Sasquatch! Friday: Killer Traffic (But No Steve Winwood), Crowd-Burning Hits (Without the Hitmakers), and Mark Lanegan (Grunge's Bad Blake)

Renee McMahon
Gettin' down to Pretty Light, Friday night at the Sasquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge.
Sorry, I'd have more to report had we not sat for two-plus hours in the short stretch of road between the 90 and the Gorge. Oh, well. We got to know 95.7, the region's version of Seattle's Jack FM (only better curated).

Mark Lanegan (7:45 p.m., Bigfoot Stage): the former Screaming Trees frontman, and the guy who plays the Beast character to Isobel Campbell's Beauty (the pair's 2010 release, Hawk, is an absolute classic)--is becoming (or has always been) the Bad Blake character of the post-'90s grunge class. The black-eyed crooner grips the microphone, huskies through his parts, and staggers off the stage in a gait that is both mightily deliberate and mysteriously tender. It's not clear if his minimal interaction with the audience and absence of charm should be taken as disdain for the scenario (or, worse, laziness), or if his modest performances are the full extent of the possibilities of a troubled soul. Sadly, I missed most of this set (thanks, traffic!).

Girl Talk (8:30 p.m., Sasquatch Stage): Here's an artist who's perfectly built for today's attention-challenged, hyper-connected youth. The DJ known as Girl Talk is all comfort food, mashing up choice hooks of disparate eras into a casserole that's both instantly recognizable and moderately original--though, let's be honest, originality takes a distant backseat to entertainability. And Girl Talk is flush with the latter, striking a winning balance of '90s nostalgia (all the rage) and ironic top-40 favorites (always in season). On my way down the hill to the stage, I heard him weave an inspired transition between Beck's "Loser" and Aerosmith's "Dream On." And when he dropped a heavy nod to Beyonce's "Crazy In Love," the already enthralled crowd lost it.

Renee McMahon
Pretty Lights, pretty light.
Macklemore (10 p.m.ish, surprise set, "Maine Stage" on the Sasquatch stage floor): Mack and DJ Ryan Lewis had the misfortune of following up Girl Talk's fireworks (seriously, there were home run-worthy fireworks and confetti after the set). But the pair--and their assembled guests--handled the task with aplomb, working in old favorites ("Irish Celebration") and new jams ("Thrift Store" something).

Pretty Lights (10:15, Sasquatch Stage): After Girl Talk's shenanigans--which included a stage full of audience-plucked dancers, his beats fell like smooth jazz by comparison. And didn't sound nearly as good as a cold rack of Coors Light.

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