Sasquatch Sunday rolled late into the night with Ratatat’s closing set. Performances leading up to the New York electric duo’s set included Beach House, Cold War Kids, Flogging Molly, Flaming Lips, and Modest Mouse.
Touring on the group’s first Sup Pop release, “Team Dream,” from earlier this year, Beach House’s Alex Scally was conversational with the crowd. “Are you enjoying the day?” she asked. “Are you enjoying each other? Good job! Humans were made to cooperate. Good human beings.”
Scally seemed a bit awkward throughout, saying, “We’re enjoying ourselves, believe it or not.”
Cold War Kids, who played Sasquatch two years before, were also touring on a new release, “Mine Is Yours.” Live their sound was consistent, though it seemed as nothing much has changed for the Long Beach boys besides the addition of Creedence’s “Long As I Can See The Light” to their set.
Dave King kicked up the atmosphere with Flogging Molly and his witty stage humor. Their newest album, released in May, showcases the band’s rollicking Celtic-inspired punk ballads.
“There were lots of people when we were making this album who lost their jobs,” King said. “This is going out to all of you lovely people who are unemployed,” and played “Revolution.”
King followed up with “Selfish Man,” a song he dedicated to himself. “Are these screens on?” he asked. “It makes me look like a bigger dick than I am, at least that’s what my mother tells me.”
King’s clever, unlike Isaac Brock, who’s just a dick. During the group’s headlining set Brock belittled his fans, taking long pauses between songs to hold awkward conversations with the audience.
“Who has hiked the gorge?” Brock asked. “One guy? That is disafuckingpointing.”
Leading up to Modest Mouse’s set, on the smallest stage Das Racist asked, “What’s up white people?”
From flashing titties to throwing Soy Joys (given away for free at the festival) onstage, the crowd was feisty, encouraged by the Brooklyn-based group’s clever onstage humor. Accompanied by a horn section the boys of Das Racist propelled through a slightly slurry set.
When Wayne Coyne rolled onto the crowd in his clear human-sized hamster ball, he launched a classic Flips performance, complete with on-stage costumed dancers, confetti, streamers, balloons, and an on-mic camera.
“Thank you for being such freaks,” Coyne said. “So enthusiastic and so easily provoked to be happy.”
What was atypical was the performance of the group’s 1999 album, “The Soft Bulletin,” from front to back. Some songs were excluded due to time constraints, but their rendition of the dream-like album was wondrous.
When Coyne performed “The Spiderbite Song,” he described incidents that threatened the lives of drummer/keyboardist Steven Drozd and bassist Michael Ivings. “This next song is about a couple different episodes I was lucky enough to turn into this story. Even though everyone is still alive, at the time, it was absolutely fucking tragic.”
Coyne’s banter seemed profoundly heartfelt. “That’s why we have music,” he said, “when the worst of it happens.”
The set was paused for a birthday celebration. Festival founder Adam Zacks (introduced as Luke Skywalker by Coyne) brought out a giant birthday cake to celebrate the exact 10-year birthday of the Sasquatch Music Festival. “No one knows this but the Sasquatch mascot was initially based in part on Wayne Coyne,” Zacks said. “He was too sexy for a Sasquatch.”
“We wish that we could throw this cake out there and you guys can just go fucking crazy,” Coyne said. And indeed, he took fistfills of cake and chucked it into the audience.
In a return to seriousness, Coyne dedicated “Waitin’ For A Superman” to the departed Elliott Smith. “Normally we don’t play this song at a festival because it reminds us too much of sadness. But, sometimes by singing about it, we get to where we understand a different dimension of our unbearable sadness.”
Coyne described being on tour when they heard the news that Smith had died. “I don’t think we will ever really know if he took his own life,” Coyne said. “But there were plenty of times when we were around him that we felt that he was waiting for an answer; he was waiting for sometime to come along and maybe make everything bearable. We can’t wait. We have to try to make right now bearable enough. That’s all we can do.”