Going native, bro.
  • Liz Hill
  • "Going native, bro."

I have a confession, one that’s difficult for a 26 year old Seattle native, who happens to cover local music, to make: Before this weekend, I had never been to the Gorge. Not for Dave Matthews Band when I was a sandals-and-socks rocking high schooler, not for any prior Sasquatches!, nothing. To be honest I was (and remain) a relatively broke dude, and couldn’t wrap my head around paying upwards of $300 to camp around a bunch of festival bro’s, inebriate myself to oblivion and stink to high heaven after a long weekend of greasy food, dancing in three-day-old socks, and generally questionable hygiene.

So, with that in mind, here are some quick observations about the scene at the Gorge on Friday:
-Six packs of Blue Moon cost around $17 after tax at the on-site “convenience store.”
-Fashion-wise, for the boys: Tank tops with “ironic” slogans, ranging from “Ratchet Hippies” to “Chance is 21 Now.” For the ladies: crop tops, printed pants and soooo many Converse sneakers.
-People take this festival shit seriously. The crew camping kitty-corner to us brought a fold-out beer pong table, a set of golf clubs for impromptu putt putt, and a cooler the size of my bedroom. As I write this the lady in the Winnebago across the road is asking her party who’s in the mood for a Bloody Mary. It is 8 o’clock in the morning. She’s got three takers so far. As a follow-up, morning drinking is not only accepted, it is encouraged. People wake up in hot-as-balls tents at 7 AM, drink their liquid weight in alcohol, then siesta until the good music starts (generally around three in the afternoon.)

As for the music, De La Soul predictably crushed their set, to a crowd of mostly indifferent youngsters. The highlight for me (already with Bruce Willis’ classic “I’m too old for this shit” on repeat in my head) was Posdnous asking the crowd: “Let me hear from the over-35-crowd. Don’t be shy!” At the conclusion, De La finally gave the kids what they wanted: “Feel Good, Inc.”, their collaboration with Gorillaz, with its trademark maniacal ad-libs and over-caffeinated flows prompting the crowd to actually dance.

The real breakout star of the evening was Chicago whiz-kid Chance the Rapper, blasting through the highlights of his justly acclaimed Acid Rap mixtape and proclaiming “This is the biggest crowd I ever played for!” with genuine, infectious enthusiasm. Chance is an intriguing character in the new hiphop landscape, a yelping, wide-eyed philosopher who came up in Chi-town’s spoken word scene, with beats that, with a full backing band and stadium-size speaker systems, bump just as hard as any Chief Keef trap anthem. And the crowd ate it up, singing along to the heart-on-sleeve ballads and chanting every word to the party jams.

With regards to the much-hyped Outkast show, all I have to report is: don’t trust gyros made by 11-year-olds. I’m sure my esteemed colleagues have much more insightful observations… Til tomorrow, your intrepid fest virgin is signing off.