Thus, I made the sacrifice of seeing parts of a bunch of shows in order to be up front for the performances by my very favorite bands. I skipped The Shins so I could be upfront for St. Vincent. I skipped Jack White so I could be three people from the stage for The Roots. Worth it.

St. Vincent

I love St. Vincent. Apparently, so do The Civil Wars. Joy Williams has tweeted several times about that fact, and we watched St. Vincent’s show just a few feet away from John Paul White.

Her concert was in no way what I expected. She trades off many of the layers of her music in favor of a high energy show that gets more punk as it goes. By the end she is performing old 80’s punk covers and spastically crowd surfing, gyrating to the point that I was certain she was going to be dropped and get hurt.

I’m not going to lie, I missed much of what I love about her studio recordings, but it was still a really entertaining live set.

The Roots

After St. Vincent, I spent an hour and half waiting for The Roots. Jack White was the headliner that night, and The Legendary Roots Crew was actually playing one of the weekend’s two late night sets, from 11:30-1:00. This is the reason why the waiting was so long. And wait I did. I’ve wanted to see them live for such a long time, they were the band I was most excited about, and nothing was going to get between me and a great position to stand. There was a little bonus during the waiting, when Captain Kirk came out to check the levels on his own guitar. Oddly, none of the other people waiting for The Roots seemed to have any idea who he was, so I just got to watch him do his thing on my own. Eventually, everyone figured out who he was, which ended sitting time and started the 30 minutes where we all stood waiting for the band.

It was totally, completely, 100% worth it. The Roots aren’t just showmen, they’re concert gods. The Roots are a throwback band live. ?uestlove’s father is Lee Andrews, the bandleader for a doo-wop group called Lee Andrews & the Hearts, and ?uest was in music clubs all his life. He ended up playing drums in his dad’s band as early as seven, and was the permanent drummer by the time he was a teenager. (Watch his episode of Hulu’s A Day in the Life).

Anyway, ?uestlove’s upbringing, combined with his remarkable talent and the fact that he has been performing with at least some form of The Roots for 20 years, makes for as much fun as a concert can be. It was just 90 minutes of unadulterated joy.

How many hip hop groups do you know who feature a 6 minute sousaphone solo in the middle? Oh, that’s right, your hip hop group doesn’t have a tuba player.

The band just has so much fun on stage that it is contagious. Dancing, chasing each other around the drums, improvised conversation between the keyboards and the tuba where each performer keeps trying to throw the other off, and a remarkably fun replacement to the traditional encore that had me laughing, dancing, and screaming. Oh, and Captain Kirk is the most underrated guitar player I’ve ever seen. He’s amazing.

Nothing I can write will articulate how fun this concert was. Also, all the videos I can find just don’t do it justice. All I can say is that from the first full song, “Paul Revere” to honor the late MCA, to the final note of the night, I was exhausted from sheer delight by the time it was over. It was a bucket list entry to see The Roots in concert for the first time, and now it is a major life goal to see them in concert again.

Below is video I shot from the show. Sadly, it’s missing so many of the delights the band had to offer that night, but it was the only time I could keep from celebrating long enough to record an entire song.



kickin’ it with the ‘squatch: friday.

**Note: For the rest of the Sasquatch posts, I tried to use mostly pics Emily and I took, but I was most often mesmerized by the music, so my pictures are few and far between, and not very good. Thus, on the rare occasions I use someone else’s images without permission, I’ll give credit to wherever the photos came from, and if you click on someone else’s picture, it will take you to their site.**

Friday. Even as I awoke that morning in a tent, after a rough night without much sleep, it still didn’t seem real that I was actually at Sasquatch. Too many things fall through, and the closer we got to Sasquatch, the less excited I felt. I don’t let myself get excited for something in advance, one of my defense mechanisms. Too often, things look good, but in the last moment, they fall apart, just like Achebe promised.

Yet, here we were, killing time at the Wildhorse Campground, waiting for the first shuttle to the Gorge. It was a relaxing day, spent charging phones, sitting in the sunshine, and wondering why time was passing so damned slowly.

Finally, the time came for the first shuttle, and we made our way over, amongst the already drunk college kids and the Canadian hipsters. [Side note: it’s easy to tell the difference between Seattle hipsters and Canadian hipsters, Seattle hipsters wear vintage Sonics hats, Canadian hipsters wear vintage Calgary Flames, Vancouver Grizzlies, Edmonton Oilers, and the old red, yellow, orange Canucks hats.]

We got our fancy microchip Sasquatch entrance bracelets, made our way through the mandatory pat downs, and were finally, at long last, inside the festival.

Allen Stone: Our first scheduled show was Allen Stone at the Sasquatch Stage (also known as the Esurance Main Stage). We’d never heard a single one of his songs, but we have an abundance of friends who speak highly of him, both personally and musically. He’s a local artist, so we know lots of folks who’ve seen him play, hung out with him, dated band members, etc.

We were taking our time making it to the main stage, being that we still had a few hours before Stone was set to perform, when a random guy next to a Kokanee beer tent grabbed our attention and asked us if we liked Allen Stone. Half worried he was trying to sell us something, we said, “Sure, we like Allen Stone.” It’s good that we did, because apparently the guy was just trying to corral people into a free acoustic mini-set that Allen Stone was going to be doing in the Kokanee tent.

Thus, our first experience with Mr. Stone was not amongst the huddling mass at the main stage, but amongst 20 or so people. He performed three songs, just him and his guitarist, and let me tell you, it was love right off the bat. His vocal range is remarkable, and he’s every bit the playful, energetic frontman. Although, as you can see in the picture, his style is akin to an old white lady who sells homemade jewelry at a flea market in New Mexico. That’s okay, though, we music lovers have always enjoyed quirky musicians.

If I wasn’t already falling in love with Mr. Stone, he then launched into a song all about insomnia. It’s called “Sleep”, and it immediately became my favorite cultural artifact about insomnia. I’ve embedded it below, for the curious. Check it out!

In the good spirits of those who’ve just stumbled upon unexpected goodness, we made our way to the main stage to wait and see what Allen Stone was like plugged into his entire band. Wee-ow! He didn’t disappoint. His band is tight, he showed off an ever more impressive vocal range, his energy is contagious, and I challenge any able-bodied person with a soul to make it through an entire set of his without shaking their ass, at least a bit.

His band started playing the opening tones of MJ’s “Thriller”, but right after the band started up with the iconic notes that actually open the song, Stone jumped to the microphone and shouted, “Psych!”, as the band moved on to one of Stone’s own songs. It should have been lame, or at the very least disappointing, because that song is amazing, but in the context of Stone’s set, it was just funny and endearing. Plus, he made up for it later by playing a beautiful cover of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love.” I’ve shared a version of that, too, performed in LA.

Suffice it to say, Allen Stone was a double dose of the perfect start to our epic time at Sasquatch 2012! He made at least two new fans last week.

Of Monsters and Men

via @ Stereogum

Another band which came highly recommended, but that we had never heard before. If I wasn’t already intrigued, Amazon picked the album as their favorite of the year so far, and dropped the download price down to $2.99 the day we left. The price has since gone up to $4.99, but still worth it!

Of Monsters and Men is an impressively talented group from the home of Sigur Ros. They create music that is full to the brim with that big, epic, dynamic Icelandic sound we’ve all come to expect from music that makes its way across the water.

They appeared to love Sasquatch, and Sasquatch loved them right back. Thanks to them, our night was off to a perfect 2 for 2 to start off!


Santigold (formerly Santogold) is part R&B, part poppy punk, and part random other stuff thrown in for good measure. I feel bad for anyone having a bad drug trip during her show, because they probably had a nervous breakdown. The show wasn’t in your face in a crazy light show sort of way, but the subtlety of its oddness was probably all the more unsettling for our poor drugged out compatriots. From her oddly dressed band, to her ironic background dancers, to the moment when two guys come out on stage in a horse costume, this isn’t your average opening act.

Her music didn’t strike me the way Allen Stone did, but she was perfect for keeping the Friday night dance party going, in preparation for the god of all dance parties.

Girl Talk

Then, came Girl Talk. Oh, my sweet, sweet, Girl Talk. He can be accurately called a mash-up artist, since that is what he is doing, be he is head and shoulders above other mash-up stars. Normally, mash-ups are just two songs mashed together, with the beats-per-minute adjusted to keep the two songs at the same pace. Girl Talk goes way beyond that. His clips rarely last longer than 30 seconds before he’s onto another song, and at times he’s combining five or six songs at once. In concert, he and his road team have perfected the art of creating an insane, sweaty dance party.

This was my second time seeing Girl Talk. The first time, I wanted the concert to last forever. I was having that much fun at this huge, amazing dance party. That first night, here in Seattle at the Showbox SODO, when the set ended, I immediately realized that I was dehydrated and that my legs were about to give out from under me, but I’d been having so much fun I didn’t notice until the show stopped and the adrenaline wore off. That was drug free folks, I was just having that much fun.

This time around, I was properly hydrated, and though my legs were tired from standing for a few hours leading up to the show, nothing was going to stop me from getting the most out of my time with Girl Talk and a 20,000ish person dance party.

In my short time looking for video, I couldn’t find anything that came close to conveying the joyful celebration that one feels participating in a Girl Talk show, but I did find a video that shows his sets amazing light show/fireworks, albeit with really poor audio. It’s the best I can offer for someone who has never seen him live.

I’m not ashamed to admit that Girl Talk was one of the things I was most looking forward to at Sasquatch. My soul desperately needed to spend over an hour dancing like an ass, and that is exactly what I did.


via @ Wonderland

If you look on the Sasquatch schedule online, you won’t find Seattle hip-hop star Macklemore between Girl Talk and Pretty Lights. You won’t find him anywhere for that matter. That didn’t stop him from showing up for a surprise performance. On a scaffolding built during the day amongst the crowd for no other purpose than his surprise appearance, the lights went on and he performed a few songs for a delightfully shocked crowd.

We just so happened to be in perfect position for his show, thanks to the fact that we were making our way to find a seat after spending the rest of the evening way up front. A bit of the way through the show, while dancing amongst a huge crowd of people, Emily tapped me and directed my attention beside us. We were shoulder to shoulder with Allen Stone and his super hot girlfriend.

No big deal, just watching an awesome surprise performance while dancing literally shoulder to shoulder with the guy who killed it earlier that evening.

Did I mention that Sasquatch is a magical, magical place?

Pretty Lights

Nothing was topping what had already happened so far that night. My goal was to expend every last ounce of energy I had dancing at the Girl Talk show. I succeeded. Then we danced even more during Macklemore’s surprise visit. This made it so that neither of us had anything left for Pretty Lights when his set began. He’s a more traditional electronic/DJ. His show was good, and it seemed fun for the people up front, but for my money, Girl Talk should have played last and closed out the night.

Overall, it was a hugely successful day one. We made our way back to the campground, via shuttle, grabbed some late night food at the kitchen (which was always open until 2 or 3 in the morning to make sure everyone got whatever food they wanted after the late night shows ended), and retired to our campsite. Just before heading into our tent for the night, we were treated to one final treat, watching a ridiculous man dancing across the parking lot because his buddy turned a strobe feature on his flashlight on. He finished with a furious combo of punches aimed toward the ground, and a high kick for good measure. It was an exclamation point on the fact that Sasquatch is in fact a crazy, joyful, and magical place.

To answer Marley’s question, via Allen Stone earlier that evening, it was love that we were feeling.


kickin’ it with the ‘squatch: thursday.

Time for the inevitable raving about Sasquatch that any readers of this humble blog knew would come once I’d returned from the promised land. I suppose to do this right, I’m going to have a to a few posts, much like I would have done at the festival if I actually had internet access and a laptop, which I didn’t have. I’m sure my recollection will suffer as a result. Then again, this is all probably purely for my own benefit anyway.

Also, I’m really sick with a head cold and mono symptoms. [For any readers who don’t actually know me personally, I get really intense mono symptoms whenever I go too long without sleep or rest. As an insomniac trying to sleep in a tent at a crazy four-day music festival, plus a fairly sleepless night the day before we left, I ended up going six days without sleep or rest… on with the sickness! Worth it.]  Anyway, who knows what sorts of odd typos and incoherence you may find if you read this.

For those who want the abridged version, here are the festival stats:
Days away from home: 6
Attendance: 25,000
People making terrible life choices: 19,485
People making terrible clothing choices: 24,463
Memos we missed: Thigh tattoos, face and body paint, groups dressed according to theme (Where’s Waldo, America: Fuck Yeah!, Animal Costumes), tutus, spending hundreds of dollars on shitty beer in order to be too drunk to remember the festival you spent $315 just to get into, wearing flags.
Bands we saw live, at least in part: 33
Cost of a frozen margarita: $14
Cost of a 24oz PBR: $11
Bands We Saw In Entirety, Good Enough To Be Worth Mentioning:
The Good: Of Monsters and Men, Santigold, Charles Bradley, Blitzen Trapper, Childish Gambino, Tune-Yards, St. Vincent, Gardens & Villa, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!, The Joy Formidable, Feist, SBTRKT, Beck
The Amazing: Allen Stone, Girl Talk, M. Ward, The Head & The Heart
The Mind-Shattering: The Civil Wars, The Roots, Bon Iver
Most atrocious schedule related casualties: The Shins, Jack White, Little Dragon, Shearwater
Most atrocious visa related casualties: Mogwai

Now, for those who want the full version… Aaawaaaay we go!

Thursday: Traveling to Sasquatch

It’s been a year and a half since we’ve had a vacation just for the sake of having a vacation. Thus, we were excited to get out of town and head out on the open road. Thursday, we picked up our rental car. It wasn’t the car we had reserved, because rental car “reservations” are just jokes rental car companies play on their unfortunate customers. We reserved a midsize car, we ended up with a Yaris that had no power to its cigarette lighter (because why would we want to charge our phones on the road?) and a trunk that consistently took three tries to close. This was for a car we had the presence of mind to reserve three months ago. Fuck you, Hertz!

We took the long way, Route 2-East through Stevens Pass, instead of taking I-90, because we wanted a longer, prettier road trip. We had one road trip non-negotiable: Blizzards from DQ on the way there and back. We don’t have a car, and there are no local DQ’s within convenient bussing distance, so Blizzards are a luxury these days. Go ahead, hipsters, roll your eyes… I’m not apologizing, Blizzards are the fucking shit!

So, we hit Target in Northgate, hopped up to Shoreline, grabbed DQ west in Woodinville, and began our trip in earnest across the great state of Washington. As anyone who has driven from one side of Washington to the other knows, it is a state that doesn’t disappoint in the scenery department, especially through Stevens Pass. Our road trip was beautiful, so beautiful that we took the same route back to Seattle after the festival. It’s an awe-inspiring trip: from the beautiful winding mountain highway, into the kitschy Bavarian wonderland of Leavenworth, and on to the high plateaus, wineries and orchards of Quincy and George, where the beauty is accentuated by the breathtaking view at the Gorge.

We’d heard horror stories about people staying at the main Sasquatch camp, where the weekend is a non-stop drunken, oversexed, drug-induced, garbage covered party where no one even attempts to sleep. We knew I was going to leave Sasquatch sick enough as it was, so that was out. Emily looked into Premium Sasquatch camping, which would have been $170 total added onto the cost of our tickets, and with a little internet research it became clear that in recent years “premium camping” has devolved into the exact same conditions as the basic camping.

That’s when Emily discovered Wildhorse Campground. Best find ever! A mile from the amphitheater, with shuttles running constantly all day until the last camper is picked up in the early morning hours. It was only $120 bucks total for all  five nights. It included near-complete quiet at night, had food made to order until 2something in the morning, and had hot showers (no matter how long the line for showers was, they were always hot!).

Oh yeah, and since we didn’t take 90, we missed all of the traffic. Within 30 minutes we were checked in, had our campsite prepped, and our borrowed tent assembled. We were eating a Wild Burger and a Turkey Wrap at the campsite’s kitchen while we charged the phones we weren’t able to keep charged on the road (again, fuck you, Hertz!). Then we got to sit and watch the long line of cars, stretching as far as the eye could see, of folks waiting to check into the regular Sasquatch camping.

Long story short, Emily and Wildhorse FTW!

We relaxed for the evening, turned in early (which was futile on my part, but a nice try all the same), and spent the night snug in our bed with visions of hipsters and awesome music dancing in our heads.

Next: Friday, Day One!


how had i never heard this before?

“Love is Blindness” is one of my favorite U2 songs. It’s one of their more underrated offerings in my opinion. Thus, it saddens me that I had somehow never heard Jack White’s cover of the song until I saw the trailer for The Great Gatsby (which I shared yesterday).

Better late than never I suppose. [It’s part of an entire album of bands covering Achtung Baby, which I pathetically missed. I’ll be downloading the entire thing today, I assure you.]

Emily was right earlier today when she said that the rage and desperation White offers in the song feels really appropriate. I think it is a nice counterpoint to the bluesy melancholy of the original. It fits my life right now. I may or may not be listening to it on repeat right now.

Thanks to Bono, Jack, and Baz.


m. ward’s sasquatch avenges a community of elephants. [five things. 5.20.12]

It’s been a while since I’ve written a ‘five things’ post. The time has come.

In personal news, I finally got back to writing my novel in earnest, again. It’s still early, but I’ll be pushing past the 20,000 word mark today, so that’s a lot better than nothing.

1. The Magician’s Elephant – Kate DiCamillo

I’ve never read DiCamillo’s hugely successful books, The Tale of Despereaux or Because of Winn Dixie, so unlike most who have read her work, The Magician’s Elephant was my first encounter with her. Emily encouraged me to read it because she thought it would be the perfect story for my sensibilities. She was very, very right.

I want to believe that there is genuine beauty and magic in the world. I want to believe that there is grace and goodness there for those who keep their eyes open to see glimpses of them. I want to believe that there are such things as home, belonging, and love. I want to believe that if we are good to one another, and if we are willing to do crazy, extraordinary things, the world can be made lighter and kinder and better. I want to believe those things, and in my better moments, I actually do.

The Magician’s Elephant, the story of a boy in search of a home and a family, is written by someone who wants to believe those things along with me, and it is written for everyone else who feels similarly.


2. The Avengers

I know, I’ve written about this once already, but there was one important thought that I forgot to mention in my last post about it. It seems like today is a good day to blog about it again, as in its third weekend so far, The Avengers CRUSHED Battleship, leading everyone in the blogosphere to make bad puns about sinking and torpedoes.

Speaking of which, I still don’t understand how they can say that a movie is based on the game ‘Battleship’ when it has nothing to do with the game ‘Battleship.’ I mean, just because there are battleships in it doesn’t mean you can say ‘based on the game.’ Just because both the game and the movie happen to center on the reality that battleships do, in fact, exist… that’s enough? I’m going to write an indie film about a tortured architect trying to complete a project building a huge tower. The project is going to cost him more and more emotionally and financially, but his ego is going to be so tied up in the project that he is going to push himself to utter ruin because he just won’t let go. I’m going to call it Jenga. I mean, they both have towers, so I think that is probably enough to say it is ‘based on the game.’

Anyway, the thought that I forgot to share before was this: In almost every movie that has as much scope and potential as The Avengers, I find myself disappointed. I still like the movies, but usually I find myself saying, “It was really good, but they could have done so much more! Maybe they will in the sequel.” Not so with The Avengers. It delivers excitement, fun, and size that truly fulfills all of the movie’s potential. It is everything a movie with this many great, dynamic, superhuman personalities should be. I’ve seen it twice so far, and I am itching for number three.


3. Community

The life of a Community fan sure is bittersweet. First came the news that the show would be renewed for a fourth season, but only for a half-order of episodes. Then came the rumors that Dan Harmon was out as showrunner. Then came the confirmation that Dan Harmon was out as showrunner. It’s entirely possible that most of what we all love about the show will be leaving with him. Hopefully not, but it is highly likely. He was the brains, heart, and soul of the show. It was his baby. Now that he’s gone… ::sigh::

Yet, since the final episodes of Season 3 were written with the distinct possibility that the show would be cancelled altogether, they offer a beautiful end to what Community has been. From the awesome 8-bit episode, to Jeff’s final monologue in which he articulates the soul of the show: that even though we are cynical, jaded, self-centered, broken people, we still need each other, and we make the world better when we embrace that and get over ourselves a little bit. It’s a thought that temporarily zaps the beard off my inner ‘Evil Abed.’ It was all I could do to keep from bursting into tears when the final story ended with a single screen featuring the ‘six seasons and a movie’ hashtag. I love the show that much. I really hope we don’t all come to wish it had just been cancelled when Dan Harmon was fired. I really wish the show had somehow moved to Netflix like Arrested Development. That would have immediately made Netflix my favorite company on the planet.


4. Wasteland Companion – M. Ward

I realize that I’ve never recommended M. Ward’s newest release. That’s an oversight that needs to be remedied right this moment. Ward is a master of crafting sweet, sad, spiritual songs of life and existence, disappointment and love. He has the ability to be as silly as he is melancholy. His music is perfect for the soul of the rainy pacific northwest. I love him.


5. Sasquatch!!

Speaking of M. Ward, Sasquatch starts Friday!! And I’M GOING TO BE THERE!! In the immortal words of Jason Penopolis, “Wee-ow!” I made a list of things I want to do in my 30’s. This weekend, I cross one of those things off!


time loops.

Sasquatch is getting closer. It still doesn’t seem real that I actually get to go, but I’m hoping that changes soon. I hope it does work out. I’ve had enough disappointment already this year.

One of the shows bound to make a scheduling conflict for me at the remarkably packed festival is SBTRKT. He’s never in the area, and I want to dance my ass off to a live performance in the hot sun at the Gorge. His most recent video contains a crazy time loop.

In other crazy time loop news. Coming Soon has the poster for an upcoming time travel movie starring JGL and Bruce Willis.

Their synopsis of the plot is: “Time travel will be invented – but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a “looper” – a hired gun, like Joe (Gordon-Levitt) – is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good… until the day the mob decides to “close the loop,” sending back Joe’s future self (Willis) for assassination.”

I’m a sucker for time travel.