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Promises, promises.

Ah yes the life a new blogger. So hopeful. So carefree.

Naively, I thought I’d have time last week to give prompt and accurate reporting on Sasquatch! 2006, but my reality is deadlines for www.newtox10.com – and the horrifying threat that Marko’s German Shepherd, Tacoma, will rend me asunder for not meeting those deadlines!

So here we are. Nearly a week after the blog was supposed post, and you’ve no doubt read all about Sasquatch! 2006 by now, but I’ll give you my details anyway.

Credit where credit’s due.
First off. I neglected to give credit to the right people for making Sasquatch! a fantastic event. Yes, KEXP did play a hand in sponsorship, but so did all of these wonderful people:

Da Kine
Easy Street Records
Filter Magazine
103.7 FM The Mountain
107.7 FM The End
MSN Video
Coors Light Live

The campground in particular was sponsored by Tobacco Smokes You. And per my mention in the last post I should give some credit to them for a job well done. Camping was much cleaner than I had imagined it would be – even with respect to all the mud. Port-a-potties were well placed throughout the campground and lines were never longer than a few people. My friend and I stayed for two nights, and I never once waited to use a bathroom. There was some unforeseen weather that made things muddy, and quite a few cars got stuck in puddles, but that just provided more entertainment. We actually watched the same girl fall over on her scooter three times in the same mud puddle before the end of day two. By Sunday, the campground had been plowed for excess mud and moving cars went lickety-split.


That's the sound of 20,000 people jumping in mud puddles at the Gorge in George, Washington! Ok, it was actually pretty miserable for an hour or so…

The 2006 Sasquatch! Music Festival was far more intense than expected, but nearly an hour of pounding hale, gales of freezing wind, gigantic pits of death-defying mud, and showers couldn’t keep the faithful from seeing the best music this summer will bring to the Seattle area.

Here’s the rundown:

Rogue Wave and Gomez?
My friend and I arrived at the Gorge at noon, but by the time we got to our campsite and set up tents we had already missed Rogue Wave and Gomez, which was a sad state of affairs indeed. Their high placement in the lineup was a disappointment considering that we later suffered through Tragically Hip.

We started out listening to the stately sounds of Sufjan Stevens (pun very much intended). I’ve since listened to more of his music and thoroughly enjoyed it, but the vibe he had that day didn’t seem to match the crowd or the sunshine. It was beautiful weather for such oddly cynical lyrics. So after just the first song we made our way up to the Yeti stage for Slender Means.

Slender Means
I’d seen these gents in Seattle back in November and was pleasantly surprised to find that their presence has improved even beyond what it was before. They’re pop/rock with positive, contemplative lyrics about love and life. And although they have that unmistakably pop/rock appeal, their sound isn’t like any other young band. Not Killers enough to be an indie cliché, not digital enough for Ben Gibbard. They’re just good pop. Josh Dawson and Sonny Votoloto kept the hail away with their harmonies, and the crowd was a perfect size. Large enough to create energy, small enough to keep things relaxed. We laid in the sun, lulled by their voices. Probably the most peaceful part of the day. I’ll be seeing them in Seattle again this Friday at Neumo’s.

Neko Case
Next Stop: The main stage. We got down to the main stage just in time to see the set change between Iron and Wine and Neko Case. Hers was a voice I’d never heard before, and wow. To hear her tiny body booming such powerfully crystal clear, bluegrass influenced melodies made my day for a whopping three songs. Just as Neko peeled into a fast-tempo cut the wind picked up, dark clouds masked the sunshine, and Mother Nature played ping-pong with Sasquatch. At first, the effect on Neko’s set was stunning. Her volume increased, and gusts of wind danced with her hair like waves of electricity. Until the hail started. Neko and her band were very gracious about giving up their set, but my friend and I were disappointed. She came back outside to check on the crowd and reassure us that the show would go on, but unfortunately it went on with out her.

Mother Nature
At this point the weather took over. For half an hour we stood in pounding, marble-sized hale, rain and wind. Soaking, steaming, stinking, the huddled groups of people in the pit waited. And we waited. A lot of us were afraid that if we tried to go back to the campground we’d be denied reentry (per signs at the front gate). So we stuck it out. Then there came the realization that so many of us had waited in the bad weather that it getting your money’s worth for that ticket was on everyone’s mind.

Keeping Our Spot
My friend and I had had intentions of going back to the Yeti stage for Common Market. No longer. We decided that since we were 10 feet from the stage, and we’d been there all day, the main stage was our territory. Give up the opportunity to see the Flaming Lips that close up? No way. We’d lose the spot. And what a price to pay…

Tragically Hip
Next up in the lineup on the main stage was Tragically Hip. I don’t have much to say about this group other than that their performance was tragic. Very tragic. Their sound smacked of sleazy lounges and bad cocktails. Canadians… The things I’ll listen to for the Flaming Lips.

The Shins
Although I enjoyed the chance to finally see the Shins live, they were visibly tired and altogether anticlimactic. I found myself wishing I was listening to their album instead.

Ben the Party Crasher
Ben. I was not at all pleased with Ben Harper. His set was bumped up ahead of the Flaming Lips due to his “time schedule.” That’s strike one. Strike two? A two hour set. TWO HOURS. As talented as that man is, and as genuinely thrilled as I was with the first 45 minutes of his mind-blowing performance. I did not need to stand soggy watching Ben Harper for two hours.

But wait. There’s more. He was a little arrogant to boot. His stage presence played as though he were the only one at the Gorge. He rarely talked to the crowd, asked us if we were still suffering, gave kudos to the other bands performing. He was just sort of convincing me that he actually was the only person who suffered through the weather that day. Bad form Ben.

THE FLAMING LIPS (Yes Dave, I’m yelling at your grandma)
By now it’s roughly 12 AM. My whole day has been building up to this point. (My whole LIFE has been building up to this point. I love the Flaming Lips, and this was my first live Lips show.) The pressure was palpable. Gradually, as Harper progressed, more and more people had crowded into the main stage area. The colder it got outside, the tighter we packed, until we were sardined chest-to-back-to-chest-to-shoulder-to-armpit-to-chin. At some point I came to realize that my legs weren’t even supporting my body anymore – I was held up by the force of people around me. But still no one was dancing. Until the Flaming Lips started.

Ben left the stage (thank God) and the lips began their 45-minute stage setup. I was annoyed and cold, but I knew something good was coming. Then came the aliens. And Santa Clauses. And the gigantic projector screen. Oh my god what are they going to do to us? Finally things got underway with an Instrumental piece from At War With The Mystics and Wayne Coyne walking over the crowd in a gigantic plastic bubble. He passed right over my head and I actually touched his knee – yep that’s right! After that utter musical chaos ensued. There was sound everywhere, dancing, singing, confetti, silliness. The benefits of watching the Lips last were that only their fans stayed for the set, and their stage time was considerably longer than it would have been had they played ahead of Harper. Their show was one part circus, one part independent film, one part acid trip, and five parts confetti streamer. INCREDIBLE.

We jammed out to their cover of Bohemian Rhapsody first, followed quickly by Yoshimi ans the Yeah Yeah Yeah Song, finally swinging into the new album. By far the biggest party at the Gorge in 2006 was thrown by The Flaming Lips that night. Thanks guys!


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"He rarely talked to the crowd," you are lucky, I hate when bands ramble between songs I'm there to hear them play music not give some generic cliche "Are you ready to rock", "How ya doing" or that inane thing where they split the crown and see which side can cheer the loudest.

There is a funny simpsons episode where the guy in the band has to look at the back of his guitar so he can remember which town he is even in. "Hello.." looks at back of guitar "Springfield!"

To any band that plays live: Quit the chatter just play your damn songs. If I wanted talk I'd put on talk radio or call one of my friends that can't stop blabbing.


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