The Head and the Heart
- Location: Seated on the grass, center, Mainstage
- Time: Approx. 2:10
- Performance: Their show was so tight, even Death Cab for Cutie mentioned them during their own set, remarking how excellent they were. The piano-driven indie-pop band comes direct from Seattle, and they were recently featured in Rolling Stone. I saw them at Bumbershoot last year in a small tent, and they were very good then. But they have improved, and reached a level of great very few current Seattle bands can stake a claim to (*cough* The Lonely Forest *cough*). Excellent live show, good stage presence, tight instrumentals and harmonies, and a keyboardist that sounds like my musical twin. Seriously. Love that guy.
- Overall: A- — Death Cab passed over Local Natives, Iron and Wine, Wolf Parade, and Bright Eyes to single these guys out. That means something.
- Song to download: The Head and the Heart – Rivers And Roads (iTunes)
- Location: Seated on the outskirts of the floor, right, Mainstage
- Time: Approx. 3:15
- Performance: Local Natives aligned right with my expectations of where they’d be. Pretty darn good. Not much stage presence, outside of a certain guitarist’s signature stache getting hella bigscreen time, but the music was so good you didn’t care. “World News”, “Sun Hands”, “Who Knows, Who Cares” and “Airplanes” were the standouts for me, but that’s probably because I love those songs to death (and I do know Gorilla Manor almost backwards).
- Overall: B+ — Very good, very good. Not over the top for me though. I was hoping for slightly tighter harmonies.
- Song to download: Local Natives – World News (iTunes)
- Location: Seated on the grass, far right, Mainstage
- Time: Approx. 4:25
- Performance: I napped during Wolf Parade. Half because I was tired, half because their music just wasn’t that good. The songs to me were drab and generic. So I can’t say I paid much attention. I’ve never really gotten into Wolf Parade before, and I’ll admit that’s not about to change.
- Overall: C — I guess this is more a personal thing, but I didn’t find them compelling in the slightest.
- No song to download, I’d kinda be a hypocrite if I did that.
- Location: Seated on the grass, far right, Yeti stage
- Time: Approx. 5:50
- Performance: I’m a Baltimorean. I root for the Orioles, no matter how much it kills me, and I absolutely love crab cakes. So when Baltimore’s Wye Oak was out at Sasquatch, I had to see them. They did well, especially for playing on a relatively small stage in the food area around dinnertime. Not much stage presence, but the music was good enough to stick around and pay attention, which some overpriced food consumers did. I liked the show. Not the best or the worst, just solid and consistent with nice vocal work. I told you they were Baltimorean.
- Overall: B — Good show all-around. Check them out.
- Song to download: Wye Oak – “Civilian” (iTunes)
- Location: Standing, right side 4th row, Yeti stage
- Time: Approx: 6:50
- Performance: Okay, The Thermals were awesome, as usual, so let’s move on to the weekend’s embarrassing story. I was exhausted by this point in the day, and even napping during Wolf Parade couldn’t kill my perpetual grogginess. So towards the end of the set, when a man about my height crowdsurfed from the outside coming in, I was so fixated on The Thermals and so perplexed by the notion of a man crowdsurfing IN, not OUT, that when the majority his weight was thrust unto me by the crowd, at 120 pounds and half-awake, I dropped the man. I apologized, but he popped up real quick, gave me a bit of an odd bro hug, possibly recognizing my grogginess, and disappeared into the crowd beyond. My friend and future blogger, Taylor, then turned to me and said, “Dude, that was the lead singer from Surfer Blood”. Needless to say, I was mortified. I DROPPED SURFER BLOOD. I AM AN ASSHOLE! But I guess it was fine, as I stood in the front row of his concert two days later, and he even waded into my section of the crowd.
- Overall: B+ — Would have been an A minus if I wasn’t so damn guilty about Surfer Blood.
- Song to download: The Thermals – Now We Can See (iTunes)
- Song to download: Surfer Blood – Swim/(iTunes)
- Location: I don’t quite remember, actually, Mainstage
- Time: Approx. 8:15
- Performance: I knew very little of Bright Eyes going into this show, but I definitely want to hear more of them now. While Conor Oberst (also of Animal Collective) was a bit inconsistent with vocals, the excellent lyricism and dark musicality of the band reminded me of a more cerebral version of The National. Plus, one girl actually leaped from the stage to kiss Mr. Oberst. Well done.
- Overall: B- — Oberst’s vocal inconsistencies hurt a lot, but the girl kissing him and the solid instrumentals made up for it.
- Song to download: (iTunes) Bright Eyes – First Day of My Life
Death Cab For Cutie
- Location: Heaven, standing front row outside floor, Mainstage
- Time: Approximately Who Gives a Fuck, it’s Death Cab under a starry sky at the Fucking Gorge at Sasquatch.
- Performance: This was my second time seeing Death Cab in a month. I saw them play almost the exact same set from the second row at a secret show at Seattle’s intimate Showbox SoDo, and they were just as amazing. In this, a major launchpad for their new album, Codes and Keys (review coming shortly), they seemed slightly more polished and arena-like, with an attractive background set complimenting a wider stage. Instead of opening with “The New Year”, they launched with “I Will Possess Your Heart”, and there was no “The 405” in the set, but those were the only major differences setlist-wise, which, like the usual Death Cab, encompassed a good bit of everything from Transatlanticism on, even incorporating “Why You’d Want To Live Here” (which disses on my new hometown, and his current hometown, L.A.) and “A Movie Script Ending” (which heaps praise on Bellingham, WA). The show was epic. Everything was tight and amazing, and the new tracks from Codes and Keys sounded better live than they do on the record, especially “Doors Unlocked and Open”, “Codes & Keys”, “Underneath The Sycamore”, “Portable Television”, “Some Boys”, and “You Are A Tourist” (well, okay, those were all the songs they played off the album, but I digress). I won’t focus on the awesomeness of everything else, however, because of one beautiful song. It didn’t matter that they didn’t transition into this gem with “Tiny Vessels”, as they did on the album. This song is too damn epic and grandiose and miraculous. I am of course referring to “Transatlanticism”. The title track from the 2003 album that introduced the band to the world (and Six Feet Under and The O.C. fans) and is, simply, a perfect song. I’ve meditated on this for a few weeks, and I have finally realized it, it is their most excellent song, because by the end, I was crying. I cried because I had a personal epiphany, because the song’s message of true love and the grand metaphors it uses support arguably the best dynamic rise in all modern rock music (The Beatles’ “A Day In The Life” comes to mind as a classic rock comparison), and because it moved me in a way no music had ever before. It was just perfect, and there aren’t enough words in the universe that sum it up better than “the whole is more than the sum of its parts”. It truly was the greatest live song I’ve ever heard, and maybe ever will hear.
- Overall: A+ — Perfection.
- Song to download: Transatlanticism (iTunes)