Saturday was my first real "Wasted Day" in a while. And I don't mean it in a good way. I also spent one and a half hours blogging about it, but then my computer seized up when I tried to post it. A truly wasted day with absolutely nothing to show for it.
Sunday, however, was a blast. Hung out at the Gorge with friends all day and listened to some great music. (We also heard some mediocre music, and some that made you go "Huh?") Here are my quickie reviews of the bands we heard:
Blue Scholars: Good opener. Funky hiphop group with a lot of energy. Several people around me didn't like hiphop at all, so they didn't care for the group. But if you are looking for a group that can bring a little energy at 11:30 in the morning, this is your group.
Pretty Girls Make Graves: Ugh. They looked like a Goth band and sounded much worse than they do in the studio. The lead singer kept commenting on how early it was, and then thanked us for getting up to see them. (It was 2pm at this point) Next year, the vampire bands need to be booked after the sun goes down.
Big Japan: These kids were on the small stage, and were playing as we walked up. They seemed young and fairly nervous. Then the sound guy cut their mics and says, "You were supposed to be doing a sound check". They say, "That was our sound check." Sound guy says, "That wasn't a sound check, that was a song". Then the sound guy turns up the "between bands music" and waits for the official start time for Big Japan to start playing. I heard they playing their "sound check" as an encore.
Arctic Monkeys: Best band at the show. They were worth the admission price, even though they all looked like they were sixteen, and made me feel old.
Ben Lee: Great voice. He is a singer/songwriter who is animated on stage and fun to watch.
Nada Surf: Good band, but not the most memorable. Tough to follow the Monkeys though.
The Decemberists: Meh. These guys are really good technically, but the music was pretty "delicate" for a stadium show. I guess I needed more guitar at this point in the afternoon.
We Are Scientists: These guys are great. I hope they are on the main stage next year. Smartest banter between songs, and the songs were really tight. We also had the thrill of standing next to the Artic Monkeys in the audience. They were with a big guy that was functioning as bodyguard/chaperone.
Matisyahu: Better than expected. He does the same thing as last year, but he did it on the big stage. Best audience interaction of anyone I saw. And he came across as being a very humble and spiritual performer without seeming phony.
Queens of the Stone Age: I've never cared for their music. But they are good at what they do. The thing that surprised me was how scary they looked. They looked like they were all doing the show as part of their community service.
Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah!: I couldn't even get close to the stage for this one. I got stuck in a food line and by the time we got here the entire second stage area was packed with people. I hear it was a good show though.
Headphones: Mike and I walked up to the small stage at the end of the day to see this band. As we got close, we both looked at each other in puzzlement. The band was two guys wearing headphones. One playing a small drumset and the other playing a Casio-sounding keyboard and singing ballads in a thin voice. The crowd was loving it. It was a real wtf moment. The keyboard sounded retro and very, very cheap. At one point, the keyboardist stopped the song and said, "Whoops, the wrong sound was in the keyboard", and then proceeded to repeat the song in a different equally cheesy keyboard sound. Since I have been back on the Internet, I've found that Headphones is the new project of David Bazan who also is the driving force behind Pedro the Lion. Headphones is purposely spare and experimental. But, I will confess, "I didn't get it"
Death Cab for Cutie: Really good. Much more musicianship than I thought going in. The lead singer alternated between playing guitar and playing backup drums, and near the end of their set, they jumped into a great dual drum solo.
Beck: Good, but really odd. He built a large puppet theater in the middle of the stage. When they came out and started performing, they also brought out puppets of everybody in the band and started lipsynching the performance with the marionettes. The big jumbotrons on either side of the stage showed the puppets instead of the actual band. At one point, the band left the stage, and a video was shown of the puppets walking around the backstage at Sasquatch interviewing bands. Then the lights came up and the puppets lipsynched to "Loser". But it was a true lipsynch; the band was still offstage, and they were singing to a tape of the studio version of the song. Beck also had a "dancing guy". A goofy guy in a white shirt and tie that danced like an idiot during most of the songs. Kinda fun. But odd.