By Liam Prost
May 30, 2016
GEORGE, WA. — The final day of Sasquatch! 2016 started like all the others: greasy, hungover, and sunburnt. The true indication that things were winding down was the slow trail of vehicles beginning their trek back to their homes and native lands. Nostalgia was already setting in for acts from the beginning of the weekend, and patrons were committing to memory the best moments, wary of taking in too many more, lest they forget what came before. As such, the crowds were small at the beginning of the day and the drunkenness was noticeably mitigated.
Casey Veggies took to the mainstage barely twelve hours after Big Grams had ended, with folks understandably disappointed by the lack of a drop-by from Wiz Khalifa and/or Snoop Dog during the former set. The crowd for Casey was a little haggard, but bounced at his behest regardless, Mr. Vegetables himself not able to tear the smile from his face.
Hungover dance skills were tested even further at Sir the Baptist at Yeti. A large band for such a small stage, the performance was uncontainable, spilling out into the crowd at every opportunity. The Baptist’s soulful songs were punctuated by sermon-esque narrative interludes.
The Internet blared from mainstage, but we decided to relax a little with Julia Holter. Unfortunately, sound bleed and a generally quiet set tempered her impact. Holter might be an act a little better suited for a church than an outdoor festival stage, but she played professionally regardless.
We left Holter early to check out Tim Heidecker. What we thought would be a stand-up comedy set turned out to be a full rock and roll performance. We were treated to a full set of comedy songs, including some cuts from Urinal St. Station, including the hysterical “Hot Piss.”
Børns was not a name that registered with us on the lineup, but a throng of younger festival goers headed that way attracted us to catch a few tracks. The strangely heavy-metal screen dressing behind him set a bizarre precident, but he crooned his way through several soulful and soothing pop songs. On trying to squeeze out early as well he brought us back with an Arcadefire cover.
Having caught Thao and the Get Down Stay Down at Calgary Folk Fest last year, we opted to check out Northern Ireland’s SOAK. Performing as a three-piece, SOAK tore up the Yeti stage, a polished and confident songwriter with profound atmospherics and a friendly stage demeanor.
Expectations were high for Titus Andronicus, but they delivered in full. The band played louder and more aggressively than on the record, maintaining the low moments gracefully. It felt like a raw punk set, totally washing out the more theatrical elements of their recordings.
We could have written this whole piece about Grimes’ mainstage set. The bizarrely unmatched costumes, the stellar choreography. Everything Grimes’ does feels undeniably hers and her performance matched all expectations of her. She ran the electronics, sang, danced, played guitar and synth. It’s often said that there is a virtue to making things look easy, but Grimes proves that rule false. Grimes does so much on stage that it feels a little silly, but also more raw and true than any of the other pop singers at the festival. Grimes was an interesting counterpoint to the overly polished stadium pop aesthetic of Florence and the Machine later in the evening.
We couldn’t be bothered to check anyone else out while waiting for Sufjan Stevens to come on. The impression seemed to be that this would not be a sad-sack Carrie and Lowell performance, and the merchandise that read ‘Sufjan Fever’ seemed to indicate a few glitch-pop Age of Adz tracks might make it into the set, but nothing prepared us for the sensory overload that we experienced. Sufjan opened with a rearranged version of “Seven Swans,” with his trademark wings, backup dancers, and a delicate banjo part. What we didn’t expect was for him to smash the banjo on stage, as if symbolically dashing any expectations that we were in for a traditional Sufjan set. He then marched into a few Adz songs, but also a few folkie songs, and a few from Carrie and Lowell, rearranged to fit a larger band aesthetic. We thought we had seen all the places the set was going to go, but then he rolled into the epic, 25 minute long “Impossible Soul.” The song featured costume changes, props, choreography, and balloons. It was incredible. The set ended with fan-favourite “Chicago” and we knew that no matter what the rest of the fest had to offer, we had seen it all.
Florence and the Machine closed the mainstage with a slightly manic, but extremely clean performance. Tracks like “Ship to Wreck” sounded exactly as on the record, and her stage presence was slow and plodding, like she was playing to a host of 12-year-olds. It would be easy to dismiss the set as fluffy, but Florence Welch captivated the audience like no one else during the weekend, and her indelible songwriting and strong band kept the set going.
We want to tell you that we stayed and danced through Jamie XX’s DJ set, but in truth, after In Colour cut “Oh My Gosh” was over we jumped ship and went back to our campsite, painfully aware of the 12-hour drive back to Calgary the following day.
Thanks for following along on our Sasquatch! 2016 coverage, check out some more photos on our Instagram @beatrouteab and continue to follow our festival coverage this summer of Sled Island Music and Arts Festival, Calgary Folk Fest, and more.AB, Alberta, BØRNS, Casey Veggies, Florence and the Machine, Grimes, Jamie xx, Julia Holter, Sasquatch 2016, Sir the Baptist, SOAK, Sufjan Stevens, The Internet, Tim Heidecker, Titus Andronicus