Friday, May 31, 2013

Sasquatch wrap-up: rain clouds, Montana flags, Edward Sharpe and the National Anthem that nobody heard

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2013 at 3:00 PM

The final half of Sasquatch was full of surprises; some were unbelievably awesome, others were very frustrating. My personal favorites had to be seeing fans wearing Montana flags like superhero capes all over the Gorge.

After Saturday’s mellowing vibe it was nearly impossible to leave the main stage area Sunday as epic band after epic band performed. The Tallest Man on Earth, Dropkick Murphys, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Mumford & Sons all played back to back.

click to enlarge Missoula Independent news
  • Photo by Dameon Matule
  • Elvis Costello solo during "Watching the Dectectives."

Big Foot, the second largest stage in the venue faced continuous problems all weekend. Vocals were difficult to hear from practically anywhere beyond 150 feet away from the stage. To make matters worse, it lost sound entirely during a couple sets.

Monday afternoon’s lineup offered fans better chance to explore other stages without the terror that they might miss a headlining band. Heavy rains put a bit of a damper on the festival but despite the downpour P.O.S. delivered some great hip-hop and engaged with the crowd like few other artists did. He jumped off stage and walked amongst the crowd, talking with people and signing shirts between songs.

click to enlarge Missoula Independent news
  • Photo by Dameon Matule
  • Dropkick Murphys kept the entire amphitheater on their feet with a set too energetic to ignore.

The soggy weather actually worked out well for the comedy inside the pavilion. “This American Life” regulars Tig Notaro and Mike Berbiglia packed the room respectively and had commanded the attention of the flighty crowd. When a man fainted at the front of the crowd Berbiglia stopped his act, jumped off of stage and gave the guy a few bottles of water. The crowd obviously was concerned but he eased the tensions quickly by saying, “Is everyone seeing this? I feel like Obama right now or something.” The guy recovered and the show continued.

Cake started the main stage’s evening lineup with a very energetic performance of old hits and tracks from their new album. Much to the chagrin of some fans, they played classics like “Frank Sinatra,” with a different composition that felt familiar but too foreign to enjoy fully.

click to enlarge Missoula Independent news
  • Photo by Dameon Matule
  • But the day’s absolute highlight was when Mumford & Sons returned to the stage for an encore only to be joined by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros for a terrific rendition of Fleatwood Mac’s “The Chain.”

The most troubling part of the entire festival for me was between Cake and the Lumineers' set. A disabled veteran (I can only assume he was, we could not hear his microphone just 60 feet from the stage.) came out and introduced Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready. McCready delivered an absolutely fantastic performance of the national anthem, but because it wasn’t listed or announced anywhere beforehand, hardly anyone was around to hear it and many of the people there had no idea who just played.

The Postal Service wrapped things up, playing on an absolutely beautiful stage of many shifting brightly colored screens. Think Mark Rothco paintings lit up and stacked around the musicans. The band was never really meant to be a band just a side project—that’s why they haven’t released a new album in over 10 years but their popularity is obviously enduring. Which is why, we can assume, that they announced they’re working on a new album and indulged the audience with a couple fresh songs.

The performance itself fell a bit flat. Frontman Ben Gibbard is an immensely talented musician but his stage presence is a bit awkward. He doesn’t seem to quite know what to do while other members are performing so he just gyrates his hips and bounces around. Regardless of that the music was solid and the entire audience walked away feeling 15-years-old again.

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