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Lou Fleischer: May 31, 2017

With multiple performer cancellations, the reduction of festival length from 4 to 3 days, and the introduction of single day passes, 2017 seemed like an off-year for Sasquatch. In fact, as my fellow attendees and I looked around the campgrounds to see empty sites for miles, we couldn’t help but ask: Could this be the festival’s final year?

Even with all of the stress and sadness leading up to the fest, it still remains one of my favorite festivals (and places) in the world. It is streamlined ease from the camping to the check in to the food. As fests around the world take a hit this year (Fyre, Pemberton, etc) Sasquatch organizers still seem to know what they are doing. Regardless of the lack of buzz surrounding the performers, the weekend was still filled with some of the best shows I’ve ever seen. So without further ado… here’s what you missed in the Gorge Amphitheater this Memorial Day Weekend:

1. LCD Soundsystem (I was so happy to see them as Frank Ocean’s replacement. Though they are definitely on the opposite end of the spectrum from Frank, the show was danceable rock and they were an ideal headliner for the dreamy setting.)

2. MGMT (MGMT + Sunset on the hill = perfect happy alternative vibes. The lead singer, Andrew VanWyngarden is unbelievably charming and had me laughing as he talked with the crowd.)

3. Kaytranada (Amazing visuals and an unstoppable groove. When the festival was shut down at 1:30 people were begging him to play more to which he only responded “My time is up; I can’t!”)

4. Twenty-One Pilots (Okay hear me out on this one… Initially, I was unbelievably disappointed in this choice of headliner as they seemed like just another mainstream pop band, but wow did they put on a show. They were totally interactive with the audience, playing covers of oldies and new rap hits that kept the show fresh and unexpected. Even though Saturday was a clear influx of tweens in a sea of black and red, I finally understood the hype.)

5. Kungs (Relatively unknown to me before the weekend, Kungs was not your typical EDM. The El Chupacabra stage (AKA the dance tent) was flooded with people who seemed just as pleasantly surprised as me and I’ve never been so sad for a show to end.)

6. Chance the Rapper (He was the clear lead headliner of the weekend. He brought out all the stops: fireworks, confetti, lights, noise… and he did not disappoint. He played a medley of his new hits and threw in a few classics. Side note: I wish Chance would go back to his acid rap days as the show felt very preachy and at times felt more like a church sermon than a rap concert.)

7. Vulfpeck/Jaguar Ma (Two great bands playing at stages right next to each other led to a difficult decision for us. We would alternate between the two because we couldn’t decide who we liked better. SO so so funky.)

8. Sleigh Bells (I remember being front row and seeing the utterly fearless Alexis in Portland almost 5 years ago and was thankful to see that not much has changed. Sleigh Bells have incredible energy and have a sound that was totally unique from anything else I saw during the weekend.)

9. The Head and the Heart (Is there a better way to celebrate a band member’s birthday than to look out and see the beautiful faces on the hill? True to west coast indie music, they had positive wonderful vibes that even had some friends of mine tearing up during their encore “Rivers and Roads.”)

10. Big Gigantic (When I saw GRIZ back in November, I began listening to his collaborations with Big G. Flash forward and I was thrilled when I realized he was performing at Sasquatch. It was better than I had hoped. He brought bass in a bigger way than I anticipated and played live instruments that added to what could have been just another DJ.)


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