Well, friends, Monday was the last day of the Sasquatch Festival, and our pal 'Squatch made sure it was an eventful one, particularly on the main stage. Up-and-coming indie-popsters Grouplove started the day off jamming through a series of their sun-drenched sugar-pop songs (including a rather awesome Whitney Houston cover!), making cute comments about imagining the crowd as "one giant best friend" and generally throwing themselves around the stage.
Meanwhile, the crew had pulled up the shades behind the stage, revealing a breathtaking view of the canyon behind that provided the perfect backdrop for effortlessly badass blues-rocker Gary Clark Jr. and sharp-edged indie poppers Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (whose percussionist did not stop smiling the whole set). As the mid-afternoon sun warmed the crowd, Feist took the stage clad in a huge, wide-brimmed hat and accompanied by three backup singers (or maybe they were acolytes, or cult members?) wearing "dresses" that looked to have been fashioned from burlap sacks.
And by nightfall? Well, the "D" rose again when Jack Black, Kyle Gass and a giant, inflated, winged cock-hawk (which, um, exploded white confetti at the end of their set) battled the Devil, jammed with Sasquatch himself and generally thrashed the crap out of the main stage with what was quite possibly the fest's rockingest set (seriously). And did we mention it stayed beautifully warm almost all day, a rarity at the Gorge this early in the season? Great last day, Sasquatch. Good work. So let's play the festival wrap-up game, in which we determine Sasquatch's winners and losers, biggest trends and most prominent themes.
Act Who Drew a Way Bigger Audience than They Normally Would, Thanks to Fest Migration Patterns
Nominees: Beck. Beirut. Childish Gambino. Santigold. Bon Iver.
Sure, the sound isn't always great, and the trek there can be arduous, and, hey, no one likes port-a-potties. But the thing about playing a festival is that artists who are not arena acts can draw massive, arena-sized audiences because, well, those audiences don't have anywhere else to be. All of our nominees made the best of their unexpected crowds, but there can be only one winner.
And the Winner Is: Beck. I mean, do these young kids even know who Beck is?! Actually, the ultimate electro-weirdo seemed kind of freaked out for the first several minutes of his set (during which, however, he charged through several big hits, including "Loser," like he was ripping off a bandage). But once he launched into selections from Sea Change, he settled into his groove and sang straight to the serious fans.
Act Who Drew a Smaller Audience Than We Expected
Nominees: Feist. fun. Gary Clark Jr. Jamey Johnson. The Shins.
The other thing that happens at a festival? People don't have anywhere to be, so sometimes they just stay there and don't rush off to hear yet another band they really, really wanted to see! Don't get us wrong: All these acts still got a decent crowd, especially when you consider the various factors of genre and timing and audience that were at play. But we do wish more people had gone to see Gary Clark Jr.
And the winner is ... fun. Look, we know this is an indie-focused fest, but these guys are both indie-bred and veritable pop stars, so we figured the kids would come running to see them. (Sidenote: They were, indeed, quite fun.)
The Act We Most Regret Missing
Nominees: John Reilly & Friends. Kurt Vile. St. Vincent. STRFKR. The Civil Wars.
The other other thing that happens at a festival? Even if you try, even if you run, even if you don't just accidentally fall asleep after drinking too much, you just can't see everything you want to at a big festival.
And the winner is ... John Reilly & Friends. Yep, the actor. The moon-faced, curly-mopped dude we know and love from such films as Step-Brothers, Dewey Cox, Talledega Nights and Boogie Nights has assembled himself an old-timey band and they played to a massive crowd at the fest's smallest stage. We were only able to catch the last couple songs, but you know what? Not only can Reilly seriously sing (which we learned from Chicago), but he seems to be every inch as affable and endearing a musician as he is an actor. (Sidenote: He was later spotted rocking out in the wings at Tenacious D's shows.)
Most Obnoxious Festival Fashion Trend
Nominees: Full-body costumes. Indian headdresses. Body paint. "War paint" face makeup. Wandering around in bikinis and nothing else.
Kids at festivals will do anything to get in your photos. Don't believe us? Watch our video footage.
And the winner is ...: Indian headdresses. People, we've talked about this. Knock that racist crap off. It is not cool.
Best Fully Invested Group Costume
Nominees: The group of 30 friends all dressed as variations of Waldo. The Fraggles (who walked around mime-spanking strangers). The '70s Prom Tux Bro Crew (ruffled shirts and all!). The speakeasy group, who were all dressed in Roaring '20s gear (suspenders, vests, flapper dresses).
We don't know when exactly it became the thing to come to festivals completely in costume (especially when you're camping!), but with its mild temps, Sasquatch is especially well suited for it.
And the winner is ... The speakeasy group was cute and the Fraggles were everywhere, but we're going to have to go with the '70s Prom Tux Bro Crew. They looked good and the investment was major. Plus, you know they got some serious action.
Act That Probably Isn't Best Consumed in a Festival Setting
Nominees: Shabazz Palaces. Bon Iver. The Roots. Todd Barry (and most comedians). Awesome Tapes from Africa.
Some artists just don't gel with the sweaty, drunken masses and the whole dusty, sun-baked battleground setting, much as we love them.
And the winner is ... Shabazz Palaces. We dig the deep, spiritual grooves this Seattle hip-hop outfit is putting down, but a seamless set of their complex, thoughtful compositions with no breaks, no banter and no crowd interaction didn't get much of a reaction from the sleepy audience.
Most Major Celebrity Sighting
Nominees: Jack Black backstage at the comedy stage. John C. Reilly backstage at Tenacious D. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein (aka Portlandia) backstage at tUnE-yArDs.
And the winner is ... none of the above. Sasquatch is no Coachella or even Lollapalooza. It's not really the kind of festival where you see the rich and the beautiful intermingling with the commoners. But you know what? Sasquatch don't need no stinking celebrities, because it's got the biggest star of them all: the Gorge itself. OK, that's very cheesy, we know. But this place is truly out-of-this-world gorgeous. Just ask any of the artists who played here this weekend, almost all of whom proclaimed it the most beautiful place they've ever played. If you ever get a chance to go to a show at the Gorge, take it. Trust us. It's worth the drive. It's even worth the port-a-potties.