Sasquatch! 2015—The PMA Guide

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Sasquatch! may not be the biggest summer festival, but it is undeniably the most beautiful. There is no other location like it. Considering its modest size (roughly 25,000 can fit into the park), Sasquatch! has a reputation for assembling incredibly deep lineups. 2015 may be the best yet. Eager to make up for last year’s ill-advised attempt to expand into two separate weekends, the organizers of Sasquatch! have, for my money, put together the strongest top-to-bottom lineup of any North American festival this year.

Sasquatch! has at least three acts on at all times. It’s impossible to catch all of the tremendous talent out there, but it’s fun to try. Below is a sampling of what we’ll be tuning into at the Gorge this weekend.

Friday

Jungle 4:45-5:45 @ Sasquatch

The English soul collective released their debut album in July of 2014, and have been steadily knocking out singles ever since. It should make for a lively performance; all of the group’s dozen members will be there, and a full hour set means they should be able to burn through almost their entire catalogue.

The New Pornographers 6:05-7:05 @ Sasquatch

The Canadian indie legends kick off a crowded summer slate with an appearance here. Expect them to lean heavily on last year’s Brill Bruisers, with a modest offering of earlier hits peppered throughout. That’s fine with us. Fun fact: Neko Case has performed at Sasquatch! more than any other artist. This will be her eighth appearance.

Ought 6:15-7:05 @ Yeti

If you’re in the mood for something a little spikier, Montreal-based rock act Ought are an excellent alternative to the New Pornographers’ brawny power pop. Their debut More Than Any Other Day, a pastiche of post-punk, noise and art rock, was one of last year’s biggest surprises.

Angel Olsen 8:45-10:00 @ Yeti

This show is a bit of a wild card. Angel Olsen started her career as a minimal folk artist, and dropped her first album with a full backing band early last year. We may be hearing her formative work with a full accompaniment, or her new songs stripped down into an acoustic set. Either way, she is absolutely worth seeing.

Sleater-Kinney 11:00-12:30 @ Sasquatch

The real reason to show up on Friday. Sleater-Kinney have nearly everything you could ask for from a festival act. They’re music legends mounting a reunion a decade in the making; they were a late addition; they’re local; they’re loud; they have every incentive to put on a spectacular show. Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss have only played a handful of venues leading up to this one, which only adds to the intrigue. There is an entire generation yet to have the opportunity to see them live. The time has come.

Also be sure to check out:
Mother Mother 7:00-7:45 @ Bigfoot
AlunaGeorge 9:00-10:00 @ El Chupacabra
Little Dragon 10:00-11:00 @ Bigfoot
Flume 12:00-1:30 @ Bigfoot

Saturday

Will Butler 1:00-1:45 @ Sasquatch

Founding Arcade Fire member Will Butler is out promoting Policy, his short, sweet, highly eclectic debut album. If his video for his single “Anna” is any indication of how he moves on stage, it may be worth making the early trek.

Merchandise 3:30-4:30 @ Bigfoot

The melancholy Tampa Bay rockers have slowly been shifting from abrasive works to a more dramatic, grandiose, festival-friendly sound. It’s too bad they aren’t playing the Sasquatch stage; the tracks from their latest album, After the End, would fill up the Gorge.

The War on Drugs 5:50-6:50 @ Sasquatch

These guys made my favourite album of 2014, so I will be camping out early for this one. If you have any love for guitar music at all, the War on Drugs are a must. The classic rock torchbearers don’t have the deepest of arsenals, and they will likely draw heavily from the anthemic Lost in the Dream, replete with extended solos and jams.

King Tuff 7:45-8:45 @ Yeti, or Real Estate 8:00-9:00 @ Bigfoot

King Tuff are scrappy and energetic, Real Estate are smooth and gentle. Take your pick, or wander between both.

Father John Misty 10:00-11:00 @ Bigfoot

If you have seen folk music’s resident smartass Father John Misty on any late night performance in the past 6 months, you know exactly what to expect here. His elegant songwriting and biting lyrics have nothing on his gleefully ironic stage presence.

Modest Mouse 11:00-12:30 @ Sasquatch

This is about as local as it gets. Modest Mouse are originally from Issaquah, a town two hours away, so small you could fit over 80% of its population into the festival grounds. This will mark the fifth appearance at Sasquatch! for the indie staples. Expect a mix of fan favourites, some heavy promotion for their latest record, Strangers to Ourselves, and maybe even an unheard tune from their upcoming companion album. Just one problem…

Spoon 12:00-1:30 @ Bigfoot

An unfortunate conflict, but I will be catching the entirety of this set. Spoon have one of the best frontmen in the biz, one of the tightest rhythm sections, and an ocean of songs from which to choose. They’re true pros. Of all the shows taking place this weekend, I’m looking forward to this one the most.

Be Sure to Check Out:
Hunter Hunted 1:20-2:05 @ Bigfoot
Milo Greene 2:25-3:10 @ Bigfoot
Perfume Genius 7:25-8:10 @ El Chupacabra
The Decemberists 9:00-10:15 @ Sasquatch!

Sunday

Royal Blood 3:30-4:30 @ Bigfoot

Sunday is a little bottom-heavy, but there is still plenty to look into in the afternoon. Royal Blood are just one of many. A garage-punk two-piece in the mold of Death From Above 1979 with energy to burn.

Hiss Golden Messenger 5:05-6:05 @ Yeti

In this writer’s humble opinion, Hiss Golden Messenger is one of the most underrated bands in music today. Their 2013 album Haw is an unsung masterpiece. They are a tantalizing combination of country, blues, psychedelic, and folk rock, with a mercurial singer who can really belt it.

St. Vincent 7:15-8:15 @ Sasquatch

Annie Clark has been on tour for over a year now in support of her sterling self-titled album as St. Vincent. Her live setup is as idiosyncratic as they come. If you haven’t caught her on stage yet, don’t miss it; if you have, well then you already know she’s worth seeing again.

Lana Del Rey 9:00-10:15

Lana Del Rey is about as close to the zeitgeist as popular acts can get these days. Unlikely to be a testing ground for content from her forthcoming record Honeymoon, expect a crowd-pleasing set with mad theatrics with a small army of supporting musicians.

Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters 11:00-12:30

Now into his sixth decade of making music, Plant is currently promoting his latest album, Lullaby… And the Ceaseless Roar. Even if he is just a quarter of one of the greatest musical institutions of all time, Plant is someone you will want to say you saw live. He may break out a Zeppelin tune or two, but his solo work will likely be the focus.

Be Sure to Check Out:
Strand of Oaks 2:25-3:10 @ Bigfoot
St. Paul & the Broken Bones 4:50-5:50 @ Bigfoot
Rustie 8:30-9:30 @ El Chupacabra
Ex Hex 9:15-10:15 @ Yeti
James Blake 10:00-11:00 @ Bigfoot

Monday

Natalie Prass 1:00-145 @ Yeti

Monday is always the toughest day to get up for, and Natalie Prass’s cherub-like voice is probably the best way to ease into it. Her self-titled debut continues to grow and bloom with every listen.

Courtney Barnett 3:10-4:10 @ Sasquatch

The deadpan, verbose Aussie’s debut got a rapturous reception earlier this year, and with good reason. Expect her to make her way through almost all of it over the course of an hour. I caught a sliver of her set at Osheaga last year and was impressed. I imagine she has improved since then.

Future Islands 4:30-5:30 @ Sasquatch

No band broke out quite like Future Islands in 2014. They are finally getting their moment, and they are making the most of it, putting in another round of festival appearances after a year of heavy touring. Samuel T. Herring is probably worth the price of admission on his own. Their inevitable performance of “Seasons” could very well be Monday’s high watermark.

Sharon Van Etten 6:15-7:15 @ Bigfoot

When I spoke with her last year, Sharon Van Etten hinted that her days as a solo artist could be numbered. She’s worth catching in any capacity, but who knows how many more chances you may have.

Tame Impala 7:15-8:15 @ Sasquatch

In 2013, a late flight postponed Tame Impala’s set by over 90 minutes. Hopefully things go a little smoother this time as they take to the main stage for the first time. I’ve heard that they haven’t been breaking out too much new material at their recent tour stops. They only have an hour, so they’ll really have to be judicious.

MØ 8:00-9:00 @ Bigfoot

If you tune into PMA with any regularity, you know we love MØ. No Mythologies to Follow is still in heavy rotation. If you think you can’t summon the energy to dance at this point, this is the set for you.

Run the Jewels 10:00-11:00 @ Bigfoot

The hottest hip-hop act out there at the moment (with one possible exception, please see below), Killer Mike and El-P are splitting time between performing, recording RTJ3, and Meow the Jewels. Both rappers appeared at Sasquatch in 2013 as separate billings, and both were fantastic. It’s going to be an explosive finish.

Kendrick Lamar 11:00-12:30 @ Sasquatch

The grand finale. If you didn’t catch Schoolboy Q earlier in the day, it’s almost a given that he’ll show up here. As if you needed another reason. Coming off his second straight opus, Kendrick will bring the final evening to a close with a bang. Given the overt racial and political elements of To Pimp a Butterfly, expect some sidebar philosophizing to accompany the steady parade of hits.

Be Sure to Check Out:
Dan Mangan + Blacksmith 2:25-3:10 @ Bigfoot
Broncho 4:00-4:45 @ Yeti
Slow Magic 8:30-9:30 @ El Chupacabra
Alvvays 9:15-10:30 @ Yeti
Hot Chip 12:00-1:30 @ Bigfoot