This year Kat and I skipped Coachella- I think we were feeling a bit over busy, and the Coachella lineup looked a bit disappointing. But the Washington state based Sasquatch festival had expanded to three days and had a great line up, so we planned another long weekend with rafting in the morning and shows at night.
Saturday we got there in time for the New Pornographers. Actually we had a few minutes to spare and stopped by the Xbox / Rockband tent where they were running a competition. Unfortunately you needed 4 people to enter and we failed to put together a team that could get decent scores.
Finally we ran off to see the New Pornographers. The show was great, although speaking of Rockband it was too bad they didn’t play Electric Version which is in the game.
Modest Mouse was great, but unfortunately they scheduled it at the same time as the Breeders which was a pretty painful conflict for me. We left Modest Mouse only to stand around for 15 minutes as the Breeders were late to get their set going. I was also a bit apprehensive since the new Breeders album is not that great. Luckily it was worth the wait- the Breeders show was awesome and everything had a great energy.
Finally we went back to the main stage to see R.E.M. Of all the bands that I’ve followed so much, R.E.M. is pretty much the only one that I had never seen live. The set was very good and it was really fun for me to see them finally. I loved that they did some good obscure stuff off of “Fables/Reconstruction of the” and Harborcoat. On the other hand they didn’t play anything from Life’s Rich Pageant or
Murmer which was a bit disappointing. Still, it was great to see them and I enjoyed it a ton.
On Sunday we got there just in time to see Mates of State. The set was pretty good but I really didn’t recognize anything. Before festivals like this I often try to use them as an excuse to check out new music and try to listen to the bands ahead of time. I had been listening to Mates of State a bunch but still didn’t recognize anything.
After Mates of State we got our spot and I went back to the second stage to see the Kooks. They were VERY late. Crazy late. At least 45 minutes and maybe more. At a club that may be fine, but at a festival where you have to make difficult choices being that late is just unprofessional and rude since people are skipping other shows to sit in front of your stage and wait for you to play. Sometimes there are big equipment failures and I understand that, but this just seemed like a normal lazy setup. In the end I only saw 15 minutes of the Kooks who are a decent Kaiser Chiefs/Strokes style band.
Death Cab for Cutie was good, although as Pitchfork mentioned it feels like it would be much cooler to see them in a club- they have a hard time translating to the huge stage. Of course they are so popular now that is probably difficult- it was packed for them and many people started leaving before the Cure I think.
Finally I thought that the Cure were great. I was prepared to not be that into it- there are really only a couple of songs that I like that they have done post-Disintegration. They played a bunch of post-Disintegration stuff (including both of the songs that I do like) but they also played a TON of stuff off Disintegration that worked really well, and the second encore that was more than half of their first album was great. Doing it as just a 4-piece band helped them stick to a more focused sound and I think was pretty key to it being a good show.
Finally we skipped the third day- we were pretty tired and were not excited about the thought of driving back late at night in Memorial Day traffic. I can see some of the good thoughts about expanding to three days but for me its just too much and I’d rather they stick to just the Saturday/Sunday and give everyone Monday off to relax without missing any great shows.
The Gorge is as always a beautiful venue, Late May is a bit early for this area of the country since the weather is often sketchy. It rained a bit this year but at least no hail and it wasn’t freezing like last year. I also noticed what felt to me like a bunch more obnoxiously drunken people around. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention but I saw more staggering, puking, people doing wacky drunken things than at previous shows, and finally some jerk started yelling at Kat during the Cure because she was “in his way” and threw a beer and pretty much ruined the show for her. Very disappointing that people were getting that out of control.