The differences between day one and day four of Sasquatch! are physically evident on the attendees. People of day one are giddy, buzzing with excitement. People of day four have been partying and listening to music in the beating down sun over a long weekend and look exhausted. The overall vibe of day four resembled a lazy Sunday. There was a steady rainfall for most of the day, prompting many campers to enter the festival late. Still, the last day is always full of mixed emotions. You are excited to go home and take a shower and sleep in a real bed, yet sad because once again this wonderful Memorial Day weekend has to come to an end.
Hip-hop artist P.O.S. kicked off the afternoon with an energetic performance that had the crowd jumping up and down and rocking out. P.O.S. has obvious punk rock influences, mixing hard beats and distorted guitars to make the energy level more relevant to a rock concert. He usually performs with a drummer and guitarist, but today he played with a live DJ mixing and rapping behind him. Luckily, the difference did not hurt the sound quality or the energy level. The crowd still went wild during “Fuck Your Stuff.”
Sasquatch! isn’t just known for its music; they also acquire a solid comedy lineup. Audiences were fortunate to experience Mike Birbiglia. Birbiglia is authentic and playfully awkward. The comedian spent the entire weekend at the festival watching from the audience side of the stage. He began his routine with jokes related to the weekend: Mumford and Sons songs all sound the same, The Tallest Man On Earth is average height and how everyone watching Edward Sharpe looks like Edward Sharpe. Birbiglia went on to tell some stories from his upcoming comedy special “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” to the delight of the crowd.
Dirty Projectors were one of the most talented bands of the whole festival. They perform complicated indie rock songs with high-pitched beautiful vocals. On “About To Die,” guitarist and singer Dave Longstreth plucked at his guitar strings in a smooth flurry while flawlessly singing a sweet sonnet. Dirty Projectors write in an experimental way, calculating precise moments to exemplify their sound. When in unison, they almost sound like an orchestra. Their translation from record to stage was sublime, as each song come to life in a unique way. And they played so casually, like they don’t know how beautiful their music is; it comes so effortlessly.
Portland’s Menomena played on the Yeti Stage and while their form of experimental indie rock contains many different instruments and complications, their lengthy soundtrack hurt the buzz of the anxious crowd. They performed a few songs off their new album Moms, including “Plumage” and “Capsule,” which have complex structures and hard rock bases. Still, Menomena looked haggard. Maybe it was the end of a tiring tour or perhaps the heavy rain was putting a damper on their day, but these guys didn’t seem very thrilled to be playing at the festival.
Goofball Americana group Cake performed on the main stage to the absolute delight of many longtime fans. Most people in the crowd new all of the lyrics to classic-Cake hits “Short Skirt, Long Jacket” and “Frank Sinatra.” They also performed a few songs from their 2011 album Showroom of Compassion like “Wasted (Mustache Man)” and “Long Time.” While most fans were not very familiar with Cake’s newer material, frontman John McCrea found ways to keep the people invested, including dividing the crowd and assigning specific singing parts on “Sick Of You.” It was comforting to hear Cake perform the same way they always have, with a humorous yet sentimental attitude. For instance, they are the only band that can pull off vibraslap, which McCrea uses in dramatic moments to really sell his point. This was a very energetic and worthwhile performance, especially rewarding for longtime fans with old hits like “Rock N’ Roll Lifestyle” and “Jolene.”
British robot voice rockers Alt-J packed the Bigfoot Stage with anticipating fans. The up-and-coming Mercury Prize winners emphasized different aspects of their songs for the live crowd; for instance, the keyboards on “Something Good” were enhanced and on “Fitzpleasure,” the background metallic clicking became an infectious sound effect. The problem with the show was that the crowd seemed to be expecting something different. The crowd went wild with dancing and singing for single “Breezeblocks,” but most songs advocated for a more sway-dance perfect for “Tesselate” and “Buffalo,” creating a general uneasy tension in the packed stage.
Ariel Pink emerged onto the smoke-covered Yeti Stage, introducing his band Haunted Garffiti through a reverted microphone. Many people dismiss Ariel Pink as simply too weird, but he is much more than that. He has the soul of someone who records demos in the basement but dreams of being The Beatles. You can call it bedroom pop or drugged-out lo-fi, but Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti has found a way to turn fuzzy lo-fi into a full pop sound by achieving the perfect amount of layered noise. Pink can be very strange and sometimes creepy, but he can also be rather adorable. In one of his best songs “Fright Night (Nevermore),” he used a cheek-pop to convey a crucial moment of the song. It is silly and absurd, but it totally works and you can say the same thing about most of his songs.
The Postal Service’s homecoming show was as wonderful as it could have been. Most people thought they would never see the Ben Gibbard/Jimmy Tamborello electronic/pop project perform live, so there was a special kind of buzz surrounding the final performance on the Sasquatch! main stage. For the band’s reunion tour, they brought Jenny Lewis in as a full member, which was highly beneficial for hits like “Nothing Better,” as the back and forth between her and Gibbard is spot-on. Being more or less a nostalgia act, The Postal Service was expected to play a certain way, at least so that the fans can sing along, but The Postal Service found ways to accomplish this and make the songs more interesting. On “We Will Become Silhouettes,” Gibbard rocked the drums while singing and on “The Districts Sleeps Along Tonight,” Tamborello increased the tempo into a sublime electronica dance number. Gibbard performed some silly dance moves, expressing an energy level comparable to that of ten years ago, a time when The Postal Service made its first run. He brought back the spirit of youth to help us all relive our teenage years, the perfect end to four days in the wild gorge at Sasquatch! Music Festival.