The pandemonium and mass confusion that accompanies the opening of a music festival, let alone one such as Sasquatch Music Festival where you park in a semi-organized fashion in random fields next to tents and cows, is akin to very few other experiences in a lifetime. The herding, the terror in the eyes of lost souls, the cattle brands… Well, there might as well be cattle brands because, let’s face it, as much as we all enjoy a multitude of bands playing incredible music in one of the world’s most stunning outdoor venues, organizing ourselves on a mass scale just isn’t going to happen without a few pokes and prods.
Arriving a bit later than I’d hoped, the exciting madness was in full swing before I’d even begun to screw up my tent assembly. The “shirtless guy that’s already slammed”, the “ecstacy-girl that’s already tripping balls”, and the “old guy that won’t leave his camping chair and is just out here for the people watching” all offer their hand at my plight and before you know it, my tent is lopsided but my beer is cold and I’m headed for the stages.
Organized into five separate stages, Sasquatch sprawls out over rolling hills and majestic scenery. I assure you, I’m not exaggerating. Majestic. The main stage; lawn seating gently rolling down the slopes towards the bottom of the gorge. The backdrop; the Columbian River flowing into a sunset that artists the world-round would give-up their craft attempting to paint. And this picture I was enthralled by was on a partially cloudy evening!
Although I missed Santigold (honestly, really disappointed about that one) due to the aforementioned madness, walking towards the main stage as Girl Talk, the one-man, hyper-hypo DJ extravaganza that is Gregg Gillis, mashed up OutKast with Phoenix as digital images of bear heads with freakin’ laser beams shooting out of their eyes assaulted all of my senses at once: well, that was an okay way to start the weekend. With upwards of 40 to 50 people dancing and quite literally vibrating with joy behind and around him, Girl Talk threw together everything from Adele and Slayer to 50-Cent’s “In Da Club” with Vampire Weekend’s “A-Punk”. He climaxed, get ready for it, with Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” and killed it by seamlessly matching the ultra-fast paced “Break Ya Neck” rap of Busta Rhymes. I’d say you had to be there, but listening to any of Girl Talk’s albums conjures that same “Really? He made that work?” feeling that upwards of 10,000 people were experiencing along with me. The visuals; everything from glowing cat eyes slowly changing from neon yellow to demonic red, sharks swimming from one monitor to the next, and floating, faceless, red lips synching up as fast as Busta could rap, it was almost impossible to concentrate on the DJ himself. Key-word – almost. As is his way, Girl Talk out-danced, out-jumped, out-headbanged, and generally out-shined all the party-people he brought on stage! Oh, and he stayed true to his rep and was barely clothed by the time his set ended. So there’s that, too. The years don’t seem to be slowing down this Pittsburgh maniac one bit!
Following this “one-man show” vibe, the Colorado born, Derek Smith, better known as Pretty Lights brought his LED towers, high-end, FX-based DJ booth and two Macbooks (that’s all you need now-a-days, apparently) in order to tweak hip-hop beats, vintage funk, electronica, and sometimes funk/soul into pulsating beats infused with dubstep lines. Glow sticks thrown into the crowd by the hundreds at perfectly timed moments (the beat drops, showers of neon rain), Pretty Lights was clearly in his element and playing to a crowd that flowed and moved to every change in the tempo with amazing synchronicity. Playing a number of samples from recent single releases: Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Run DMC, and his biggest hit to date, “I Know The Truth” which sent the gorge into a frenzy as whole rivers of glow sticks erupted like so much florescent lava erupting from the volcanic energy surging from the crowd.
And so day one of four ended.
Check out Chelsea Chernobyl’s photos of Day One
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