Day Three of Sasquatch! Music Festival and the sun was out in full force. Flower headbands and bikinis were de rigeur, as were hotpants so short we dubbed them “cheek peekers.” We slathered on our sunscreen and headed into the campground for our busiest day yet.
If festival-goers were tired, they didn’t show it. Wherever we looked, there were groups dancing, caked in three days of dirt and mud mixed with body paint and glitter. Glow sticks protruded from bags, clothes, dreadlocks and, despite the heat, there were still a fair few full-body animal costumes.
The day’s lineup certainly held plenty to be excited about. Indie-inspired hip-hoppers Chiddy Bang were set to grace the Main Stage, where Beirut would also later be appearing. The crowds were out in droves for Deer Tick and Seattle-based Beat Connection–the latter of which played their feel-good electro to a packed Banana Shack.
Read our reviews from Sunday below…
Brooklyn-based indie trio Hospitality started off our afternoon with their cheery indie pop. Kicking off their set with the incredibly catchy “Friends of Friends,” singer Amber Papini’s lilting voice carried the band through the majority of songs off their self-titled debut, as well as new track “Fidelity.” Hospitality make good music to drive to, and their tunes perfectly matched the beach-like atmosphere floating through the Gorge on Sunday afternoon.
Hometown hip-hop group Dyme Def were the early highlight in the unfamiliar sunshine soaked climes of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle MCs Brainstorm, S.E.V. and Fearce Villan took to the stage with a ferocious energy that soon had the crowd bumping, as they urged those watching to “bring it in Sasquatch.” The group rapped over a selection of beats, including Tyga’s “Rack City,” before asking the audience to make some noise for the Beastie Boys. They then dedicated a re-imagining of “Paul Revere” to MCA. Hip hop with a conscience and a sense of humor, Dyme Def transitioned deftly from their Adam Yauch tribute into a more comical performance. After remixing a “Pinky And the Brain” theme song, they helped a young audience member ask her crush to high school prom on-stage. The rap threesome consummated the ceremony with a heart-warming rendition of “Let It Be,” which later merged into “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)”-sampling “The Game Needs Me.”
The day took an electronic turn with Tycho’s downtempo beats. Taking to stage with guitar in hand, Tycho was backed up by a bassist and drummer, breaking the trend of laptop musicians in the Banana Shack. Full of swirling melodies and slow builds, Tycho played several tracks off his 2011 release, Dive. The moniker of San Franciscan Scott Hansen, it’s no surprise that Tycho’s set was backed up by dreamy, sun-drenched visuals. From Women walking across dunes to sunspots melting into sound waves, Hansen’s graphics perfectly complemented the hazy afternoon.
British DJ and producer Darren Williams, better known as Star Slinger, crafted hip-hop and electronica into 45 mintues of sheer perfection. His set started with a distinctly 2-step/UK garage feel, before moving into a new song “Ladies in the Back,” which featured a chopped and screwed vocal eschewing the motto: “Slow and sexy wins the race.” Starslinger blew the tent’s proverbial roof off with his refix of Rihanna’s “We Found Love” which quickly segued into reggae jams. Drawing from a wide range of inspirations, he delved deep into RnB by mixing Bone Thugs-n-Harmony “Crossroads” into Usher’s “Climax,” before finishing off with a dessert course: Nicki Minaj’s “Beez in the Trap” crossed into Gucci Mane’s “Party Animal.” The audience left his set dazed, confused and utterly blown away.
The building crowd for a tardy Zola Jesus, stood anxiously for Nika Roza Danilova, ironically clapping to the beat of the sound-checking drumkit. Peroxide-blonde frontwoman Danilova took the stage twenty minutes late dressed in a white full-length dress, looking every inch the grunge diva aginst her black-clothed band. She wasted no more time, as her throaty wail echoed through “Stridulum” and “Sea Talk” among other songs from Conatus and Stridulus II. Just as tUnE-yArDs did on Staurday, Zola Jesus instructed us to turn around and look at the sunset. “Look at that,” said Danilova. “That’s nature. We are that.” Soon after, she clambered over the barrier and ran through the crowd, microphone in hand, finding one with the crowd and, uh, nature.
Little Dragon’s performance was a departure from the usual, featuring extended intros and a very electronic setlist geared toward shuffling feet and dust clouds. Including tracks from all three of their albums, they kicked off with an extended jam into “Ritual Union.” The crowd was soon bobbing along to a dramatic vocals in “Little Man,” and a surprisingly down-tempo rendition of “Brush the Heat.” Vocalist Yukimi Nagano charmed the crowd with her adorable stage persona, giggling as the band had to restart their final song. “We play everything live,” Yukimi shrugged. “Shit happens.” And nobody minded one bit.
Coinciding with Bon Iver, LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy DJ set was one of the biggest trade-offs of the festival. We’d already seen Murphy once, and we hadn’t been impressed. Expectations were high, and Murphy attempted to meet them by playing plenty of disco and rare vinyl cuts. And he did not disappoint, exactly, but the hour-and-a-half mix dragged it’s feet through excruciatingly slow builds that exhausted the already-fatigued festival attendees. On tired ears Murphy’s set sounded–dare we say it–boring. Unmasked from his role in one of the most important indie bands of the decade, Murphy still has a lot to prove as a DJ. Given another chance, perhaps we should have been waving our lighters to Bon Iver instead of lulling away in the Banana Shack.
-Natalie and Erin
Treeswingers’ Top Three
Dyme Def – Let It Be (download)
Rihanna- We Found Love (Star Slinger Refix) (download)
Little Dragon – Brush the Heat (download)
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