Archive for May, 2011

May 27, 2011

Top 3 Can’t Miss Acts of Sasquatch Monday

We’ve come to the fourth and final installment of our Sasquatch previews… with four days packed with great sets, it’s hard to pick just a handful we’d urge you to check out. Monday, the final day of the festival, is no exception.

Black Mountain

This Canadian band hit people’s radars in 2005 during an opening stint for Coldplay. While Coldplay brings to mind mainstream piano pop, Black Mountain are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They play spacey, atmospheric rock that is both dark and beautiful. They have a hint of psychedelia from the 60s and 70s, and we think the majestic background of the gorge will suit them just fine. You can catch them at the Bigfoot Stage at 3:00 PM.

Stornoway

We first saw this indie folk-pop band headline a show with openers The Head & The Heart at the Crocodile last year, and we’ve been hooked on their Oxford-based sounds ever since. The band is engaging and fun, and their British accents give them a few extra brownie points. Plus they’re playing the Bigfoot Stage after Black Mountain, do you don’t even have to pack up your blankets and snacks.

Wilco

A longtime cult favorite of many and despite major labels and Grammys, Wilco has managed to stay mostly below the “mainstream” radar. Wilco really put Chicago on the indie-rock map with their complex arrangements, wide variety of musical styles and frontman Jeff Tweedy’s signature smooth vocals. We were lucky enough to see Wilco when they were in Seattle last year, and we’re sticking around Sasquatch late on a work night just to see them again. Don’t head back to the west side of the state without sticking around to hear at least the first few songs of their set.

May 27, 2011

Top 3 Can’t Miss Acts of Sasquatch Sunday

Yesterday, we shared our top picks for sets at Sasquatch on Friday and Saturday, so today we’re going to finish up with our picks for the rest of the festival. Sunday is our longest day by far… our first set starts at noon and our final set doesn’t take the stage until 11:00 PM. We’re bracing ourselves for the 12+ hours of awesome music, and we’re especially looking forward to the following three bands (plus another honorable mention!)

Also, did we mention it’s supposed to be sunny and in the 70s at the Gorge on Sunday?!?!

The Smith Westerns

The Smith Westerns are relatively new to our iPods, and we can’t wait to see them live. The band is the first to take the Sasquatch Stage on Sunday, so make sure you don’t party too hard on Saturday night after Death Cab’s set. They combine Americana and surf pop for a feel-good set that will start your Sunday off on the right foot.

Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

We can’t deny it… Black Joe Lewis is one of our favorite acts at this year’s Sasquatch. The group has a unique brand of pop-funk that will make you shake your moneymaker. Black Joe Lewis and his cronies still have fun with music – with songs like “Booty City” in their repertoire, it’s hard not to smile and get your groove on. The dance party will be going down at the Yeti Stage around 4:30 PM.

Ratatat

Speaking of dance parties, we can’t write about Sunday’s lineup without recommending one of the most anticipated sets of the weekend. Ratatat produces a blend of experimental house and electronic dance music with a rock sensibility. The Brooklyn duo is able to create a larger-than-life sound that most find utterly intoxicating. With the latest show of the weekend, which starts at 11:00 PM at the Bigfoot Stage, we expect only those devoted to a real party will attend.

Honorable Mention: Modest Mouse

Sure, the band has a reputation for hit-and-miss live shows, and we STILL can’t get “Float On” to stop repeating itself in our heads. But Issac Brock and the other fellows of Modest Mouse have had a huge impact on modern day alternative music, and frankly, the band just doesn’t play that often anymore. Modest Mouse songs are covered by a plethora of other well known musicians and their tours have launched their openers to success (read: Wolf Parade). The (now) Portland-based legends will take the Sasquatch Stage at 10:00 PM, and we’d recommend that you swing by to sing along to some old favorites.

May 26, 2011

Top 3 Can’t Miss Acts of Sasquatch Saturday

Saturday boasts the best lineup of the weekend (see our full schedule here), so picking our top three favorites was tough. After a lot of mental anguish, we were able to narrow it down to three (with an honorable mention for good measure).

Pepper Rabbit

We’ve covered Pepper Rabbit before, and at the risk of sounding repetitive, you really should try to make it to The Gorge early in the day on Saturday to catch their set at the Yeti Stage. With their enchanting instrumentation, their orchestral pop composition and playful stage presence, Pepper Rabbit remains on our list of top recommendations.

Wolf Parade

We’ve been big fans of Wolf Parade for the better part of the past decade. With members from other projects like Frog Eyes, The Handsome Furs and Hot Hot Heat, they’re a collective of truly talented musicians. They play dark, keyboard-driven alt-pop that’s oftentimes light-years catchier than the other acts also fronted by the prolific Spencer Krug. Wolf Parade will be on the Sasquatch Stage (aka the main stage) at 4:20 on Saturday.

Bright Eyes

With a surprising new album and an strong fan following, Connor Oberst of Bright Eyes is no stranger to wooing critics left and right. Bright Eyes has ditched the deeply introspective (some might safe, mopey), singer-songwriter vibe and have wandered into the realm of experimental art rock (while still featuring Connor’s fragile vocals). The latest album, The People’s Key, has been on regular rotation on our iPods since it hit shelves in February, and we’re really looking forward to seeing how Connor commands the Sasquatch Stage on Saturday evening.

Honorable Mention: Death Cab for Cutie

In terms of recent releases, we haven’t been as excited about any of Death Cab’s albums since Transatlanticism. That said, Ben Gibbard and the guys still know how to engage and audience and put on a damn good live show. Unlike many other artists, Death Cab knows how to create a festival setlist – they do a nice job of combining new singles with the old favorites that only their earliest fans would recognize. Especially if you haven’t had the chance to see Death Cab live, we’d really recommend sticking around the Sasquatch stage after Bright Eyes wraps up to catch their set. (PS – did we mention they just did a pretty amazing live taping of the music video for “You Are A Tourist”?)

May 26, 2011

Top 3 Can’t Miss Acts of Sasquatch Friday

Now that we’ve settled on and shared our schedule, we’re really starting to get excited about so many of our favorite artists who will be playing Sasquatch this year. While we’d be the first to admit this year’s lineup pales in comparison to the previous year, which boasted Pavement, Dr. Dog, TMBG, Midlake and pretty much every favorite band we’ve had over the past decade, this year certainly has it’s fair share of great acts as well.

With the weekend quickly approaching, we wanted to lay out our thoughts on the top 3 can’t miss shows of each day. As is only natural, we’ll start with Friday and work our way through the long weekend.

Rival Schools

Having first heard the band’s debut, United by Fate, back in high school, seeing Rival Schools on the lineup brought back fond memories from ten years prior. The band, which rose from the ashes of Quicksand, Gorilla Bisquits among other post-hardcore mainstays of the 90s, is sure to put on a high energy show that remind many why they used to give the band’s debut a prime position between Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American and At the Drive-In’s Relationship of Command.

Against Me!

Like peers Alkaline Trio and newer kid on the block Frank Turner, Against Me! play narrative-based hook-heavy punk pop that’s fit for festival-size crowds. While they’re quite unlikely to break any new ground this weekend, their set will no doubt delight fans of punk sing-alongs and high energy performances.

Foo Fighters

As the biggest name of the festival, honorary Seattle son Dave Grohl’s set with his post-Nirvana group is the band most likely to bring an arena rock energy to the natural beauty that is the Gorge.With the band’s latest album, which reunited Grohl with bassist Krist Novalesic and producer Butch Vig, just over a month old, expect to hear a mix of their poppier fan favorites from yesteryear and the later, heavier variety of straight-ahead hard-hitting melodic rock songs.

May 25, 2011

Rock and Blues Tonight at Tractor with Koko & The Sweetmeats

We’re getting closer and closer to Sasquatch, but there’s a show tonight that we’re really excited about.

Koko & The Sweetmeats offer a charming brand of bluesy indie rock, full of fuzzy guitars and jangling tambourines. Their songs have a hint of loneliness amidst the boot stompin’ melodies, and their dual vocal work is a nice touch. You can catch Koko & The Sweetmeats tonight at the Tractor Tavern with local alt-rocker, Solvents.

5/25 Koko & The Sweetmeats / Solvents / The Sythony @ Tractor Tavern :: Tickets are $6 :: Doors @ 9:00 PM :: 21+

May 24, 2011

Presenting… Our Official Sasquatch 2011 Schedule!

As we write and/or tell those within earshot every day, the city we call home is exceptionally rich with great live music options. During the summer, this trite statement hardly begins to scratch the surface. In addition to the usual tough choices we’re faced with at our favorite venues, festivities and summer-only venues tip the situation to be one of an embarrassment of riches. While we’ll talk more about some of our favorite events like KEXP’s concerts at the mural, block parties and other street festivals throughout the better months, now we turn our attention to the massive musicfest east of the Cascades: Sasquatch!

Giving Bumbershoot, the bookend festival at the other end of the summer, a run for its money since it’s inception, Sasquatch surpasses Bumbershoot in both natural beauty and buzz bands. If all goes as planned, this year will be no exception. We’ll be rolling out recommendations over the next few days, so keep your eyes here as we approach the best Gorge weekend of the year. With past festivals featuring hail storms and ad hoc dance parties, we’re sure we’ll come home with lots of fun stories.

That said, here’s our full schedule for the coming weekend. We’ll highlight our favorites through the end of the week, but if you’ll be at the festival and want to say hello to the SEA live MUSIC team, here’s where we’ll be. It’s going to be a busy weekend!

Our Picks:
Top 3 Can’t Miss Acts of Sasquatch Friday
Top 3 Can’t Miss Acts of Sasquatch Saturday
Top 3 Can’t Miss Acts of Sasquatch Sunday
Top 3 Can’t Miss Acts of Sasquatch Monday

May 24, 2011

Beach Blanket Party with Allo Darlin’ (SHOW CANCELED)

Well, we have some bad news, folks. Tonight’s recommended show was canceled. However, the band is so fun, we’re going to post about them anyway and let you know if their show gets rescheduled. They’re a band that’s been on heavy rotation on our iPods – London-based Allo Darlin’ was supposed to be headlining at The Vera Project.

First of all, their name is just really fun to say with a faux British accent (“allo darlin’!, allo darlin’!” – you know you want to try it.) Second, their smooth blend of surf rock and twee pop is perfect for the increasingly pleasant weather. Frontwoman Elizabeth Morris has an easy-on-the-ears, breathy voice, and when backed by strumming ukelele, bouncy bass lines and tambourine, you’ll feel like you just turned on your own personal beach blanket bingo party.

The poor band was held up because of delays in visas, unfortunately. We’ll keep our eyes peeled to see if this show is rescheduled.

May 20, 2011

Friday Indie Pop with Aqueduct at The Vera Project

Frontmen can really make or break a band. Some don’t engage the audience enough, whereas others you wish would stop talking and start singing. But a few of our favorites are able to find the perfect balance in between. One example is David Terry from Aqueduct.

He lives in Seattle which automatically puts him in our good graces, but he’s charming, witty and a damn good keyboard player. His songs are clever and poppy, with intimate lyrics and addictive melodies. Aquaduct is understated, but sure to be one of the most enjoyable indie pop sets you’ll see this spring.

Also, if you have time this afternoon, swing by the Sunset Tavern in Ballard – KEXP is doing a live broadcast there all day with free music (plus you can pick up some Flying Squirrel pizza. YUM.)

5/20 Aqueduct / Tea Cozies / Seacats @ Vera Project :: Doors at 7:30 PM :: Tickets are $10 :: All Ages

May 16, 2011

Hymnal Harmonies with The Low Anthem Tonight at The Triple Door

The United States’ smallest state, Rhode Island, is only 37 miles wide. But never underestimate the amount of inspiration the tiny New England place can achieve.

The Providence-based The Low Anthem calls The Ocean State home. The quartet employees hushed harmonies and gentle instrumentation to create a solemn, hymn-like sound. They combine elements of indie pop, gospel and Americana for a truly gorgeous experience, and are playing the Triple Door tonight, which will be the perfect acoustical environment for the band’s delicate songs.

5/16 The Low Anthem / Daniel Lefkowitz @ Triple Door :: Tickets are $17 :: Doors at 6:00 PM :: All ages

May 16, 2011

Rollicking and Rolling with Man Man Tonight at Neumos

It can be hard to be quirky and genuine at the same time. Many bands who make the attempt to be kitschy just end up looking cheesy. But once in a while a band can pull it off in a natural, authentic way, such as Man Man.

With unconventional instrumentation (think spoons, pots & pans, childrens’ toys) and growling vocals that would make Tom Waits proud, Man Man produces carnival-like musical masterpieces. With war paint and cut off shorts, they oftentimes look like a group of kids from Lord of the Flies. Their irreverent, energetic live shows perfectly suit the boisterous, experimental pirate-pop sound they’ve perfected.

Man Man is in town promoting their new album, Life, Fantastic. Head to Neumos tonight for a rollicking show you won’t soon forget.

5/16 Man Man / Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers @ Neumos :: Doors at 8:00 PM :: Tickets are $18 :: All ages

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