This year’s Sasquatch! Launch Party was a pretty spectacular event from beginning to end. It goes without saying that the two minutes right before Cold War Kids came on made the whole night. Seriously, the lineup for Sasquatch! this year is incredible beyond words. Both weekends are going to be a spectacle and it goes without saying that you are going to have at least a half dozen anxiety attacks trying to pick between stages and set times. But STG went all out to make the launch party a grandiose event in and of itself. After all, there’s no better way to set off Seattle’s biggest musical party of the year than with another great party.
For starters, they really couldn’t have picked a better host for the evening than John Roderick. Leader of The Long Winters and a Sasquatch! veteran himself (he’s played three separate years), Roderick knew exactly who he was talking to at Neptune and knew how to play his ridiculous sense of humor to the best of them. Every band’s introduction was an over-the-top buildup followed by some kind of underhanded joke that only allowed the band’s to come on stage cracking up. He and his minions threw Skittles at the crowd to celebrate once more the Seahawks victory this past weekend and then blamed them for the horrible cleanup needed on stage before Cold War Kids entered. Always a wry smile bordering on crass, Roderick kept the festivities and the laughs rolling with ease.
Seattle folk rock band The Cave Singers will make an appearance at Sasquatch! this year, but to prep us for the fun, Pete & Derek brought a full batch of brand new tunes to the Neptune to kick the night off. Pete Quirk’s voice could silence a shopping mall on Black Friday. Over dueling guitars, his smokey musings cut the air like a knife, bringing full attention to the stage even for those unfamiliar with Cave Singers completely. The duo seemed pretty pleased with how these six new tunes sounded in front of people for the first time – both were all smiles after each cut. There was definitely no better way to open the evening than with these two wonderful songwriters showcasing some brand new material in front of an excited crowd.
Pete & Derek (of Cave Singers):
LA band Sir Sly kept the energy going with a strong set of their electronically driven rock sound. The band is touring around with St. Lucia now and it was exciting to see them together at the launch party here tonight. Tunes like “Ghost” and “Gold” have been getting quite a bit of buzz over the last year, and it was no surprise to find the crowd so receptive to them here. With a drum set pushed out in front of the stage arch, explosive toms and snare filled out Neptune with ease. Sir Sly introduced themselves to the Neptune tonight wonderfully.
Brooklyn synth pop band St. Lucia are approximately twenty-five percent more 80s than the 80s themselves. Tune after tune tonight felt like the soundtrack to a John Hughes movie you must have missed between Ferris Bueller and Sixteen Candles. They had the look down perfectly too. Jean-Philip Grobler had a fan pointed at his pseudo-feathered hair for the duration, giving him a look straight out of Purple Rain, while his band showed off elsewhere with synthesizers, copious amounts of percussion, and sweltering bass lines. Songs like “Closer Than This” and “When The Night” are powerhouses of inspirational, danceable nu wave magic, and Neptune wouldn’t have it any other way at all. We’ll see St. Lucia again at the second weekend of Sasquatch! and we couldn’t be more excited.
Cold War Kids didn’t have any trouble holding people’s attention after the lineup announcement. Nathan Willett and the gang have a full four LPs now chalk full of brutal, riveting indie rock with a grunt force unlike any other, and it captivated fans new and old from the get go of their forty minute set. The set spanned the years between 2007’s classic Robbers & Cowards and their refined, captivating 2013 effort Dear Miss Lonelyhearts with ease. Willett met rapturous applause after their first track with the shrill, animalistic response of “I’ve Seen Enough” off Loyalty To Loyalty. “How’s it gonna feel when summer ends?” sang the Neptune in perfect cacophony. Similar insanity broke out with the Cold War Kids breakthrough tunes “Hang Me Out To Dry” and “We Used To Vacation”. “Louder Than Ever” from Mine Is Yours played at about 10 BPM too fast and it was blistering. And the Lonelyhearts ballad “Tuxedoes”
garnered just as much somber affection as their classic closer “Hospital Beds”. Altogether, Cold War Kids proved their high placement on the weekend one Sasquatch! lineup and gave us a taste of the wonders we’ll witness this Memorial Day. Altogether, a wonderful kickoff to Sasquatch! season.
Cold War Kids: