Festival Review: The Best and Worst of the 2015 Sasquatch! Music Festival

Editor Kevin Vanstone is back from the 2015 Sasquatch! Music Festival, and after four beautiful days of music, drinking, and dancing he has sobered up to compile his thoughts on another wonderful weekend at The Gorge.

Sasquatch! Festival Performance Power Rankings:

  2. Run The Jewels
  3. Tame Impala
  4. King Tuff
  5. St. Vincent
  6. Father John Misty
  7. St. Paul And Then Broken Bones
  8. Royal Blood
  9. Action Bronson
  10. Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters

Best Performance – ODESZA

The Sasquatch! Music Festival has maintained a dedication to musicians hailing from the Pacific-Northwest throughout the years, and 2015 was no exception featuring acts like Sleater-Kinney, Modest Mouse, The Decemberists, The New Pornographers, Dan Mangan & Blacksmith, and many more.

It was Odesza, however, that stole the show with their closing set on the second night of the festival. Playing the last set in the El Chupacabra dance tent, the duo consisting of Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight threw down a career-spanning set peppered with hit singles from their recent album In Return. The set culminated with a live performance featuring the beautiful Zyra, who is the only artist with two vocal features on the album. The final song of the night, ‘Only’, was a perfect way to close out day two in the tent.

Best Tribute: Robert Plant to B.B. King

I was pleasantly surprised by how well Robert Plant’s voice held up during his performance at The Gorge. While we all know he was once the greatest rock and roll singer on the planet, he is now 66 years old, and a life of rock and roll is not kind to the vocal chords. Plant’s tribute to B.B. King, which came in the form of a moving ‘Thrill Is Gone’ cover was one of the highlights of his set.Yes, it was even better than the Zeppelin re-workings.

Best Cover: Thunderpussy – Dazed And Confused

With a name like Thunderpussy, I was not surprised in the least when I heard the hard-rocking all-female quartet break out a cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Dazed And Confused’ complete with some bow-on-guitar action. You gotta love women that rock.

Worst Cover: Robert Plant – Spoonful

As I mentioned above, I thought Robert Plant’s voice sounded great for a career vocalist at the age of 66. There was one song, however, where Plant’s age could be heard. Although to be fair, I don’t know if there was ever a time he could cover the one and only Howlin’ Wolf.

For the uninitiated, Howlin’ Wolf has one of the most notorious voices in the history of music.

Full stop.

Now, as the frontman of Led Zepplein, Robert Plant is easily just as important to music as The Wolf, but one does not simply cover one of Chester Burnett’s songs. Sure, Led Zeppellin might have made a career out of covering old blues songs and making them their own, but at the age of 66 even Robert Plant was began to show some rust.

With Plant at the helm, the hook of spoonful became a stomping beat of “That SPOON, that SPOON, that SPOONfull…..” which was sung by the entire band while being drowned out by a heavy guitar riff. It was a bold attempt. but it missed the mark.

Best Hip-Hop Performance: Run The Jewels

Returning to the Bigfoot Stage as a major headliner rather than a humble up-and-coming rap duo, the team of Killer Mike and El-P crushed it once again, this time in front of a crowd that more accurately reflected the group’s talent and popularity. I mean, just look at that mob get crazy.

While I told myself I had to sneak away from the end of RTJ’s set in order to secure a good spot for Kendrick, I definitely regret the decision. Lucky for me, they’re both set to play Pemberton 2015.

Worst Set-list: Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar’s performance at Sasquatch! 2015 is worthy of a full review, so I will save my long-winded response for an upcoming post, however it is worth mentioning here that Kendrick’s song selection was one of the strangest things I experienced all weekend, and that is saying something my friends. Kendrick’s set featured four consecutive performances of ‘M.A.A.D. City’ (He’s got nothing on Kanye and Jay-Z, but there’s room for regression) however it was devoid of any tracks from To Pimp A Butterfly, save for ‘Alright’.

Fucking right I’ve got a bone to pick.

Biggest Rock Star: King Tuff

With respect to Annie Clarke, the soul of St. Vincent who is a rock goddess in her own right, the biggest rock star at the 2015 Sasquatch! Music Festival was Kyle Thomas, the face of three-headed rock trio King Tuff. Where St. Vincent’s music takes a more artistic and intellectual approach than her male counterpart, King Tuff’s brazen celebration of sex, drugs, and rock and roll is the perfect complement to an over-driven guitar.

Best Guitar Play: King Tuff / St. Vincent

Fuck, can these two ever shred. Annie Clarke’s beautiful, frantic solo work was rivaled only by Kyle Thomas’ parade of power chords and filthy guitar licks last weekend. While St. Vincent absolutely owned every part of the main stage throughout her performance,it was tragic to see King Tuff and his hard-rocking companions relegated to the Yeti stage.

More people need to know about King Tuff, the trio is more than worthy.

Best Crowd Interaction: Ryan Adams

For better or for worse, Ryan Adams will never be able to escape the Bryan Adams’ oral sex anthem, ‘Summer Of 69’. While performing in front of a crowd full of Vancouverites, where Bryan is from, Ryan heard a few requests for the classic summer jam, and he wasn’t impressed. Needless to say Ryan took the time to let the crowd know that he could hear us, and that he is not playing the fucking song.

Unfortunately for the contemporary artist, the only way he’s going to escape Summer Of 69’s shadow is by permanently adding it to his set-list, or by writing another song dedicated to a sexual position that has the potential to transcend its predecessor.

Your move, Ryan.