I was not looking forward to Sasquatch!. The festival is now in its 10th year, and I hadn't gone since the second one, which had left a very bad taste in my mind. Typically, such compactions of the human being make me anxious as a human car bomb. But any worry was for naught: The highlights were high, and the lowlights were not very low.
Half of the draw for festivals like Sasquatch! is the spectacle—what happens when 25,000 people are corralled together in this small of a space, for this long, with these few resources. Late Sunday is the apex of this—sleep deprivation, drugs, and exhaustion take their hold on the sick and the weak, but there's still one more night to be had, and so they march on. Casualties fall left and right. Some go willingly, like the hippie-ish teen staring blankly as he was escorted to the ambulance. (Others didn't fare as well, like the girl who tried to hop the fence into the artist area during the Death Cab for Cutie set on Saturday night. Security guards nabbed her, and her terrifying screams cut through the vibe like a rusty razor.)
Beach House ended on "10 Mile Stereo," and when Victoria Legrand dragged out the word forever at the song's crescendo, her voice and the attendant melodies swelled into something so massive it pushed minds off the cliff behind the stage and into the Columbia River. But much of the fun came from the smaller stages. Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears tore the Yeti stage to pieces. Six of the members wore white button-up shirts, the bearded, longhaired bassist wore a white tee, and Lewis donned a white tee that said "Fuck This" on the front and slashed away at his fire-engine-red guitar. They ripped through originals and covered classics, including breakneck takes on "Louie Louie" and "Surfin' Bird." Somewhere, someone had procured dozens of rolls of toilet paper, which rained down on the crowd and stage until the latter was covered in white. The drummer played so hard, his glasses crept down his face and fell under the kick pedal. The bass man grabbed a smoke in between songs, but Lewis launched into the next one so fast he didn't have time to light it.
Not long after, Mad Rad executed an unsurprisingly brash and amusing set, Buffalo Madonna sporting a 1,000-yard death stare when he wasn't jumping into the crowd or climbing the speakers. The packed-in crowd chanted along to the choruses of "Party Mountain" and "My Product." "This song is about a 48-hour drug binge," P Smoov shouted as I walked up the hill to see Archers of Loaf, where there were far more white males playing air guitar than at any other set at the festival. Flawless takes on songs like "You and Me" and "Freezing Point" solidified that I had been all kinds of wrong about Sasquatch!. See you jerks next year!
Breaking news: Bumbershoot done real good with the rock this year! Red Fang, Davila 666, Thee Oh Sees, PS I Love You, Butthole Surfers, Broken Social Scene, and more—find the full lineup a here.