Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Samsquantch 2009 - With Even Less Organization! Part One.

Sasquatch! 2009 has come and gone already and what a seriously whirlwind weekend it was. Marshall, Duke, and I braved the crowds, the sun, and the insanely disorganized staff at the Gorge for another weekend of epic music and general partying.

The music did not disappoint. The venue and staff on the other hand...just, wow. For a venue that hosts as many large-scale concerts and festivals as the Gorge does, the level of disorganization regarding camping is totally unacceptable. Almost as soon as we got off of the highway, we were directed towards the Gorge and into a pair of lines that were not moving. We sat patiently, inching our way down the road and killing about 45 minutes. Once we got to the front and could see the campground down the road, we were diverted into the event parking lot and not allowed to proceed to the campground. This was problematic for two reasons: 1) We had paid for Premier camping and 2) we were being told to sit in some other line for no apparent reason and with no end in sight.

For a variety of obvious reasons, this really, really pissed us off. Instead of sitting in our third useless line of the day, we zipped across the field and headed back out towards the entrance. We attempted to explain our situation to one of the people directing traffic, who just started yelling louder and gesturing for us to head back towards the freeway. Which solved nothing, because we still had no idea why we weren't allowed to go to the campground. This managed to escalate to the point where a very nice sheriff from Grant County came over the car and, once he calmed the three of us down, gave us and the three cars next to us directions to get into the campground. We drove off mollified, but still titanically irritated at the total lack of communication and idiocy among the parking staff. Once we got to the campground entrance, we saw someone being loaded into an ambulance, which may have explained why they were diverting us, but we'll never know.

On the bright side, getting to the campground was a cinch in comparison. We got excellent directions right off the bat and picked out a spot quickly. Which in retrospect may have not been a good idea, but we were really, really sick of being in the car by then.

Once the tents were set up and the cooler was opened, we started meeting our neighbors. There was a huge group from Canada right in front of us, which became meaningful later on. We got a bit of a late start into the venue, but still managed to have an awfully good time. Saturday's lineup consisted of:

M. Ward: We set up camp about halfway up the hill and watched part of M. Ward's set. Unfortunately, not enough for it to be memorable, and partly because we were still largely getting settled in an organized. Which is really too bad, because he seems really interesting.

Devotchka: These guys were really interesting, and I think would have been a great lead-in to Gogol Bordello, whom I'm very sad I missed because we had to go home instead of staying for Monday. Again, I didn't listen terribly closely to their set, but they looked like they were having fun, and I'd catch them again.

Animal Collective: I just caught the very beginning of their set, and now I realize I should have stuck around longer.

Sun Kil Moon: I'm starting to realize that I didn't actually get to see all that much music on Saturday, which is really too bad. Indie Rocker and I really like Sun Kil Moon and Mark Kozelek. I caught a few songs, but none of his Modest Mouse covers, which are awesome. And I realized that I missed Ra Ra Riot, which is really too bad.

Mos Def: Mos Def was by far the biggest disappointment of the weekend. He came out on stage in this rather awesome mask, and then proceeded to do a decent song, but he pretty much ignored the crowd and let wayyyy too much time pass in between songs. It killed the energy, and killed our interest in seeing too much more. And irritated us because we missed The Decemberists, who were probably awesome. Argh.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: This band restored my faith in Sasquatch. They were totally full of energy, played all of my favorite songs by them, and Karen O. wore something so totally out there that Marshall and I decided that we are dressing up as her and Nick Zimmer, the guitarist, for Halloween this year. They had a giant, glowing eyeball hanging behind them for the whole set, and they ended with their love song, "Maps." It was fantastic.

Bon Iver: This man was the find of the weekend. We decided to skip Kings of Leon because Marshall and I had already seen them and weren't impressed that time. And I hate their song "Sex on Fire." We wandered up to the Wookiee Stage and were literally stopped dead in our tracks by Bon Iver's voice. He was singing "Skinny Love," and there was something totally otherworldly and amazing about the whole experience. We stayed for the rest of his set, which did not disappoint, and I ran home and bought his album "For Emma, Forever Ago," as soon as I walked in the door. Amazing.

After Bon Iver, we headed back to the campsite. At this point, it was dark and we could hear Kings of Leon wrapping it up at the Gorge, but the party was just getting started back at the campsite. Our neighbors were back, so we hung out with them, and then the Canadians came back to crank up the fun machine. They turned on the generator, which we discovered was powering a portable party machine. They had DJs, surround sound, even a smoke machine. It was insane. I ended up dancing with our new Seattle friends until 2am because I figured that I wasn't going to get any sleep anyway. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

Quote of the Day: "And now all your love is wasted/And who the hell was I?/I'm breaking at the bridgesAnd at the end of all your lines." Skinny Love, Bon Iver.

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