A second major change-up in the Sasquatch! schedule was the replacement of Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller. The Pittsburgh rapper is the boyfriend of Ariana Grande, whose show was the target of a terrorist attack in Manchester, England, last week. On Friday it was announced he’d be replaced by Sir Mix-a-Lot.
One campsite in the festival campground was marked with a flag with the poignant message, “Saturday Is For The Boys.” Very few women played during Saturday’s line-up, especially on the main stage, which had acts including Blitzen Trapper, Bleachers and Sir Mix A Lot. All the evening acts were pretty dude-heavy, too: MGMT, Jagwar Ma, Vulfpeck and Twenty-One Pilots.
Here are some of Friday’s highlights. Check out photos below by Phillip Quinn and Emerson Malone.
- Proud Oregonians Blitzen Trapper drape keyboardist Marty Marquis’ stand with a Cascadia flag. The group played the transcendent “Furr” and “God and Suicide” as well as the door-busting cut “All Across This Land.” The group had an afternoon set at the main stage, the largest platform, framed by the striking Columbia River cutting through the Columbia Gorge canyon. But despite the grand stage, the show still felt as cozy as their Hi-Fi Music Hall show in November 2015 in Eugene (read our review here). The audience, unfortunately, had pockets of 21 Pilots awaitees, plenty of whom talked constantly, compared their fidget spinners with one another, and turned their backs to the stage.It was as if they were at an HBCU commencement ceremony, and Blitzen Trapper were Betsy DeVos. (The headlining 21 Pilots would not take the stage for another eight hours.) But as squatting audience members were drying up like raisins in the sun, the temperature was creeping to 85 degrees. That made it easier for this reporter to insist that his cheeks weren’t wet from the beautiful soul of Blitzen Trapper, but rather, that it’s sweat.
- Bleachers, the anthemic indie-pop band from Jersey fronted by Jack Antonoff of Fun., also played at the main stage. The vibrant set included “I Wanna Get Better,” “You’re Still A Mystery” and even a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way.” Like Thee Oh Sees yesterday, Bleachers also has two drummers. Antonoff paid respects to Greg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band, who just died today. Antonoff recalled being 9 years old when his dad showed him the Allman Brothers. “I always dreamed of having two drummers,” he said. The new Bleachers album “Gone Now” drops Friday, June 2.
- The comedy tent killed it today: Alice Wetterlund skewered fidget spinners (“I get that the economy is in the shitter because everybody is expecting the apocalypse, but do we really need to be playing Dust Bowl toys?” Nate Bargatze discussed how depressing Leonardo DeCaprio’s Twitter feed is (“He’s miserable; he has the weight of the world on his shoulders.”) And the headliner Fred Armisen had an outstanding variety act. One part of his set was structured as if he were about to tell a joke, but he simply reiterated the events of the “La La Land”-”Moonlight” mix-up on Oscar night. Armisen played a sketch from Portlandia about buying a white rug (what started as an allegory for a having a child devolved into a weird “Sid and Nancy” pastiche); grabbed his guitar to play the Saturday Night Live deep cut “Sparkling Apple Juice” by The Bjelland Brothers; had a lengthy Q&A session with the audience, during which he shared advice to aspiring comedians, quoted his Broad City character, and even revived a role from his SNL try-out Fericito, a Venezuelan timpani player with the catchphrase “I just kidding!” His SNL audition also included imitations of Vin Diesel and a Law and Order character. “It got me the job,” he said, “no matter how obscure it sounds.”
- MGMT’s set took place as the sun tucked behind the Columbia Gorge horizon. Their set was a tasteful interchange of avant-garde American art-pop, the hits from “Oracular Spectacular” and even a fantastic cover of Q Lazzarus’s “Goodbye Horses.”
- Vulfpeck, often joked to be the favorite band of music majors, delivered the polyrhythmic funk at the Bigfoot Stage soon thereafter. The band members wore headsets so they could keep both hands free to make love to their respective instruments. Vulfpeck carried a running bit throughout the show that Sasquatch! was their corporate keynote conference. The set wasn’t just bass solos, bass guitar solos, drum kit solos, beatboxing and scatting; plenty of audience interaction went with it: singing “Summer Lovin'” from “Grease” as Jack Stratton played drums, or having different segments of the crowd harmonize along with Vulfpeck’s power ballad “Christmas in L.A.”
- The crowd compressed against the main stage, who’d been waiting since the day’s first acts, finally received Twenty-One Pilots at 10:30 p.m. When singer Tyler Joseph asked, “How many of you are seeing us for the first time?”, a roar erupted from the amphitheatre as if a gladiator brawl were taking place in a coliseum.