Review: Day 3 at Sasquatch Music Festival

Staff writerMay 26, 2014 

Sasquatch 2014

Queens of the Stone Age perform on the third and final day of the annual Sasquatch music festival Sunday, May 25, 2014, in George.


Everyone has their own opinions on what makes for a memorable day of Sasquatch. Some believe that it's a chance of a lifetime headliner. Others think that it's a day filled with warm temps and unceasing sunshine.

But what really makes an unforgettable day at the Gorge’s perennial Memorial Day festival is a day where no matter the time, there’s always a mind-blowing performance to be found. The final day this year was one of those days.

Starting promptly at 1 p.m., the first few hours of the third day were stacked with some of the best female offerings that Sasquatch had provided yet. Seattle’s fun loving punk rock outfit Tacocat jammed out to a jaunty set of tunes and kept the audience rapt with a combination of irreverent humor and a hurricane of bubbles that swirled in front of them. They were immediately followed on the Yeti stage by their Hardly Art label mates La Luz who kept it cool and breezy with an engaging display of their modern surf-rock sound.

The bevy of fantastic women performers continued with another epic one-two punch on the main stage starting with bona fide punk rock ass-kicker Brody Dalle. Tune-Yards kept things thumping shortly thereafter and got the crowd moving with her one of a kind, drum-driven world music inflected sound. Dozens of people burst into a legitimate full-tilt run down the gorge as she kicked into her song "Gangsta."

The Seattle-area nonprofit groups Reel Grrls and Rain City Rock Camp have been at the festival all week educating concertgoers on their programs designed to get women more involved in the cultural arts. It really was an encouraging sign to see so many women onstage, and even more encouraging to see such engaged audiences gathered for them.

Shortly before 7 p.m. the ominous gray skies hanging over the Gorge began to let slip sharp drops of rain on the crowd below. It seemed as though, at any minute, a real storm was going to break out, and then Haim took the stage and drove the gray skies away purely with the power of their rock. OK, that last part might be an exaggeration, but the California sister act did put on one of the most charismatic performances all weekend.

Just before launching into their hit "The Wire," bassist Este Haim declared, “I know it's the last night, but I think we should rage!"

And rage they did. Their riff-driven brand of rock feels like a throwback to a bygone era, but the energy that they bring to their music and to their live show feels decidedly fresh and now.

After Haim had finished, the Bigfoot stage flooded for those hoping to catch Sixto “Sugar Man” Rodriguez. The '60s folk singer came to prominence by way of the Academy Award-winning documentary of his life. Not many people seemed to recognize his collection of songs, but danced and nodded along just the same. That all changed, however, when he strummed out the intro to his signature hit, "Sugar Man," which evolved into a mass sing-along. At its conclusion, the singer noted the song's affiliation with hard drugs and made care to mention that it was a “descriptive song, not a prescriptive song.”

Kid Cudi held down the penultimate slot on the main stage and kept the crowd rapt with his blend of smooth R&B balladry and bass heavy thumpers. Between songs like “Erase Me” and “Just What I Am,” there’s just something about the way Cudi sings and raps over soundscapes so emotionally illustrative that it almost forces you to pause and reflect about your life.

All good things come to an end, and such was true of Sasquatch. This year, alt-rock royalty Queens of the Stone Age were given the task of closing things out, and they brought it. Just two songs into their set, they sent the entire Gorge into a flailing frenzy by busting out their “No One Knows" from the band's early aught classic "Songs for the Deaf."

It wasn’t the only classic the group busted out; they also let loose with “Little Sister” and “Burn the Witch." Not that they necessarily need to rely on older material. Just last year, the group released "…Like Clockwork," which went on to become the band's first number one; “My God is the Sun” and “I Sat by the Ocean” from the album went over huge with the audience.

The group’s front man, Josh Homme, appeared to be in good spirits as the set progressed. He even allowed the crowd to fill in on the raunchy refrain to “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” and seemed genuinely pleased with the result. By the end, when they hit everyone with the old standby “Go With the Flow,” they had firmly proved why they are considered one of the greatest rock acts of the 21st century.

And then another Sasquatch was in the books. In our preview of the festival this year we wrote that given the lineup, it had the potential to be the best yet. By every measure that potential was not only fulfilled, it was exceeded.

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