By: Meghan Kearney

 

It is no secret that Sasquatch! Music Festival is one of my favorite things in the world. It is a place and time I’ve come to think of as home. It’s my adult summer camp. It’s my Hogwarts. It’s where I’ve met so many of my friends. It’s where I’ve created deep bonds with so many old friends, that I otherwise probably would not have. It’s 6 days out of the year where I can leave reality and the woes of the world behind to enjoy some of the best musical artists the world and Pacific Northwest have to offer. And The Gorge. That indescribable, epic, life-changing Gorge. Don’t even bother Google Imaging it. Pictures don’t do any justice. Nothing in my eyes could be more perfect than my annual Memorial Day Weekend retreat.

This year will be my sixth consecutive year, after once being dragged, mostly against my will, by my boyfriend at the time and his ex-girlfriend in 2011 (it was as awkward as it sounds). Every year since then has been a special chapter in my book of Sasquatch, each year with its own story.

2016’s lineup is by a long shot, my favorite lineup yet. Past year’s have had big gems – i.e. Sigur Rós, The Postal Service, Beck, Bon Iver, and so on and so on. My hipster dream. But this year is different, there’s a deeper medium. The headliner stature dropped just slightly, but the undercards are stacked heavy. What we have this year is the best “Future Hits of Tomorrow, Yesterday” lineup that Adam Zacks and crew have ever dropped. I am more excited than ever – because I know this year will be a year where I head home the luckiest and most ahead of the curve concert-goer of 2016 – this entire lineup will be one that most non-attendees look back on years from now and say “I can’t believe they were at Sasquatch in 2016 and I didn’t go.” But not me.

Leading up to the festival, I want to share the artists I am most excited about spending Sasquatch with this year – so I can save you from making the poor decision to not attend. I want to share my most-loved, long term favorites, and the new artists I find while practicing good pre-festival etiquette. Learn your lineup! The best part of music festivals is not just catching the sets you have always dreamed of, but assuring you leave with multiple “I saw them when” checked boxes, before they become the sets you’ve always dreamed of.

Here is installment 1.

Review it, and don’t make a huge mistake. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE. Check out the lineup poster for more. 

The long-term favorites


Tycho

Tycho has been one of my absolute favorite artists over the past 5 years. I saw him play for the first time in 2012 when Tycho was essentially just Scott Hansen. Since then, I have been lucky enough to catch Tycho (the band) at least once a year. They’ve played Sasquatch twice before (2012,2014) and it was quite surprising to see them on the lineup again this year. I’ve been watching Tycho grow and grow with every performance. In 2012, an intimate set at Doug Fir Lounge was the kind of set you’d want to lull you to sleep. Beautiful, calming, and minimal. When I saw them last March in Seattle at Showbox SoDo to a sold out room, wall-to-wall warehouse style – it was as if they were an entire new band. It was no longer just Scott, but a full band of musicians each bringing their own talent and performing a unique piece of the full Tycho puzzle. Their visuals, developed by Scott himself, were larger than life, while the sounds were more explosive than ever before. No longer a mellow electronic lullaby – now a visually and audibly face-melting explosion of sound. The best part is, live versions of their tracks are different, seemingly improvised – so seeing them live is a completely different experience than listening to recordings. With a new record looming, I’m so excited anticipating how much wilder they could be this year. It’s been an amazing treat to watch them grow and this set is surely not to be missed.

Grimes

For those of you who were at Grimes‘ last Sasquatch set in 2014 – you know what this billing means. In 2014, the stage she played on was having terrible sound issues, and with Grimes’ crazy, bassy, sounds – almost no one in the audience was able to hear much more than wub wub. Experiencing what I recall to be no sound issues whatsoever last year, this set should be sweet redemption for all of us, and Grimes herself.  Not to mention her most recent album Art Angels is so freaky-good, we’ll have much more to look forward to than we even dreamed of two years ago. Grimes – the quirkiest, most adorable, extremely creative and talented lady is going to swoon the crap out of all who lovingly attend her set. And after missing her sold-out show last year in Portland, this will be a personal blessing for me.

Frightened Rabbit

This is another act that I am dearly in love with. Frightened Rabbit is one of my top 3 favorite artists of all time (along with Tycho, go figure) and to see them on the lineup for the first time this year, nearly brought me to tears. Frabbits, as culty fans such as myself refer to them, hail from Glasgow, Scotland – one of the best music scenes on the globe. They sing with thick Scottish accents that will make your heart swell, and have some of the most incredible lyrical poetry embedded in their indie-folk rock songs. A catalog of 4 LPs, each and every one a perfect beauty – Frightened Rabbit has been teasing a new album release this year. They are billed low on this lineup – so if you are not familiar with these Frabbits, please trust me on this one and do not miss this set.

New finds.


SOAK

First of my unknowns that I fell in love with on this year’s lineup is Ireland’s SOAK. SOAK released her debut album Before We Forgot How to Dream in May of 2015, and what a sad thing to have missed it for this long. Vocals reminiscent of 90s Brit female leads, (carrying her voice a la Beth Gibbons; Kelli Ali) with soft, minimal melodies. Her music is dark, and hauntingly beautiful. I imagine this set being an afternoon, intimate slot at the Yeti stage where we can all cuddle puddle and cry about melancholy beauty. I’ll be there. You be there too.

Autolux

PHEW – Not sure where this band has been all of my life. Autolux has been around for about 15 years with only two full-lengths, 2004’s Future Perfect and 2010’s Transit Transit. A three-piece from Los Angeles, Autolux will release their third album Pussy’s Dead on Danger Mouse’s new label, 30th Century Records, on April 1st. Addictively weird experimental/noise rock, Autolux has already announced slots at other big fests including Coachella and Primavera Sound, while kicking off a tour this March. Their new single “Soft Scene” hopefully provides a solid taste of what this new record, and Sasquatch set will be.

Briana Marela

When I first heard Briana Marela on my Sasquatch lineup playlist, I excitedly thought to myself “this sounds like a female, Sigur Rós!” – when I looked into her a bit more, I discovered that her album All Around Us was recorded in Reykjavik, Iceland and produced by Alex Somers, prior producer of, you guessed it, Sigur Rós (And the Alex of Jónsi & Alex). And to boot she is from our Pacific Northwest turf, another great thing about Sasquatch. So much local greatness. Marela’s Sigur Rós influence, very Icelandic sound, and special touch of the amazing Somers shines through in her music. Take note.