Line-up, schmine-up--we'll get to it. First of all, though, let's not overlook the most>"/>
Das Racist photo by Stephen Giang; more in this slideshow.
Line-up, schmine-up--we'll get to it. First of all, though, let's not overlook the most important news of last night: Das Racist didn't fuck up their set, like, at all! Of their last two Seattle shows, one--a raucous sold-out set at the Comet--was awesome, while the other, at Chop Suey, was a mess. (A lot can malfunction when you're a prankster rap group whose lyrics are littered with empty beers and choked in weed smoke.) That unpredictability can be a good thing--some of the best live acts are volatile and uncertain as all hell, and a performance without a net is always more fun than safe reliability--but it can also just make for the occasional bummer show. No worries last night, though, as DR easily ran through 10 joints from their two outstanding mixtapes, and then crowd-surfed off to the tune of Tina Turner's "Simply the Best"--tan David Brent, y'all. Like Heems told the crowd: "This rap shit is mad easy, man"--and last night at least, they made it look like it.
Whether or not you like them on record, Mad Rad continue to put on a great live show, and they had the most enthusiastic crowd of any act at the Showbox last night. The Thermals were the same sweaty, screaming good time they always are (there's that reliability lurking), equal parts scrappy punk and poppy; highlights were "A Stare Like Yours," "How We Know," "Here's Your Future," and Todd Barry sitting in on drums for "No Culture Icons." (Side note: Dana Carvey, Fred Armisen, and now Todd Barry--are there any comedians who AREN'T drummers? Do the Boredoms know about this? They could do like an all-comedy edition of their BOADRUM series.)
For the grand finale, all three acts took the stage, along with a Nathaniel Hornblower-looking dude in glasses, a hat, some kind of vest, and a fake mustache who may or may not have been Macklemore. (Weird vests is kind of a tell.) DR rapped on like a rock version of Usher's "You Make Me Wanna," and then the whole thing just jammed out into cheerful, chaotic revelry, Buffalo Madonna closing the whole thing with an invitation: "Let's get fucked up at Sasquatch together!" But maybe not so fast . . .
Because the Sasquatch lineup is kind of a let-down after last year's LCD Soundsystem/Pavement/Vampy Weeks/Caribou monster. Mark Baumgarten at City Arts rightly points out that several of the headlining bands are returning to Sasquatch for the FOURTH time. And a lot of the anchor acts are veteran NW bands, which might be good for regional appeal, but will also mean that a lot of people will have seen these bands before. Some folks, ahem, will have been watching Modest Mouse and Death Cab since they were on the Eastside teen-center circuit 15 years ago. And looking down the lineup, the only band on it that I haven't already seen and am truly dying (literally--I'm in talks with the "Make a Wish" people) to see is freshly reunited '90s indie-rock shredders Archers of Loaf:
But maybe that's just me--one of the "hazards" of being a music critic is that you see tons of bands, so at some point maybe it's hard for a fest like Sasquatch to offer much that you just have to see. To the average concertgoer, I bet this year's Sasquatch lineup looks a lot more attractive. To me, though, it looks merely solid, which is too bad after a couple years that felt like total blowouts.
Anyway, first world problems, right? But even a grouchy old critic can still be pleasantly surprised, and so, once again, I would like to direct you to your new favorite band: Purple and Green.