It’s time again for Friday on My Mind. Our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.
It’s Sasquatch! Fest weekend! Exclamation points! Crammed carloads and campers are currently cruising to The Gorge Amphitheater in George, WA, for three days packed with many of the best bands currently touring. This is the premiere festival in the Northwest, and it has sold out well in advance the past several years (though a planned additional 4th of July weekend of Sasquatch did not fare so well this year and had to be canceled, which once again showed that you do not want to mix fireworks with music…unless it’s New Year’s Eve at the Space Needle and your friendly KEXP is doing the music… then it totally works). So, naturally, this week’s video playlist theme highlights artists that some 20,000 lucky ticket holders will get to enjoy. What with the kids, a busy life, and a decreasing tolerance for the unwashed drunken masses (See: John Richards 1991-1996), I personally will not be in attendance this year. Although my Sasquatch days may be behind me, there is no denying the caliber of talent that will grace those many stages at the stunning setting of the Gorge, stunning if the end of days hail storm doesn’t happen again. So, whether you be an armchair Sasquatch hunter like me, or you are looking for a preview playlist as you pack up your flip flops and choose your best ironic t-shirts, we invite you to check out this brief selection of our picks for Sasquatch bands you don’t want to miss.
Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun
The great thing about an outdoor music festival is getting to enjoy all that amazing music in a gorgeous location and be at one with the elements. The bad part? If you aren’t careful, those elements can kick your ass. That’s right kiddies, wear your sunscreen or you may just blister in the sun! Gordon Gano brings his re-formed troop of unreformable folk rockers Violent Femmes to the main stage at 5:50pm on Saturday, May 24th. I still remember the first week I moved to Seattle and it was Bumbershoot. I rushed down to the Seattle Center, ran to the stage the Femmes were playing at, rushed through the crowd and did a stage dive. The whole thing took like 5 minutes and they threw me out.
Foals – Moon (Live on KEXP)
To really enjoy the night sky, you have to get out of Seattle and head to the dry side of the mountains. Folks at The Gorge Amphitheater for Sasquatch! Fest will have a great opportunity to enjoy a massive music lineup where stars will dazzle on stage. But those who cast their eyes skyward after the music ends for the night may be treated to another kind of light show. IFLScience.com says May 24th will be peak time for an awesome meteor shower, “of the remnants of the comet P/209 LINEAR. The meteor shower is not going to last very long, but it could be quite dazzling with over 100 sightings per hour. The best view of the meteors will be right before dawn and will appear to be coming from the constellation Ursa Major.” What better to pair with some stargazing than this dreamy Foals track “Moon” captured live during an in studio performance at KEXP June 1st, 2013. This English rock band formed in 2005. They take the main stage at 7:15pm on Friday. And hey, if you are going to be camping with sweaty, dusty party people for the long weekend and you can’t take a shower to wash off the festival grit, perhaps a peaceful pre-dawn meteor shower is the next best thing. However if its cloudy and you STILL report back that you saw lights in the sky, it might just be the bad drugs you took.
Read more on the meteor shower HERE.
Elbow – New York Morning
When the morning sun hits your tent at Sasquatch! fest, you will likely try to deny the sudden and precipitous rise in temperature and roll over to try to squeeze in a few more precious minutes of sleep. But when the day can no longer be denied, you will unzip the flap and step out to realize you are in a very beautiful place. The Gorge makes every list of top outdoor venues for a reason, and sweeping views of the Columbia River will make you forget the punishment you gave your poor body the night before and energize you for another long and awesome day of music. The natural beauty that surrounds you is sure to be a stark contrast to waking up to another day in the city. Why not highlight that contrast with a tune about waking up in a much bigger city? The massively successful (and deservedly so) British rock band Elbow, together since 1997, plays Sunday at 5:50pm on the main stage.
Phosphorescent – Song for Zula (live on KEXP)
When you make it out to the big skies and expansive views of Eastern WA, you may well find yourself craving a bit of a country sound. Look to Matthew Houk, aka Phosphorescent to provide you with that taste of twang, while still very much rocking out. This Brooklyn based, Georgia formed band writes beautiful, rollicking, southern soaked songs. But the latest album Muchacho also takes on some more expansive and dreamy sounds, as heard in the single “Song for Zula” (which keeps it country by quoting a Johnny Cash lyric). Phosphorescent plays Friday the 23rd at on the Bigfoot stage at 6:35pm. I was once hanging out with Matthew before a session for an hour or so. The dude is so calm and happy that when he decided it was time to start recording the session the engineer says to no one, “You drop that guy into the middle east conflict and BOOM, world peace in minutes”
tUnE-yArDs – Water Fountain
Hopefully, you are headed to Sasquatch to have a good time. Hopefully you are also going to enjoy new music as well as old favorites. Merrill Garbus, aka tUnE-yArDs, has just released her new album Nikki Nack, and it is both unusual and a lot of fun. The lead single “Water Fountain” has an amazing Peewee’s Playhouse themed video. And her live sets make use of layered loops of rhythm that Garbus creates on the fly. If you are looking for a set that will allow you to realize you are actually far enough from Seattle to dance with abandon, this could be it. That’s right, you don’t actually have to be too cool for school out at The Gorge. So dance! Have fun! tUnE-yArDs play on the main stage Sunday, May 25th at 3:10pm.
Radiation City – Find it of Use (Live on KEXP/Doug Fir MusicfestNW)
One of the great things about the huge lineup at Sasquatch! is the ability to discover newer music. Do yourself a favor and check out all the stages and take in some talent you may not yet be aware of. Many northwest bands will be playing this weekend. One that should certainly be on your geiger counter is Portland’s Radiation City. The 5 piece plays tightly orchestrated retro-styled pop, perfect for swaying in the breeze on a sunny day. But some tunes take a darker turn as vocalist Lizzy Ellison lets loose. Radiation City plays the Yeti stage on Saturday, May 24th at 2pm.
Shelby Earl – Swift Arrows
Tear away from that carefully crafted camp site. It will be worth making your way in to the festival grounds to catch local and up and coming acts earlier in the day. Yes, it may be tempting to play corn hole and drink with the campground bros in the sun all afternoon. But save some energy for the real reason you are going to Sasquatch: the music! Local songstress extraordinaire Shelby Earl puts on a great live show, and is definitely worth checking out. She recently released a bizarre music video for her latest album’s title track, “Swift Arrows”. Earl plays the Narwhal stage Sunday, May 25th at 3pm.
Iska Dhaaf – Happiness (Live on KEXP)
One of the great local bands headed to Sasquatch this weekend is Iska Dhaaf. While this is a newer band, the duo of Nathan Quiroga and Benjamin Verdoes played for years in popular Northwest acts Mad Rad and Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, respectively, and spent some 3 years crafting their debut release Even the Sun Will Burn. Their sound straddles indie and surf rock, with a dash of punk thrown in. They are definitely worth catching live, so get there early. 1pm Friday, May 23rd on the Narwhal stage.
Fly Moon Royalty – Read My Lips (Live on KEXP)
Every festival, just like every Friday, needs a dose of soul. Fly Moon Royalty is just what the doctor ordered. Singer Adra Boo is sure to get your hips swaying, and her sultry performance is irresistible. Smile, shake off your troubles, and enjoy! 8pm Sunday, May 25th on the Narwhal stage.