May 28, 2011 at 12:15pm
LIVE FROM THE GORGE >>>
The amount of time that passed between entering the Gorge Amphitheatre and overhearing a debate about hockey: Approximately 40 seconds.
Yes, the Canadians have crossed the 49th parallel and taken over Sasquatch, the Gorge's annual kickoff party, again. And this year, with Vancouver headed to the Stanley Cup, Canucks pride has overtaken furry panda hats as the style du jour. (See dude in photo above.) And I'm calling it right now. By Sunday there will be packs of drunken Vancouver hockey hooligans that will make the year Canadians were all yelling "let's go Oooooooilers" every five minutes seem like an afternoon at the library. (Then again, maybe the $12 tall boys will put a damper on those shenanigans.)
But I digress. Got a late start on day one of the festival, but immediately honed in on a few changes from last year's layout. For starters, the covered area that was the comedy stage last year has been cleared of comics (today's "Trailer Park Boys" gig aside) and re-dubbed the Banana Shack. The layout is a bit more open to accommodate the late night dance parties that will be sprawling out onto the lawn every night, a la DJ Anjali & the Incredible Kid, who spun a mix of Banghara meets block rockin' beats as a few hundred fans jumped around last night.
The Banana Shack
There's also a fancy new shelter/product placement called the Red Bull Lounge nearby, which would be more fun if it served more than just, well, Red Bull. It's got two levels and moody magenta lighting; and, if nothing else, it'll come in handy if there's a repeat of the Biblical deluge that drove Neko Case offstage a few years back. And also, there's an entire trailer dedicated to PS3, which briefly stirred up that "L.A. Noire" monkey that's been on my back lately. (Will strong. Must resist and focus on music.)
The main stage
There weren't a whole lot of bands on Friday. And on the main stage I didn't quite feel the screechy, distorted jams that reunited dance-punk duo Death From Above 1979 was kickin' out. I liked their energy, but singer/drummer Sebastian Grainger and bassist/synth man Jesse Keeler often sounded disjointed and offbeat, like they were having trouble hearing themselves through the monitors. Maybe they're supposed to sound like that, but I haven't really gone through their catalogue.
New weird structure
For their part, day one headliners, the Foo Fighters, turned out the most galvanizing set I've seen them play. (Granted, I've only seen the band three times.) The Dave Grohl-led arena rock outfit rumbled to life with "Bridge Burning" from its decent new disc, "Wasting Light." And throughout, the Foos were playful and energized in a way that suggested the clock had been rolled back 15 years.
There was a fashion statement to underscore that notion, too.
"We made a point to have a full front row of flannel for ya tonight," said Grohl, as drummer Taylor Hawkins false started his old band's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
Grohl, Chris Shiflett, Nate Mendel and Pat Smear were all rockin' their best retro grunge wear. But Hawkins kind of screwed up the motif. "Don't they make flannel board shorts?" Grohl teased. "Bet you'd wear them then."
The Foos' two-hour set was, of course, a big hit parade and occasional ‘90s nostalgiafest capped off by - what else? - dreamy Gen-X anthem "Everlong." But what took the performance to the next level was Grohl's natural, head whipping showmanship and playful arrangements that breathed new life into familiar songs.
The band capped off "My Hero" with a frantic, prog rock breakdown (fitting since hit single "Rope" kind of sounds like Yes.) Jazzy, dub-inflected interludes and dueling blues guitar solos contrasted that killer riff from "Stacked Actors." and they even dropped bits of "Baba O'Reilly" into "Monkeywrench." But the set's highlight was "This is a Call," the first song the wrote together.
"Old motherfucker," Grohl said, teasing old school fans. "This song goes out to you."
For live updates throughought this year's Sasquatch Music Festival follow Ernest Jasmin at @SavageErnests on Twitter.
May 27, 2011
Dear Rosemary (with Bob Mould)
Learn to Fly
Cold Day in the Sun (Taylor Hawkins singing)
This is a Call
All My Life
Times Like These
Young Man Blues (The Who)
Off duty rules.
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