Sasquatch!: Foo Fighters leave crowd satisfied, fatigued
Sasquatch! Music Festival kicked off full-force Friday at the Gorge Amphitheater outside George, Wash. To festival veterans, Sasquatch! is a marathon, not a sprint: four grueling days of Dionysian fun, where your only concern is which favorite band you want to see next.
Deep in the middle of beautiful nowhere, Sasquatch! has drawn the top musical acts to its prairie paradise for 10 years. If became clear the first night that its birthday would not go uncelebrated by the motley bunch of bros, hippies, Canadians and the indefinable. Friday’s music didn’t start until 4:00 p.m., ensuring that late-comers to the party had time to set up their camps before making their way to one of the festival’s four stages. Due to tight programming, our group decided to stick to the mainstage to make sure we got great seats for the night’s headliner, Foo Fighters. We weren’t disappointed.
Bob Mould, a forty-something with thinning hair and no other musical accompaniment, hit the stage first. He tore off a brisk 45-minute set, warming up the crowd with his electric, Ted Leo-esque sound. Although he wasn’t well-known, Mould has collaborated with Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Foo Fighters. The surging crowds, fresh off a full day in the sun, met him with equal intensity.
The Bronx, based in Los Angeles, were fast out of the gate right behind Mould. Fans eager to see the quintet made themselves heard, screaming along to deep cuts from the band’s four-album discography. Lead singer Matt Caughtran was at times both savage and playful, even dedicating “False Alarm” to Jada Pinkett-Smith, ostensibly and simply because he could.
With the gorgeous sun setting behind the mainstage, Death From Above 1979 ascended the stage. At this point, we had wormed our way to the front row and now had to deal with what DFA called “the writhing pit of sweaty.” The duo, Jesse F. Keeler, and Sebastien Grainger, haven’t played a show in five years, aside from this year’s Coachella.
Their pent-up energy was undeniable. Hits like “Black History Month” and “Blood On Our Hands” left the mosh in a frenzy by the time they left the stage.
But the day’s highlight by far was the Foo Fighters. Consummate showman Dave Grohl, the beating heart of Foo, made sure every trademark riff and hook was aimed at pleasing the crowd. Cuts like “Rope” from their new album “Wasting Light” got the crowd into a near-bloodlust, and with almost no pauses, the band ran off hit after hit from their long career. “Monkey Wrench,” “The Pretender,” “Learn To Fly” — they left nothing on the table. New guitarist Pat Smear shredded his Gibson and Grohl spent most of the time on rhythm, giving him the liberty to race the stage’s length and interact with the crowd.
By the time the final encore (appropriately “Everlong”) put the last exclamation point on the setlist, we were exhausted physically, emotionally and mentally — and we still had three days left.
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