A band of anthropomorphic Sasquatches jammed out to Death’s proto-punk scorcher “Freakin' Out” on a projector screen Monday evening at the Neptune Theater. A packed crowd screamed and cheered as if the Seahawks had just won the Super Bowl all over again. Skittles were even scattered across The Neptune Theater’s floor, courtesy of the evening’s host, John Roderick.
With every name that scrolled on the screen at the Sasquatch! Music Festival’s lineup reveal party, the noise got louder. Outkast, Queens of the Stone Age, Haim, The National, and so on. Then the newly founded second Fourth of July weekend lineup started to scroll. Indiscernible squeals shifted into “Oh my god!” and “This can’t be real!” as legendary names like Soundgarden, New Order, and Neutral Milk Hotel appeared. Once the excitement and screaming was at its apex, indie rock group Cold War Kids took the stage and burst into a ferocious rendition of their amped-up single “Miracle Mile”. After a long night of mismatched bands and high anticipation for the lineup announcement, Cold War Kids’ feverish guitars and piercing vocals were a much-needed shot of adrenaline to match the lineup high.
The band blazed through a few new songs but stuck mostly to material off its first two albums, Robbers & Cowards and Loyalty to Loyalty. The rickety and jarring “I’ve Seen Enough” played to the band’s fuzzed out, blues roots. Ironically the song’s chorus, “How’s it gonna feel when summer ends? Out of money, out of friends,” could have easily been played as a bitter commentary on the entire music festival concept.
Prior to the big announcement, Brooklyn group St. Lucia invoked nearly every aspect of ‘80s music in their set. Lead vocalist and guitarist Jean-Philip Grobler’s perfectly feathered hair blew as he dished out Duran Duran by-way-of A-ha anthems. Blaring synthesizers, tropical drums, and revved guitars made every track feel exceedingly epic. If Top Gun or Say Anything had been playing in the background, it wouldn’t have been out of place. The crowd danced when Grobler asked them to dance, jumped when he asked them to jump, and sang when he asked them to sing. With all of the jumping and guitar thrashing he did, Grobler had earned his keep as the night’s perfect enigmatic frontman.
Fellow opener Sir Sly also tried to catch some of the synth-pop nostalgia, but with less than spectacular results. Whereas Grobler and St. Lucia seemed sincere in its glam and self-aware of its cheesiness, Sir Sly came across as modern rock radio after-thought. Most of the songs seemed like variations of Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive.” Despite the bandmembers’ high cheekbones and angular haircuts, and though lead singer Landon Jacobs had some killer, slithering snake inspired dance moves, it was a hard sell.
Seattleites Peter Quirk and Derek Fudesco premiered new material from their band The Cave Singers. The duo performed mostly on their hollow body electrics, with Fudesco occasionally picking up a bass. Though the arrangements were sparse, the performance showed the group moving in closer on pop melodies while retaining their folk roots.
It was a fitting kick-off for the Northwest’s premier destination music festival, the anticipation for which will now be occupying the minds of Northwest music fans for the next five months.
Here are the full lineups for both weekends of the Sasquatch! Music Festival:
Memorial Day Lineup (May 23-25)
Outkast, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, M.I.A., Foster the People, Kid Cudi, Haim, Neko Case, Foals, Major Lazer, Cut Copy, Die Antwoord, Elbow, Violent Femmes, The Naked And Famous, Cage The Elephant, Mogwai, Tyler, the Creator, Chance The Rapper, Portugal. The Man, Rudimental, Boys Noize, Gesaffelstein, Cold War Kids, City and Colour, Phantogram, First Aid Kit, Tune-Yards, Yelle, AlunaGeorge, Panda Bear, Phosphorescent, Bob Mould, Washed Out, Band of Skulls, Austra, Parquet Courts, Damien Jurado, Deafheaven, Big Freedia, Classixx, Black Joe Lewis, Liars, Tourist, Ryan Hemsworth, Tokimonsta, Chet Faker, Banks, The Dodos, The Lonely Forest, Lucius, Hozier, The Stepkids, Half Moon Run, Little Green Cars, Crystal Fighters, Houndmouth, Cloud Control, Jonathan Wilson, Waxahatchee, Foy Vance, Mary Lambert, Willy Mason, Papa, Shakey Graves, The Growlers, Syd Arthur, Cowboy and Indian, White Sea, Rathborne, Pink Mountaintops, The Physics, Radiation City, La Luz, The Bright Light Social Hour, Big Scary, Modern Kin, Tacocat, Raz Simone, Sam Lachow, Gifted Gab, Hobosexual, The Grizzled Mighty, Fly Moon Royalty, The Flavr Blue, Deap Vally & more.
Comedy: Princess Feat. Maya Rudolph, Nick Swardson, Bridget Everett, Eric André, Charlyne Yi
Fourth Of July Lineup (July 4-6)
Soundgarden, Kraftwerk (3D), New Order, Frank Ocean, Röyksopp + Robyn, Neutral Milk Hotel, Spoon, Broken Bells, Tegan and Sara, Local Natives, La Roux, Gogol Bordello, Jake Bugg, Atmosphere, Rhye, The Bloody Beetroots, Dillon Francis, Big Gigantic, The Black Angels, Deltron 3030, The Horrors, Junip, The Notwist, St. Lucia, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Dr. Dog, Talib Kweli, Of Montreal, The Cave Singers, Punch Brothers, Action Bronson, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Sharon Van Etten, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Sol, Casey Veggies, RL Grime, Tchami, Audion, Fuck Buttons, Courtney Barnett, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Cloud Nothings, Foxygen, Palma Violets, Mikal Cronin, Mac DeMarco, Jon Hopkins, Gold Panda, Majical Cloudz, Duke Dumont, Oneohtrix Point Never, Death, Black Prairie, Latyrx, Metz, John Grant, Reigning Sound, Black Milk, Typhoon, Cass McCombs, Young & Sick, No, Boy & Bear, Ásgeir, Wild Cub, Gangstagrass, Phox, Ages and Ages, The Districts, Mimicking Birds, Chad VanGaalen, Shelby Earl, Hunter Hunted, Fly Golden Eagle, Sandrider, Helms Alee, Night Beats, Chastity Belt, Dude York, Iska Dhaaf, Kithkin, Pollens & more, plus 4th of July Fireworks.
Comedy: Demetri Martin, Eugene Mirman, Kurt Braunohler, W. Kamau Bell, Kyle Dunnigan, John Hodgman