Photos: Sasquatch! Day 3: Chance the Rapper, The Shins, Phantogram (updated)
Here are some highlights from the final day of Sasquatch. Check out photos by Philip Quinn and Emerson Malone
Indie-pop groups Hoops and Chicano Batman had concurrent, fantastic sets on opposite ends of the festival grounds. Hoops, of Bloomington, Idaho, had an affable set; the track “Gemini” is a sweet, summer track with bright keyboards and a driving drum-and-bass section). Batman, based in Los Angeles, is a stellar mix of soul and R&B, carried by singers Bardo Martinez and Eduardo Arenas.
Meanwhile, the afternoon also brought three solid rock sets: first from indie rockers Car Seat Headrest with a blistering rock set on the Sasquatch stage. Drummer Andrew Katz, a University of Oregon alum, worked a sampler as well as the drum kit. The vocal samplings added a nice dimension to the set. When he wasn’t being sorrowful with his hushed monotone at the mic, Will Toledo, clad in a black shirt and black tie on this hot afternoon, would stand in the back of the stage away from the audience, bent over his guitar like a seasick sailor. The set included cuts from last year’s “Teens of Denial,” including “Vincent,” “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” and “Destroyed by Hippie Powers.”
July Talk was a surprise find at the small Yeti stage. Touring in support of last September’s release “Touch,” Toronto’s art-rock outfit came out of nowhere, like a brick through a window; they had an amazingly authoritative stage presence. Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay — who taunted the crowd with her violent tambourine shakes — are electrifying.
Phantogram brought an epic, cinematic show to the same stage; Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter opened with “You’re Mine” under the spotlight of the Sun, which squeezed through gaps in the scaffolding. Soon after Barthel joined, the crowd tried to wish Carter a happy birthday, but the cued-up sample for “Don’t Move” interrupted, and the singing faded away.
The Shins stole the sunset slot at the Sasquatch stage; the group, fronted by James Mercer, had a set that was nothing short of perfect. After entering to the “Twin Peaks” theme, the band jumped into some choice cuts: “Caring Is Creepy,” followed by “Australia” and “Name For You.”
Here, Mercer remarked to the crowd that it “smells like…recreational something.” Another notch on the setlist included the “Heartworms” single “Mildenhall,” an autobiographical track about Mercer moving to the U.K. with his family as a kid. “I was bummed,” he said with a loud laugh. In the track, Mercer pines, “Well god damn, you miss the USA.” To the Sasquatch crowd, he remarked, “I love this Memorial Day shit right here.”
The passion and elegance of the collective’s musical prowess translates effortlessly from studio to stage. The group’s touring violinist added an intriguing interpretation of classic Shins cuts. And The Shins’ live show only enforces that nobody comes close to matching Mercer’s immaculate lyricisms, such as when he cries: “You know you’d trade your life for any ordinary Joe’s / Well do it now or grow old / Your nightmares only need a year or two to unfold” in “Australia.” Plus, no other live show experience could top seeing the sun set as the band performed “Saint Simon.”
In a grand, emotional finale, the group played “Sleeping Lessons,” the opening track from “Wincing The Night Away,” and injected it with an exceptional cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl.”
The night ended with Chance the Rapper, who began his set by making bird caws from the dark to the crowd, which were echoed back to him a thousand-fold. The show, part of Chance’s “Be Encouraged Tour,” exemplified the best of Chance, who bounced around and ran laps back and forth across the stage in a Black Lives Matter tee as he rapped about his favorite things: faith (“Blessings”), cuddling (“Cocoa Butter Kisses”), best friends (“Summer Friends” from “Coloring Book”) and his independence as an artist (“No Problem.”) In “No Problem,” the screen behind him cycled through a few parodies of major labels: Sony became “Phony”; Univeral became “Undiverse”; and Warner Music Group “Weiner Music Group.” Chance — whose boundless elation and optimism was a contagion spread among the crowd — proved to be a perfect, uplifting close to this three-day weekend.
More photos to come!