17496069434_2c6a933028_oThere’s nothing quite like the sensation of sitting sideways atop the slope of the Gorge Amphitheater’s hill at Sasquatch! Music Festival overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. Add entrancing music to a background that no picture or piece of art could ever do justice; and, at that intersection, you’ll find the happy place Squatchers look forward to all year. The so-far-past picturesque backdrop sets the tone for the festival but, with arguably one of its best lineups yet, was a far cry from Sasquatch’s only attraction this year. Rather, the main stage’s slope served as the much-needed anchor after a dance party at the Chupacabra tent or Big Foot stage—a place to lie, head up or down, and absorb the collective consciousness of thousands of equally inspired concertgoers.

Music festivals have become such chaotic events and Sasquatch! is, certainly not an exception, but it’s that same comfort felt on the hill that permeates throughout the entire campground. No matter what you’re going through or how you’re feeling, the hill will take your emotional state to serenity, where it belongs.

18009447496_4d9cd9882f_oWords, photos and songs really can’t do justice to just how incredible the Squatch is but we’ve done our best to recap, from our perspective, the musical highlights from the 4 days. For those of you who were there, we hope this brings you back even if just a little bit and for those who weren’t, well, you’re going to want to be there next year after peeping our recap.



Songs of the Day

’Jungle – Lucky I Got What I Want’
’GoldLink – Bedtime Story (Prod. Louie Lastic)’
’AlunaGeorge – Attracting Flies’
’Of Monsters and Men – Dirty Paws’
’What So Not – Gemini Ft. George Maple’

Friday’s festivities kicked off around 4 giving campers ample time to set up, a relatively painless process this year, at least for us. Jungle (pictured above), although easily deserving of headline status, were one of the first acts to take the main stage and couldn’t have kicked things off better. Jungle’s live set expands on their soulful, funky sound adding electronic elements and extended jams of songs like “Lucky I Got What I Want.” Coming with a band of 7, Jungle’s performance truly fills out the grooves of their self-titled debut album. Both lead and back-up vocals, led by Josh Lloyd-Watson and Tom McFarland, are absolutely flawless live, and the use of both organic and electronic drums proved a key to the performance’s energy. It’s also worth mentioning, that the guys and gals of Jungle just look so damn cool that their stage presence infects the crowd.

After some quality time on the hill, we headed over to catch DMV emcee GoldLink, a long-time ninja favorite, at Chupacabra, a full-on dance tent with some of the best lighting we’ve seen at Sasquatch!

Although GoldLink would be categorized as a rapper, his set had heavy focus on the “future bounce” movement he’s pioneered feeling just as much a forward-thinking DJ set as a hip-hop performance. Regardless, his acrobatic flow shone through, particularly on his opening song “Bedtime Story,” while inducing some serious movement from the crowd—not necessarily a common sight at a rap show.

DSC_0099AlunaGeorge (pictured below) followed shortly after GoldLink’s set bringing a completely different vibe to Chupacabra. Aluna Francis’s enchanting vocals truly hypnotized backed by dance beats from producer George Reid. Her hit “Attracting Flies,” which opened the set had us hooked from the very start.
DSC_0141Worn out from a solid couple hours at Chupacabra and a brief stop at Action Bronson’s impressive display of quick-hitting rhymes, it was time to head back to the hill for the Icelandic post-folk of Of Monsters and Men. Even with amazing recorded material, there’s no matching Of Monsters and Men live. Although the plan had initially been to enjoy the show seated on the hill, fans slowly were pulled in to the pit by their magical brand of music perfectly fit for dusk at The Gorge.

With songs that read like fairytales and listen like explosive folk, it was impossible not to feel uplifted after what had already become a long day. In addition to touching on hits from their debut, Of Monsters and Men dropped material from their upcoming follow-up, which was equally enthralling.

17806885790_2ebb8ab48a_z Kaytranada and Flume closed out the first day of the festival with two completely different types of sets. Kaytranada’s set combined funk, soul, and forward-thinking hip-hop, including his collaboration with GoldLink “Sober Thoughts,” for a steady head-nodding performance. Flume, on the other hand, who’s just started his latest tour, approached his show with an emotional, atmospheric ambiance using his recent remix of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down” as an anchor intertwined through out. The Australian pioneering producer also dropped a fair amount of his work as part of What So Not, including their enormous remix of Major Lazer’s “Get Free” and most recent single “Gemini.” It was an interesting contrast compared to previous Flume sets as he incorporated deeper lulls and higher highs than ever keeping the audience guessing at every turn without leaving out crowd favorites.



Songs of the Day

’Sylvan Esso – H.S.K.T.’
’Chromeo – Night By Night’
’Glass Animals – Love Lockdown (Kanye West Cover)’
’ODESZA – Memories That You Call (feat. Monsoonsiren)’
’Spoon – Inside Out’

Slyvan Esso may be the best representations ever of not judging a live performance by the recorded music. Lead singer, Amelia Meath, took the Big Foot stage outfitted in a style all her own and incited a ridiculous dance party. Although the music on their gorgeously minimal self-titled debut, for the most part, proves laid-back and calm the live work of producer, Nick Sanborn, takes those recordings into booming electronic territory. “H.S.K.T.” live may have been downright the most fun at all of Sasquatch! and the nonchalant stage presence of Meath only added to the euphoria.


Fresh off Sylvan Esso, Chromeo on the main stage was the next stop and, per usual, it was a relentless set of dancing. As many times as we’ve seen Chromeo, it never fails to impress us how supremely funky their sound translates live keeping the party alive that Sylvan Esso started shortly prior.

Glass Animals, who brought us to Chupacabra for the first time on Saturday, have such a remarkably distinct sound that falls somewhere between Alt-J and Animal Collective. Not afraid to take risks in their recorded music, their live set was similarly adventurous expanding on hits like “Gooey,” but also taking an unexpected turn playing their cover of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown.” It wasn’t quite the same type of dance party as Chromeo, but definitely held its own as far as getting the crowd going and showcased an unrivaled originality.

ODESZA, Sasquatch! veterans and Seattle natives, were absolutely in their element and, if you’re still reading this, chances are you’ve already seen the production duo do their thing live. Their percussion-based setup glitters and stuns—this ninja’s personal favorite live is always “Memories That You Call.” Having ODESZA in Chupacabra was the perfect location allowing their booming sound to resonate better than it could at the open air stages.

Spoon’s latest album was supremely soulful for a rock record and their closing set helped wind down the night with just the right amount of energy. Songs like “Rent I Pay” kept things upbeat, while “Inside Out” proved heartfelt and soothing.



Songs of the Day

’Milky Chance – Down by the River’
’Temples – Sun Structures’
’The Knocks – Time’
’Big Dope P – Hit Da Blokk (Rustie Remix)’
’James Blake – Life Round Here’

Just as Sylvan Esso kicked off Day 2 in spectacular fashion, Milky Chance tailored their hybrid folksy, drum kit powered sound for a steadily grooving performance on the main stage. Although the German duo’s style certainly would fall into the pop category, they still feel completely novel and bring a certain charm to their performance crescendoed by the bouncing flow bucket atop lead singer Clemens Rehbein’s head.

If Milky Chance represent a style completely new, Temples took things all the way back to the salad days of psych rock. When brought to life, it kind of feels like you’re listening to late Beatles tunes or Jefferson Airplane and it was a great fit for the free-spirited nature of Sasquatch, while also serving as a perfect set to zone out and catch a breather.

The Knocks were another set where dancing was literally irresistible. The Brooklyn duo, who started primarily as master DJs and producers for pop stars, have carved out a soulful dance sound that’s airy, addicting and downright funky. From start to finish, powered by guitars, keyboards, live percussion and their own vocals, The Knocks nearly tore down Chupacabra breathing a new life into their recent Classics EP. The intensity and passion of their opening song, “Time,” captured the special energy that put them on par with the best sets of the entire weekend.


After a killer set from trap pioneer Rustie, the majority of the festival migrated to Big Foot to catch the one and only James Blake.

Blake humbly took a seat behind several keyboards and proceeded to deliver what can really only be described as a religious experience. With his stunning falsetto, backed by lush synths and hip-hop influenced percussion, Blake literally hypnotized the audience. Looking to either side, fans could be seen staring blankly fully entranced in the music. What really made the set, though, were the moments when that daze was interrupted by complete sonic explosions. It’s not an EDM type of drop but rather a gut-wrenching, emotional eruption that quite literally brought tears to people’s eyes. Making it all the more impressive, Blake went out of his way to show appreciation to the crowd after pouring every ounce and passing out pieces of himself to the dumbfounded crowd.

DSC_0254SBTRKT and Madeon brought incredible, but distinct, styles to round out an incredible day of music. Madeon’s artistic integrity as a true EDM act is really unmatched and his latest album took the crowd in Chupacabra on an unforgettable journey. Meanwhile, SBTRKT’s fully live set up was stunning with “Pharaohs” and “New Dorp, New York” sticking with us the most in the following days.



Songs of the Day

’ScHoolboy Q – There He Go (Prod. By Sounwave)
(Mixed By Ali)’

’Tame Impala – Let It Happen’
’Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On (feat. MØ)’
’Slow Magic – Waited 4 U’
’Run The Jewels – Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck) (Feat. Zack de la Rocha)’
’Kendrick Lamar – Alright’
’Hot Chip – Huarache Lights’

After 3 straight days of Squatch, the final was one to take it easy so we unfortunately missed out on some of the earlier acts (particularly bummed about Courtney Barnett), but it was an evening full of great music nonetheless. Schoolboy Q rocked the main stage early on and brought even more energy as a performer than he does on his action-packed recorded tunes. Hits from Habits & Contradictions, such as “There he Go,” displayed his simultaneous grit and lyricism just as well as cuts from his latest album.

As it was a day of relaxation on the hill, the next act to catch were the always-incredible Tame Impala, who’ve slowly been unveiling their new album over the last few months. Their groundbreaking take on psych rock takes the psychedelia to a whole new level and they played plenty of material from their new album, which was absolutely stunning. The trip that was Tame Impala’s set prepped us perfectly for the next act, MØ.

Anyone who’s seen live will understand how quickly you fall in love with her. An absolute genius when it comes to pop vocals, the Danish songstress not only graces incredibly addicting production but also displays the technical abilities to match. Her enchanting dance moves, crowd-interaction and charisma only add to the show and, of course, “Lean On,” her collaboration with Major Lazer and DJ Snake was a crowd favorite.


As huge Slow Magic fans, we had to leave MØ a bit early to make sure to catch some of his transformational, electronic set at Chupacabra. Powered by a set of transparent congo drums, the masked producer always brings the types of tunes that transport you to the depths of his imagination.

After an aggressive and powerful performance from Run the Jewels in which they simultaneously fought the power and encouraged unity, it was time for what we’d been waiting for all weekend—Kendrick Lamar. Fresh off the release of To Pimp A Butterfly, which is already being called a classic, we absolutely couldn’t wait to hear what he had in store.

Interestingly, Kendrick elected to go with his earlier material from Section.80 and Good Kid M.a.a.d. City with “Alright” being the only inclusion from his latest album. However, the show couldn’t by any means be called a disappointment. Backed by a live band, and with the charisma of a rap prophet, Kendrick absolutely worked the crowd, who were following songs like “Money Trees” word for word. At one point, he played M.a.a.D. City three times in a row and even invited a fan on stage to recite a whole verse. To make things even better, she nailed it showing just how important Lamar has been to his fans over the last few years. Even with the lack of TPAB material, Lamar’s set was one of the best hip-hop ones we’ve ever seen and it’ll be exciting to see how he switches it up at the remainder of his tour and festival dates.

17960877020_2fff781d22_z It was only right that we ended Sasquatch! with a dance party—Hot Chip. The veterans, who’s recent album is pretty much flawless, mix just about every element of dance music for a fully live experience that’s enthralling. Even with the energy levels low, “Huarache Lights” blew us away before we took our last steps out of the Gorge.DSC_0227 Photo cred: All photos by Ash El Gamal except for those from the first page, Of Monsters and Men, Chromeo, Sylvan Esso, ScHoolboy Q, MØ and Kendrick Lamar, which are from Sasquatch’s Flickr Page. Browse some more of our photos on the next page.

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