Let’s face it: going to the Sasquatch! Music Festival is at times painful. Sometimes you feel like whoever it is that does all the scheduling must have it in for you, because all your favorite bands are playing at exactly the same time. Trying to make the decision on the spot is impossible. Whichever you pick, you’re going to hate yourself. So whatever you do, make sure you go through all the tough spots in the schedule before heading out to the Gorge so that you can know in your heart that you did your best to make your ultimate Sasquatch! fantasy a reality. At KEXP, we’ve put together the following battle roster to help you make a handful of tough decisions:
Girl Talk vs. Explosions In The Sky
Friday night, Girl Talk plays on the Sasquatch stage until 9:45, but Explosions in the Sky will be starting up on the Bigfoot stage at 9:15. While you could split the difference and see a bit of both, you have to understand: this is a matchup between two of the most epic live shows imaginable. Greg Gillis a.k.a. Girl Talk spins insane mashups from his near-indestructible laptop that cater to any audience, and you know that the last 30 minutes of his set will have some surprises that no one would want to miss. But Explosions in the Sky are known equally for their epic records and their epic stage presence. Their massive sound gets even bigger as its blaring over huge speakers, and the first 30 minutes of their set may be the most spiritual experience you’ve had all year. It’s an impossible toss up between giants of live music - where will you spend the evening before Pretty Lights takes the Sasquatch stage to wrap up Friday night?
Pickwick vs. Reptar
Great. You get to start your Saturday off with two great bands playing sets at exactly the same time for exactly the same amount of time. Just great. Seattle’s own Pickwick throw a little bit of everything into their musical blender for an eclectic blend of soul, rock, and Americana. On the other hand, rising indie rock band Reptar have been tearing up the scene with their mix of east coast indie and psychedelia.
Childish Gambino vs. AraabMuzik
From 5:30 to 6:30 on Saturday, hip hop fans are going to have to make a tough call. Rapper Childish Gambino goes on the Sasquatch stage for a 45 minute set at nearly the same time as hip hop engineer AraabMuzik. Donald Glover is a man of many talents, acting on Community, rapping as Childish Gambino, and making all of his own beats and doing most of his own production. Whether or not you’ve been a fan of his music thus far, his interactive and fun live show is very worthwhile (seriously, read the Consequence of Sound review of his show). On the other hand, AraabMuzik will be rocking his infamously instrumental beats in the Banana Shack. He’s been called a god of the MPC and his 2011 album Electronic Dream sampled everything from pop to techno with all of AraabMuzik’s shimmering snares and hi hats mixed in. The question then is: where are you going to be dancing?
Metric vs. Purity Ring
Around 6:40pm on Saturday, you are going to find yourself in a toss up between two great electronic acts. Metric goes on the Sasquatch stage from 6:40 to 7:40, while Purity Ring hits the Banana Shack 6:45 to 7:30. Metric blend electronic textures and drums with a late 90s rock vibe and have garnered hits with “Help I’m Alive” and “Gold Guns Girls”. Purity Ring are less rock, more dance, and their tunes like “Ungirthed” and “Lofticries” pull beats from hip hop roots and top them with futuristic synth and the soaring vocals of Megan James. It’s a tough call to say the least.
Sunday Night vs. Sunday Night
Really? Really, Sunday night?! Seriously, where do you even start? From 8pm on, you are going to have some serious anxiety going on because everything overlaps. Zola Jesus will be over on the Yeti stage showing off her haunting electronic tunes until 8:50. But over on the Sasquatch stage, you’ve got Beirut starting in on his multi-instrumentalist folk rock. That goes until 9:30, but you’ve got to get over to the Bigfoot stage for Little Dragon, who will have you dancing and slow-jamming to her chilled out blend of soul, funk, and electronica. But after that is where you have to make a truly heartbreaking call. James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem will be spinning a DJ set in the Banana Shack from 9:30 to 11:00 but Bon Iver will be going on the Sasquatch stage at 10:00 and going until 11:30. Murphy’s DJ sets are legendary, pulling from all of LCD’s roots in disco, funk, soul, and vintage dance, and if you have someone to dance with, you won’t want to miss a second of it. But Bon Iver are not to be missed by any means, and their live set takes Justin Vernon’s music to a whole new level. Impossible? Yes. But such is reality.
Feist vs. Shabazz Palaces vs. Shearwater
Yes, yes, all three of these bands go on at exactly the same time Monday evening around 6:00, but this one is really a matter of personal preference. Feist brought the pain with her new record Metals, making the edgiest and most personal record she’s ever made. The unique blend of folk, southern rock, and indie rock made for a great listen, and her live show is a testament to that. Seattle hip-hop act Shabazz Palaces blew us out of the water last year with their dark, experimental, yet-danceable record Black Up, and their live show is not to be missed. Plus, with THEESatisfaction playing only one night before, who knows? We might see an appearance by those ladies for “Swerve” or “Endeavors for Never”. Third, Austin band Shearwater (featuring former members of Okkervil River) have a new live lineup in support of new record Animal Joy and should not be missed. Sample some tracks below and make your decision.
Spiritualized vs. SBTRKT
Finally, at 8:00 on Monday, you must make one of your last tough decisions. Spiritualized continue to surprise us. They’ve been around since 1990 but they keep releasing better and better records. Their new one, Sweet Heart Sweet Light brings their typical space rock sound to a very 60s place. Over in the Banana Shack, SBTRKT, the masked avenger of electronic music, will be spinning tunes off of his acclaimed self-titled release. SBTRKT walks an interesting line between being too pop and too techno, making accessible and fun electronic music for almost anyone to dance to.
We hope our list has helped make some tough decision for you! Good luck with your Sasquatch! scheduling and see you this weekend!