Usounds writers Scott Roots and SnuggleBot (Jared Fiechtner) head to George, Washington for the 6th annual Sasquatch Music Festival. They wanted to keep a journal to document the weekend…what they end up with is more important than all of the world’s newborn infants.
DAY 1, SATURDAY
9:30 am, SR: Sasquatch 07. It begins. Our anxiousness is palpable. Snuggle Bot is running slow on sleep, but the needle points to F as far as his excitement is concerned. Sasquatch is jamming a car with people and stuff and driving two or three hours to a big field to drink with ten thousand people that all could be your new friends, more or less. Sasquatch is sitting, standing, and not much in between. Sasquatch is weed brownies. For me, last year’s ‘Quatch was tarnished by a bad back that translated into a bad attitude. That’s why now, as I sit left nut in Holly’s ‘92 Cavalier, I am so ready to turn this year’s festival on its head. Jared asks, “Are those cows tiny or are they just far away? They look like little dogs.” As the urban jungle of Seattle gives way to the rolling hills and “little cows” of rural Washington, I let the pre ‘Quatch energy run over me. Picture it like I’m walking through a car wash and it’s set to “pre-‘Quatch with wax”.
10:00 am, JF. Scott is so anxious he pulls on the car door many times before car is unlocked coming out of rest stop.
The land of either tiny or faraway cows
10:45 am, JF: We’re getting real close to ‘Squatch now, and I can almost taste the first PBR. God, I can almost taste it. The exit is coming up on the right and I remark to Scott about how I’m taking down all this shit in “real time”. We are not fucking around here. There’s just really so much to capture right now. The drive out here was beautiful. I sometimes forget how truly vast America is. I look at these isolated houses on the side of the highway and just marvel at the fact that they exist. What do these people do? It’s a question for the ages. Another question is, “Were those cows really tiny or just kind of far away?” Well, I’ve had multiple experiences with mini horses. Or at least multiple perceived experiences, so I guess I’ll just say it could have fallen either way.
11:00 am, SR: A woman has an electric toothbrush by campsite 10. What does it mean? Seems important.
11:32 am, SR: Mood is great. A game of wind-affected beer pong next to us. Tent next to us is blasting Arcade Fire. Yes, playing CDs of the bands you are going to see at a festival is a must. First beer down. The smell of suntan lotion in the air.
Scott and Jared discussing possible tent jokes for journal
11:43 am, JF: Tents have been raised. Two PBR’s have gone down and untold amounts are yet to be consumed. The Hold Steady goes on at 1:30 pm and it all feels exceptionally correct.
60 dollars of beer never tasted so expensive
1:24 pm, JF: So we’re finally in the show and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that this year is a little different. Before Sasquatch always felt predominantly hipster. This year it feels like a strong strange combination of hipster and hippie. Upon walking to the show, I actually hear UB40’s “Red, Red Wine” blaring without any sense of irony. There are also at least as many shirtless men as clever T-shirts. PBR 24 oz cans suddenly jump from $8 to $10. I thought $8 was ridiculous last year, but all of the sudden it seems very reasonable. I also come to the solid conclusion that if someone knocked over my $10 PBR, I would feel like throating them.
Spastic Craig Finn and his happy drummer
2:27 pm, SR: The Hold Steady was my element. Mainstage was empty, we were front and center and Hold Steady was amazing. They played mostly songs off the new one, two from Seperation Sunday, including “Your Little Hoodrat Friend”. Craig Finn excitedly repeats his lyrics when he’s away from the mike. A classic-rock/indie hybrid, if there ever was one. Life was good down on that green asphalt, cold 24er of PBR, lovin’ life. ‘Quatch 07 is off to a superb start.
2:31 pm, JF: The Hold Steady was fucking fantastic. As a confession, I have never heard Boys and Girls in America in full yet, but I knew every song in the first half of the set. I think I owe my knowledge of these songs to KEXP. KEXP must fucking love themselves some Hold Steady. It was just such a solid rock show and I was stoked with how enthused they were with playing here at the Gorge. They seemed genuinely happy. As a side note, The Blow is playing right now, and it is fundamentally terrible. The band is one woman on stage that plays to backing tracks and tells embarrassing stories between songs. I mean god, this woman is literally an unfunny SNL skit. She reminds me of Cherri o Terri in a way that is not in the least bit flattering, all rushed breaths and junior high anxiety.
24 ounces is good…
…but 32 ounces is better!
3:43 pm, JF: So I was watching Viva Voce and I wanted another drink. This may sound innocent enough, but the story that follows will change at least a moment of your life. I heard a beer stand over yonder was selling draft beers and I was intrigued. I was in for a surprise when I realized that I could purchase a 24 oz Blue Moon for the same price as a 24 oz PBR. Seeing a great deal, I jumped at it, but alas they are out of large 24 oz cups. The cashier then went to grab me a PBR…and that is when inspiration struck. I started positing theories as how I could acquire the aforementioned Blue Moon. I asked if I could get a full small cup and another small cup 1/3 full. I asked if I could get a small cup and drink a third of it on the spot and then have it refilled. I then quickly retracted this statement with the charm of a person not yet drunk enough to actually pursue this scenario. The cashier then took a liking to me. She said she would look for another large cup. Hope swelled within my chest. She then found not only a large cup, but a larger cup. This cup held 32 oz and was clearly superior to the 24 oz cup I was previously courting. As a gigantic Blue Moon was handed my way for the measly sum of $10 I politely thanked the young cashier and walked away triumphantly. Viva Voce is a pretty fucking rocking band for a two piece. Now excuse me while I enjoy this large miracle of libation.
Michael Showalter’s doodle
4:00 pm, SR: Viva Voce was nice. There’s something really hot about a skinny chick in a cowboy hat that can shred on guitar. They have a programmed bass beat…reason: Why tour with a third wheel? Husband plus wife plus bass player would be awkward in a hotel room. More awkward than me and Jared in a freestyle rapping competition. The sun is beating down, and Michael Showalter has doodled in our notebook. That was rad.
5:03 pm, SR: Ghostland Observatory. OK…the keyboardist wears a cape, I get it. I’m 100% over this band. I saw them at the KEXP BBQ and I was over them then. Now I’m very over them. Working on $30 of festival beer. Fuck. Holding steady is a good way to describe my attitude after the Hold Steady show: I’m trying to hang onto my energy.
5:25 pm, JF: Ghostland Observatory is fucking terrible. I cannot believe that so many people are into this band. Alright I admit the lead singer is charismatic and has a nice voice, but it is ultimately and undeniably bad. It is emotionless awful music for vapid people to shake their asses to. Now this may sound like a harsh critique but it is valid, and in my opinion needs to be said. A Ghostland performance feels less like a performance and more like a karaoke bash. I’m sorry, but I cannot be entertained by pre-programmed beats and a vocalist. It’s just so empty and boring. It’s amazing what performers can get away with these days. I mean fuck! Get a goddamn drummer. I just cannot buy into this performance. The suspension of disbelief required to enjoy this band is just far too high.
Artwork by Hollie Sampson
5:58 pm, JF: I’m watching Mirah right now and although I cannot say she’s blowing my mind, I can still feel why I love music. I can feel the human aspect. I can feel her consciousness, it just feels real. [Footnote: Here I am falling into what seems to be drunken sentimentality. Remember what you see here kids, and they pray you never see it again.]I’ve also noticed some people sleeping in the grass. They all seem beautiful to me. Perhaps it’s because they can do no harm. [Footnote: Spiraling further…]
6:43 pm, JF: Grizzly Bear is emotionally affecting in the way most bands simply cannot be. Their vocal harmonies are perfectly in the vein of The Beach Boys and sound unbelievable. In every way that Ghostland failed, they succeed. I hear real human emotion. After all, what is more human than our own voices? [Footnote: Drunk or not, I stand by most of this…]
Jared’s drunken cipher
7:23 pm, JF: I’m in line for food, but my mind is still on my recent Honeybucket experience. God…it was terrible. The system that exists is fairly standard and consists of green (meaning unoccupied) or red (meaning of course, occupied.) Now you might say, well that seems logical enough. And to a logical person it is. But evidently, some people don’t like to follow these simple rules. I have to urinate and I proceed to a port-o-potty with a full on green. However, this woman is taking a slam [Footnote: Taking a “slam” is Montana based slang for taking a poop. Besides being a clever new way to talk about the old #2, the word ‘slam’ also makes you immune from many fast food marketers, who often use the phrase ‘slam’ or ‘slamming’ in the new extreme food craze. By the time “I have to take a slam” has come out of your mouth ‘Extreme Slammers’ from Hardee’s no long seem like a viable food option.] in there and I end up apologizing. I grab the next green door I see only to be confronted by another woman on the toilet. I feel like I deserve an apology.
1 mile from the mainstage
7:42 pm, SR: Manu Chao is just starting. We are 13 miles from the stage. Grizzly Bear was a highlight. Harmonies are like nothing else…the live show was so much more dynamic than the recording. Jared was loving it to a high degree. If I could include a picture of the scenery now, I would, but unfortunately this notebook isn’t digital.
9 pm, SR: Manu Chao uses a police siren on almost every song. The band is a combination of many genres of music that I dislike, including Reggae and Latin, set to a police siren. As much as I try to find a way to groove to a reggae beat, I cannot. I have not unlocked that particular strain of DNA.
11:18 pm, JF: The Arcade Fire are great performers. They are one of the few bands that transcend the musician/performer role and end up doing both equally well. Set up times are horrendous right now however, and it becomes difficult to care what is happening. I look forward to Bjork but feel like I want to sleep more than anything else. I also have the sneaking suspicion I might have some more PBR’s in my future tonight and I’m honestly not sure how to feel about that.
That organ isn’t real. Unless you want it to be.
11:30 pm, SR: As night encroaches, it becomes harder to write, physically and mentally. Waiting for Bjork. Tired. Arcade Fire was a production. Video screens acting like mirrors, neon lights, etc. etc. Played an equal mix of old and new. Set up was a bitch. We all want to go back to the site about now.
DAY 2, SUNDAY
9:20 am, SR: From tent next to us while I was half asleep, I hear, “I can’t wait to move into Mark’s house. I’ll make him big steaks from his own cows!” This is a personal highlight for me. I wonder if Mark has a tiny cow or if it’s just faraway?
9:22 am, JF: Another day of Sasqutch begins. I’m tired and people in the tent next to us keep screaming and I can’t explain it. The nickname Snug Bot is really growing on me as I randomly chant, “Snug Bot, Snug Bot” in my best robotic voice. Yesterday was pretty drink-heavy as I’m sure will be evidenced in my writing, so hopefully today will be a little more subdued.
11:30 am, JF: The set by Bjork last night was the perfect Debbie Downer from the rest of yesterday’s activities. I just wish I could have been more present (in mind and body, we left halfway through) but I really liked what is we saw. “All is full of Love” and “Pagan Poetry” rocked my slackened face off and even the evil Brandrew Dice Clay, an adamant Bjork hater, had to admit her show was pretty cool.
Scott’s target drunk he’d like to sculpt looks something like this
12:28 pm, SR: A hotdog lunch and a mimosa has me feeling tip-top. The consensus is too much booze and sun yesterday has affected energy levels today. I must agree. Last night was fighting an uphill battle, where pretty much anytime after 6:00pm I could have collapsed into a fetal position and fallen asleep. Arcade Fire nearly destroyed me. There were lot of them and they were energetic; it was just me and I was exhausted. They sound and look like a professional money-making machine, and I’m sure that most of the 11 of them will be able to afford nice condos and stuff like that. I was not able to give Bjork a good chance, although she sounded very nice. The keyboardist sometimes employeed a trebabalo which has a sweet sound to it. [Footnote: The trebabalo is an instrument I made up to impress Jared.] Today is my intention to sculpt out a nice drunk for myself.
It’s not a real maze, so don’t come bitching to us when you have trouble completing it
2:35, JF: I’ve been standing in line for what seems like an exceptional amount of time. To make matters worse, a bunch of drunk Canadians are in ridiculously good spirits and keep sing that annoying “Ole Ole Ole Ole” song. I don’t get the reference. I find myself wishing I were trapped in a tent with an underground bear passageway.
Neal’s pose became more suggestive as time elapsed
4:14 pm, SR: Still haven’t watched a band. Except when Helio Sequence acted as the soundtrack to our burger purchase. I am drinking a margarita. The cylindrical souvenier base it comes in shouts out “I am gay”. But it was a good place to dump a shot of Absolute Pear Vodka.
5:02 pm, SR: Mother Nature strikes again. Wind is fucking crazy. A cup just flew past me.
The trees were slanted thusly
Everyone is sort of fascinated by the wind. Jared: “It’s like a sail” (He is holding his jacket open.) Polyphonic Spree got only three songs in before swinging set fixtures closed them down. The whole scene was surreal. At least it wasn’t Neko again. The wind is driving people a little loopy. “Look at the water!” The food tent cover is gone. Lots of capes. “Let’s go, it’s a hurricane!” “Stay away from the chain-link fence!” God help those tents in the parking lot.
7:35 pm, SR: A weird thing has happened. We have been laying out in the sun, waiting for the wind to die down and the music to start (it’s been hours since a band was playing). These kids in front of us have started spooning for Spoon…they are very enthusiastic and incredibly stoned. My group supports their cause because we want Spoon to play. And it’s cold and spooning helps. Snug Bot is heading back to the spoon line.
7:40 pm, JF: Spoon for Spoon saves lives.
The difference between a festival and a regular show…
11:13 pm, SR: Spoon and Interpol have played the mainstage back to back….Franti and Spearhead were moved to the Wookie Stage because of the delays. The Sasquatch God is smiling on us this year. Spoon’s set was short and sweet, playing a new song that pretty much kicked my ass. Interpol was too cool for school as usual, but the setting and the music made up for it. The lead singer was cold or something because he was wearing a dorky stocking cap. Like with Spoon, the Pol’s new songs were most engaging to me.
DAY 3, MONDAY
9:01 am, SR: Neal is puking into a garbage can. The sun is shining. ‘Quatch 07.
Neal takes a portentous nap Sunday evening. That wouldn’t be the last we’d see of those pizzas….
9:03 am, JF: I’m actually feeling pretty fantastic. This however is not par for the course. People stumble around looking like they’re rocking a hangover they’ve been saving up for a year. I watch four girls try to take down their canopy for over 20 minutes with absolutely no progress being made. After such a stretch of time I decide that no progress is anticipated. In more important matters I have decided that my name is no longer Jared. It’s Snug Bot. I assume the entries will be labeled accordingly.
9:45 am, SnugBot: I can only explain the lack of a hangover I should be experiencing with some sort of “bullet dodge” scenario. In any case I definitely deserve one. The night ended around 3 am after a strong hour of getting McNaughty. [Footnote: Upon handing me a bottle of McNaughten’s whiskey a very drunk friend of mine once said it was time to get “McNaughty.” I made a mental note to myself that this was a very funny situation.] Scott was pushing the night along nicely until one too many pulls sent him reeling and I was forced to face the night in limited company. On the walk back to the tent I actually debate crashing random parties and thank god, I decline. Later I plan on a large nap to bypass the possible boomerang of whisky in my stomach. Snug Bot, out.
Our posse: SnugBot, Brandi, Scott, Hollie, Neal, and Rachel (not pictured….thanks for the pictures Rachel!)
10:04 am, SR: In the car, headed home. I have an ambiguous hangover that mainly makes me hungry for pizza or nachos. Skipping Beastie Boys (how could you not?) we headed back to the camp last night where I fulfilled my prophecy of finishing all available alcohol. It took a little doing, but I got a good spinning drunk on. I vaguely remember waiting outside the tent for 5 minutes to make sure I wasn’t going to go in and puke on everyone. But I didn’t, and even the previously overflowing Honey Buckets were clean at this stage of the night. A strong, ‘coming up Millhouse’ end to ‘Quatch 07.