Sasquatch! Music Festival ’11 | Lists

A recap of Sasquatch! Music Festival’s best and worst bits in handy list form. 

 

  

The Infectious Enthusiasm of a Live Band

Onstage, a band shines brightest when they are visibly joyful. An enthusiastic, openly gracious, and emotional musician can infect an audience with a maelstrom of energy. I’m not suggesting that all live music needs to sound happy; I love me some sad, intense, loud, and angry music too. But I get turned off when the angst-fest consistently bleeds from the songs into the onstage banter. Some artists seem filled with such self-loathing, doubt, and fear that they have nothing uplifting to give. Artists have issues. Those issues can lead to great art. But there are musicians who treat the audience as though they were an annoyance and ought to feel grateful simply to exist in the presence of such artistry. Not all performers are musicians, and not all musicians are performers.

Headliners Modest Mouse and Bright Eyes inspired this little rant with their cantankerous front men who railed angrily against one thing or another. At least their emotions appeared sincere, which is something to deeply respect. More annoying than arrogance or negativity is ambivalence. When a musician doesn’t seem to care, why should the audience? Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, who can get lost in his own musical self-importance, provided a surprising and inspiring counterpoint by encouraging the non-clappers to avoid being “too cool,” like him and to let loose with clapping, dancing, and singing.

The following list contains artists who had both enthusiasm and humble graciousness that are the core of everything great about worshipping at the altar of shared musical celebration. These dedicated performers had no interest in erecting a façade of “cool.” They were fully committed to the moment and as excited to be there as their biggest fans are. The musicians on the list below actually did make the audience feel grateful to exist in the presence of such artistry. These are musicians and performers.

Presented in the order in which I experienced them:

1) Foo Fighters

2) The Head and the Heart

3) Local Natives

4) Sharon Van Etten

5) Matt & Kim

6) Wheedle’s Groove

7) Fitz and the Tantrums

8) Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

9) Flogging Molly

10) Flaming Lips

11) Yeasayer

12) Noah and the Whale

13) Chromeo

14) White Arrows

15) Stornoway

16) Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

17) Rodrigo y Gabriela

18) !!!

19) The Decemberists

20) Wilco

Artists of the Pacific Northwest

With the festival based in the musical powerhouse of the Pacific Northwest, many top performers for the region played. Here are 10 of them that were of particular interest to me.

1) Foo Fighters

2) The Head and the Heart

3) Wolf Parade

4) Pink Martini

5) The Thermals

6) Death Cab for Cutie

7) Wheedle’s Groove

8) Reggie Watts

9) Modest Mouse

10) The Decemberists

 

Ten Modern Legends

When I typed “legend definition” into my favorite search engine, several dictionary websites popped up describing “legend” as: “a person whose fame or notoriety makes him a source of exaggerated or romanticized tales or exploits.” These artists have all been making music for more than a decade and continue to add to their legacy with new music and performances. If you’re not convinced that they are legends, type their names into your favorite search bar to hear about their romanticized tales and exploits.

1) Foo Fighters (Dave Grohl)

2) J Mascis

3) Iron and Wine (Sam Beam)

4) Bright Eyes

5) Death Cab for Cutie

6) The Flaming Lips

7) Modest Mouse

8) Old 97s

9) The Decemberists

10) Wilco

(Legend on the rise: Reggie Watts)

 

10 Sasquatch! Surprises

One of the best things about music festivals is being surprised by an unexpectedly amazing live set. Here are my favorite surprises:

1) Foo Fighters

2) J Mascis

3) Pink Martini

4) Jenny and Johnny

5) Wheedle’s Groove

6) Reggie Watts

7) Flogging Molly

8) Gayngs

9) Stornoway

10) Wilco

 

Eight Not-So-Great Downers & Disappointments

And then there are the artists that just didn’t click for me. I would say this is more a reflection of my tastes or mood at the time of the show rather than poor performance quality.

1) Bob Mould

2) Bright Eyes

3) Sleigh Bells

4) Modest Mouse

5) Cold War Kids

6) Archers of Loaf

7) Gayngs

8) The Flaming Lips

 

The Eight Greats

I saw a lot of music. In fact, I saw 40 separate acts. Here were my favorites.

1) The Head and the Heart

2) Matt & Kim

3) Fitz & the Tantrums

4) Reggie Watts

5) Flogging Molly

6) Chromeo

7) Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

8) Rodrigo y Gabriela

| Tony Van Zeyl

 

 

 

 

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