George, WA. – The Memorial Day Weekend fun continues as Sasquatch!, the premier music festival in the Pacific Northwest kicks off it’s second day.
After a strong opening Friday, day two of the 12th Sasquatch! Festival had some big shoes to fill. Thankfully, Saturday’s artists did not disappoint, with some diverse new bands (many from right here in the Pacific Northwest) holding their own against bigger names like Violent Femmes, Neko Case, M.I.A., Tyler, the Creator, and Cut Copy.
Seattle quintet New Lungs rocked the Narwhal stage’s first act of the day. Though the band’s Facebook page describes itself as “experimental emo,” there are touches of post-punk, indie pop, and prog-rock in their music. As a group they play off each other well, feeding off drummer Rob Granfelt’s energy and lead singer Wes Gonzalez’s versatile and passionate vocals. Strong musicianship is also present, with complex song structures, able guitar playing, and even the use of a violin bow on one of the electric guitars. New Lungs performed songs from their 2013 EP Lanterns, as well as some new stuff that will appear on the album they’ll be recording later this summer and following up with a tour.
Hailing from Portland, Radiation City moved the Yeti crowd with their indie dream-pop and electro-doo wop. While experimental and futuristic, and with touches of Beach House and Arcade Fire, the five-piece’s music is also a throwback to 1950’s pop groups, California surf rock, and classic rock. Lead singer Elisabeth Ellison’s soaring vocals were complemented by multi-instrumentalist Patti King’s pure harmonies and layers. Playing around with dissonance and unsuspecting rhythms, their songs highlighted strong musical knowledge. One crowd favorite was new song “Butter,” which should appear on Radiation City’s upcoming album later this year.
Back after playing Sasquatch in 2012, Seattle hip-hop artist SOL was one of the most anticipated acts on the Bigfoot stage. “We want SOL! We want SOL!” the crowd chanted before he took the stage with his band, The Zillas. Immediately, he started a party with his energetic presence and had the audience bouncing up and down and throwing their hands in the air with him. But perhaps the highlight of SOL’s performance was crowdsurfing on a raft during “Jump In”: “Life is sink or swim,” he rapped as festival goers held him up.
Chastity Belt is a badass, feminist four-piece band from Seattle (with roots from Walla Walla, where the members met at Whitman College) whose tongue-in-cheek, biting, and all-too-honest lyrics about sex, promiscuity, partying, and more are fleshed out beautifully with shimmering guitar, understated (in a good way) bass, and strong rhythms. Frontwoman and songwriter Julia Shapiro leads the group’s don’t-give-a-shit stage presence, while maintaining crowd-pleasing charisma. Their first song of the night was “Seattle Party,” which is filled with sarcastic lyrics that call out the too-cool Northwest party attitude. Other tunes, like their new song “Cool Slut,” celebrate sexual liberties. Chastity Belt is a refreshing – and truly rocking – band.
Australian electronica musician Chet Faker (born Nicholas James Murphy) filled the El Chupacabra tent with modern beats, lush sounds, and strong charisma. As BestNewBands.com writer Liz Rowley notedafter seeing him perform at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg last week, “Murphy’s work is at its strongest in person. Armed with nothing but a pair of mics and sonic automation tools…he invariably evoked a full band ghosting by his side.” The same rang true of his Sasquatch performance. Singlehandedly, he generated an amazing, R&B-infused electronic dance party in the cramped tent for a memorable Saturday night.
Top Photo by Mathew Lamb – All Other Photos by Caitlin Peterkin
With degrees in journalism and music, Caitlin’s written for Paste Magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and MajoringinMusic.com. She loves cheese, laughing at GIFs of corgis, road trip sing-alongs, and connecting with people over good beer and good music.