Renee McMahon
We're out at the Gorge for Sasquatch! all weekend. See the 19 things we learned on Friday , the 17 things we learned


15 Things I Learned About Perv Chic, The Flaming Lips, and the Evolution of NW Indie Rock, Sunday at Sasquatch!

Renee McMahon
We're out at the Gorge for Sasquatch! all weekend. See the 19 things we learned on Friday, the 17 things we learned on Saturday, and check back for our musings through Monday night.

1. No matter how many times you see the Flaming Lips, Wayne Coyne's balls remain impressive.

2. As entertaining as Lips shows are, the complicated apparatus of band members, confetti cannons, and dancing Dorothys, Tin Men, and Lions, weigh down their sets. It takes a long time to get a song out. This would be problematic if Flaming Lips shows were about music. They're not. They're about a spectacle and a shared experience, much like Saquatch! In fact ...

3. ... When podcast host Luke Burbank came to the stage during the Lips' set to present a 10th birthday cake to the fest, he joked that Coyne was the inspiration for the original Sasquatch! mascot. Lips shows are a good analogy for Sasquatch! Like the festival, they're about spectacle, pageantry, audience, and a shared experience as much, if not more so, than the music.

Renee McMahon

Renee McMahon
Cold War Kids' Nathan Willett.
4. The Cold War Kids still bring a strain of inimitable, intense chaos to the stage.

5. The Kids' cover of Creedence Clearwater's "Long As I Can See the Light" is a highlight of the weekend.

6. Archers of Loaf bassist Matt Gentling is a dead ringer for Steve Zahn.

7. Sasquatch! may be an indie-rock festival, but it's not a hipster festival. Yes, there's plenty of hipster-watching to be had (and lots and lots of stuffed animals), but it's group outweighed by lip-locking teenagers, bros, and parents who rock out to the decidedly un-indie sounds of Sam Roberts and Foo Fighers as much as Beach House and Jenny & Johnny.

Renee McMahon
Headdresses and "war paint" went mainstream this year.

Renee McMahon
Beach House's Victoria Legrand.
8. Beach House's set sounded like it was choreographed 10 minutes before the show. Vocalist Victoria Legrand and guitarist Alex Scally, joined by a drummer, did little more than replicate the dreamy pop of records like Teen Dream. They'd have done well to enlist a couple/three additional noisemakers to bring some real-life instrumentation to warm up their sound.

9. If Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears can tour with a seven-piece band and play the third-tier Yeti stage, Beach House can afford to bring a little adventure to their live show.

Renee McMahon
The Moondoggies
10. Seattle's Moondoggies have perhaps never sounded better than they did in their early-afternoon set. For the first time, the quartet swelled to a six-piece, and brought with them a sprawling, expansive sound that was fitting for their inspiring surrounding, but also did wonders for old hats like "Changing." It wasn't a perfect set. There are some growing pains--not all the instrumental solos were as sharp as they could have been and some of the multitasking was a tad clumsy. But it shows much promise for the band's future. Lead vocalist Kevin Murphy told me after the show that they're writing new music for the expanded lineup. It's an exciting development indeed.

Renee McMahon
Basia Bulat + autoharp.
11. Basia Bulat is pronounced "Basha Boo-lat," and she can play the hell out of the autoharp.

12. Taylor and Emma have been together for four years. Those four years, Taylor, a random fan, said from the stage during Tokyo Police Club's set, have defined him. Which is why he got down on one knee and proposed to Emma. She said yes.

Renee McMahon
Seattle's Mad Rad
13. When a band addresses the festival audience as "Sasquatch" he/she's more right then they know. The audience defines the festival more than the bands. Sasquatch! targets a specific audience that's greater than the sum of the collective bands' fan base. It's more a case of bands being invited to perform for the Sasquatch! crowd than a festival trying to bring a band's fans into the show.

14. Perv chic--as best demonstrated by the band, shirtless dude in a faux-leopard vest with a pink backpack--is having a moment.

15. What Sasquatch! provides is a snapshot of a scene. There's a reason KEXP chief Tom Mara told me last week that if his radio station were a festival, they'd be Sasquatch! The festival brings together the Northwest indie rock establishment--local bands and national. Yes, many of the acts on the bill are festival vets. And, yes, now that the festival has a baked-in following, it'd be nice to see the fest challenge its audience a bit more. But while I came into Sasquatch! expecting a large degree of sameness, that hasn't proven to be the case. Sasquatch! regulars are stretching, and the new bands are expanding the genre's range. Whether it's Iron & Wine enlisting 11 friends on stage or Moondoggies bringing on two more players to create their most--for lack of a better word--epic set yet, it's clear that the Northwest brand of indie rock is in motion. (And, as Secret Sisters will tell you, it doesn't take a bus-load of players to put on your thinking cap.)

Renee McMahon
Mad Rad's pepes.
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