It stands to reason that the bands slated to perform at an inaugural Sasquatch launch party would also be booked to play the festival. That turned out not to be the case last night at the Crocodile last night. The only band on the bill that will be playing the show is hometown boys Fresh Espresso -- not surprising, since Mad Rad played last year.
Abbey Braden Surfer Blood played the Crocodile Monday, February 15
Though I was pretty impressed with last night's bill, it became pretty obvious that for most of the people in attendance, finding out the Sasquatch line-up was the main attraction, not the bands. Fresh Espresso opened the show, and as ever, they put out a lot of great energy. But even though the room was full and people were lined up around the Croc to get in, the crowd wasn't really responding.
I reasoned that perhaps most of the people were there to see Atlas Sound. Sasquatch is, after all, an indie-centric festival, with a few hipster-friendly hip hop acts thrown into the mix -- and I'm not saying it's bad to have that crossover appeal. But when Bradford Cox got up there with not much more than a guitar, a harmonica and a looping pedal, he wound up competing with the chatter of the crowd for dominance.
The set seemed somewhat unrehearsed, which is totally understandable if what he said about it taking fourteen hours for him to get here from Georgia, but Cox also played a brand-new, week-old song that wasn't quite gelling, mainly because the loop he recorded wasn't quite matching up with what he was playing live. It was almost discordant. And the trademark poltergeist voice he does was absent. Partway through the set, we found out why. "I forgot the thing that makes my voice sound weird," he told us, "so you guys are getting it raw." It was too bad that there didn't appear to be more diehard Atlas Sound fans in the audience, because I think they would've really loved to hear those sort of undoctored versions of Bradford Cox' songs, imperfections and all.
Overall, the crowd seemed to like it, but no one appeared to be really invested in his set, just as no one really bothered to respond to Fresh Espresso's charismatic performance. These people were here to find out what the Sasquatch line-up was. And thankfully, they did not make us wait until the end of a Monday night to find out what it was. After Atlas Sound left the stage, we were regaled with a video of some of the main performers saying, "I am Sasquatch!" to us. Between every band, the audience emitted as much (if not more) noise than they had offered up for Fresh Espresso or Atlas Sound. I seriously wondered if anyone would stick around for West Palm Beach band Surfer Blood.
Fortunately, people had the good manners to stay. While I wasn't particularly impressed with the band's recorded music -- it's melodic and fun, but it's also somewhat formulaic -- I really liked watching the band live. The band's guitar solos are great, and while they're certainly not breaking any new ground, I can understand Surfer Blood's appeal. These fresh-faced kids make hooky music that's fun to bounce around to, and sometimes, that's all you really want out of a band.
Anyway, in case you haven't seen it yet, here's the line-up for Sasquatch 2010:
My Morning Jacket, Pavement, Massive Attack, Ween, Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Band of Horses, The National, LCD Soundsystem, Tegan & Sara, Broken Social Scene, Passion Pit, She & Him, Public Enemy, Nada Surf, The New Pornographers, The xx, Dirty Projectors, OK GO, Drive By Truckers, Kid Cudi, Deadmau5, The Long Winters, Minus the Bear, The Mountain Goats, Quasi, Camera Obscura, Fruit Bats, Brother Ali, Midlake, Dr. Dog, The Hold Steady, Caribou, Simian Mobile Disco, City & Colour, No Age, The Temper Trap, VEtiver, Miike Snow, Portugal. The Man, Telekinesis, The Middle East, Mayer Hawthorne, Why? Girls, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Wale, The Lonely Forest, Japandroids, Boys Noize, YACHT, Laura Marling, Patrick Watson, Freelance Whales, Past Lives, Cymbals Eat Guitars, The Low Anthem, The Very Best, Phantogram, Neon Indian, Hudson Mohawke, Nurses, The Tallest Man On Earth, Fresh Espresso, Mumford & Sons, Jets Overhead, Tune-Yards, Shabazz Palaces, Fool's Gold, Maorning Teleportation, Z-Trip, Dam Funk, Local Natives, Avi Buffalo, Booka Shad, A-Trak, Yes Giantess, Craig Robinson, Rob Riggle, Garfunkel & Oates, Luke Burbank