Part 2 of 3
Saturday, May 27
Saturday is where the festival really kicks into gear. With Sufjan Stevens‘s only scheduled summer date as well as surefire parties from the likes of Architecture in Helsinki and the Flaming Lips, planning ahead is the only way you can take in everything worth seeing.
Touted as “a soulful blend of everything that feels good,” Brett Dennen is actually pretty rad. The six-foot-five-inch tall redhead is more than another singer-songwriter at this year’s Sasquatch. Despite loose ties to Dave Matthews and John Mayer, his style typically follows the perkier rhythms of Paul Simon. And at a setting like Sasquatch, that can be a magical thing.
Yet another singer-songwriter channeling the likes of Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Elvis Perkins brings his take on the folk song to the Yeti stage on Saturday. Having lost his parents to AIDS and the September 11 terrorist attacks, Perkins’s songs celebrate life’s tragedies and blessings.
Following many stories of record deals gone awry, David Ford’s I’ve Sincerely Apologize for All the Trouble I’ve Caused was lost in the shuffle of the Sony-BMG merger in 2004 and instead released on a major indie. Despite gratuitous use of the late-’90s typewriter font, the record is a solid portrayal of Ford’s ability as a songwriter.
Crafting classic indie pop without frills is the task-at-hand for this young Seattle band. Boasting Elvis Costello and the Kinks as influences, the group features the talents of Sonny Votolato(whose brothers have caused a stir in the Blood Brothers and Waxwing, respectively). If anything, it will be worth watching Rocky Votolato, who performs on the Yeti stage on Sunday, get teary-eyed as he watches his little brother perform.
Another on the list of “honest-man” songwriters on the Sasquatch lineup, Korby Lenker adheres to a typical brand of story-telling roots-rock. With favorable reviews in Spin and Mojo, as well as the fact that his sixth album was called Bellingham, it’s no question why the organizers invited him to their Northwest-centric festival.
One of the two hip-hop acts at this year’s festival, Blue Scholars have some big shoes to fill. Unfortunately, the group’s mediocre blend of pseudo-spiritual emceeing atop straight-forward boom-bap is a little too generic to leave much of an impression. There’s a chance they could pull it off, but since you’re not going to the event for hip-hop, you won’t miss it if you don’t see it.
Another Seattle native, Tim Seely nearly made a name for himself as the frontman for the Actual Tigers, whose Capitol-released Gravelled & Green never really broke the ice. Returning as a richly textured singer-songwriter, his debut truly demonstrates his knack for off-kilter production. Incorporating homemade instruments, his live set should be equally appealing.
Like the Tragically Hip and Sam Roberts, Bedouin Soundclash enjoys chart-topping celebrity status in Canada. “When the Night Feels My Song,” the band’s Paul Simon-esque lead single, has crept into every crevice of Canada’s frost-bitten ears, even making its way onto a Zellers ad. If your idea of a good time is a full set of post-ska adult-alternative, then B.S. is for you.
Architecture in Helsinki‘s In Case We Die was some of the most fun music captured on record last year, and the band’s live show is no different. Welcoming the summer outdoors at the Northwest’s most serene outdoor venue, it would be criminal to miss Architecture in Helsinki’s brand of trumpet-ridden, weird pop. But be prepared to jet early, because the band’s set ends just as Sufjan‘s is beginning on the main stage.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks(http://www.stephenmalkmus.com/)
No Sasquatch is complete without the presence of at least one Northwest legend, and with no Doug Martsch or Isaac Brock in sight, it’s up to the former Pavement frontman to take charge. With his mighty band of Jicks, the last-minute addition of Stephen Malkmus to the lineup is another treat to the already dazzling array of talent at the festival.
If Everything All the Time proved anything, it was that Seattle’s Band of Horses understands quality indie rock. Formerly making waves as Carissa’s Weird, the Horses move through rock both grandiose and fragile. Based on the quality of their recordings, it’s a safe bet these Washington mainstays will bring the goods.
With three acclaimed LPs and years of touring under their belts, the members of Constantines have developed a sound both familiar and unlike anything else. Huge guitars, raspy vocals and pummeling drums characterize the gritty sentiments of a band whose live show is near legendary. It will be loud. It will be ballsy. It will be amazing.
As mentioned above, Sam Roberts is a mainstay in Canadian rock radio. Fortunately for Sasquatch attendees, his Northern fame is well deserved. Delivering raw rock ‘n’ roll in the vein of Tom Petty and Neil Young, Roberts has written some killer guitar jams that will be perfect for kicking back in the great outdoors.
This ex-skater gone acoustic troubadour who’s most notably linked to No Doubt’s Tom Dumont and touring buddy Jack Johnson developed his songs as he nursed a skateboarding injury. His straightforward, gentle style offers melodies just might provide the laid-back solace you need at this year’s Sasquatch.
The fruition of Zach Rogue‘s solo-outing-turned-band, Rogue Wave is an indie success story if there ever were one. After being ditched by his dot-com job a few years ago, Rogue wrote and recorded Out of the Shadows on his own, had it picked up by Sub Pop, and has since enjoyed critical acclaim. This will definitely be worth witnessing.
Although word-of-mouth has often hyped this band as amazing live, the question remains as to whether it will suit your fancy. A college-rock favorite since the late ’90s, this bluesy jam-band has yet to release a truly wonderful album. But if you’re feeling adventurous, the hype is certainly there on Gomez’s live show.
Truly the reason to come to Sasquatch in 2006, Sufjan Stevens‘s Saturday performance is his only scheduled summer appearance and his first at a festival. This performance by one of today’s greatest songwriters will likely be the festival’s benchmark. This isn’t technically a part of his Illinoisemaker’s tour, so we can only hope that Stevens will touch on material from his previous albums as well as some new songs.
Sam Beam produces some fantastic work in the studio, but it’s questionable how that will translate in an outdoor summer environment. Sullen and introspective, the drunken din of beer-gardeners and their babbling buddies might detract from Iron & Wine‘s quieter nuances.
Always a show-stealer with the New Pornographers, Neko Case’s solo set is equally haunting and powerful. Off the heels of her acclaimed Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Case wowed audiences on recent tour dates across the States. Always backed by a bevy of talented musicians, her presence at Sasquatch is crucial.
In Canada, the Tragically Hip is the biggest band known to man. The collective consciousness of an entire generation of hockey-loving Molson-guzzlers flock to the band’s brand of oft-cheesy blues-rock. Granted, these guys have written some truly classic songs, such as “Ahead by a Century,” but their largest appeal lies in the Canadian working class. And with the fest taking place mere hours from the Canadian border, their crowd will not be short of obnoxious hosers.
The beauty of Sasquatch is that with so many bands playing, there is ample opportunity to satisfy your curiosity about an artist you’re on the fence about. I’ve never really made a decision on the Shins. Fortunately, Saturday’s main performance will demonstrate the band’s abilities in its purest form.
At War With the Mystics isn’t that great, but the Flaming Lips’ set at Sasquatch is guaranteed to be a total party. No matter what thematic hi-jinks are involved, there is no question that Wayne Coyne and the gang will provide a good time that’s heavy on the confetti.
Carrying the torch that Dave Matthews wielded in his prime, Ben Harper is a demigod in the world of frat brothers who are just learning to let their hair grow a little. Sure, he’s got a fan base and a couple of good songs, but he’s the last performer after a day packed with great performers. There will likely be something better to do during his set, like sleep.
Prefix feature: Sasquatch Festival 2006 Preview (Part 1 of 3)
Prefix feature: Sasquatch Festival 2006 Preview (Part 3 of 3)