My first and most pressing question is this: where is the hip hop? Whoever organized this festival really dropped the ball on that in a serious way. I have seen excellent hip hop artists perform at Sasquatch in the past, from Blackalicious to the Blue Scholars, and I do not understand why the festival totally abandoned the genre this year. Bad move, guys.
In fact, I feel like the whole line-up is very heavily skewed in favor of melancholy indie rock preferred by morose, surly fashion hipsters who refuse to dance or smile and probably got that way because their testicles are sore from the pre-teen girl pants they wear. Which does not make for fun times at a festival. Don't get me wrong-- I like my fair share of melancholy indie rock. I just wish they could've balanced it out with more upbeat dance music. Like, oh, I don't know, maybe some HIP HOP.And maybe it's just because I've been in the Pacific Northwest for almost six years now, but I've seen a lot of the PNW-based bands on the roster before, because most of them play Seattle and Portland all the time. It's sort of a Catch-22, if you will, because I imagine Sasquatch's bookers are kind of obligated to tap bands who've been getting a lot of local hype, but then again, most of the folks who attend this festival live in the Pacific Northwest and, if they go to shows regularly, have probably seen most or all of these bands half a dozen times by now. I can't help but feel like whoever booked this festival could've tried to be a little less, I don't know, safe with the whole thing. Plus, there are a lot of repeat acts. Sasquatch is pretty notorious for that. Except that the repeat act I really wanted to see-- Neko Case-- isn't playing. Sigh.
That said, I'm really excited for Animal Collective, the Wrens, of Montreal (since I didn't get to see them when they were in town), Girl Talk, Erykah Badu and Bishop Allen. And there are some positives to attending a festival when the line-up is only so-so, because when there's a truly stellar line-up, you have to reconcile yourself with the knowledge that you'll only get to see about a quarter of the bands you wanted to see. In this situation, there are only about 25 bands I'm really interested in checking out over three days, which means I'll probably get to see most of them.
And hey, let's look on the bright side: At least Michael Franti and Spearhead aren't playing this year, because sitting through their godawful imitation-Phish last year served as a painful reminder exactly why and how much I can't stand jam bands. Singing "baby I love you" for ten minutes while ambling off on some stoned, destination-less guitar riff is not music. It's crap. And even though that crowd was happy to dance, I'd rather watch a crowd stand their with their arms crossed all day than have to endure five minutes of that garbage again. Here's to surly fashion hipsters! Guess we're not so different after all.