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Commentary: Find Sasquatch!, find eclectic music festival

Courtesy of Jason Koenig

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The summer music festival season is closing in fast, and as a result many official lineups have finally been announced. These festivals are scheduled to take place in the coming months in all areas of the country, and your particular tastes in music will likely determine your music festivals of choice. Each week, I’ll weigh in on an upcoming festival.

Sasquatch! Music Festival is scheduled to take place May 24-27 at the famously scenic Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Wash. The festival has been known to have an eclectic mix of performers since its conception in 2002, and this year’s lineup is no different. Featuring both massive headliners and lesser-known musical treasures, this is the festival I would go to in a heartbeat if money and location were of no concern. If you are lucky enough to attend this already sold-out music extravaganza, here are some performers to keep an eye out for.

Twin Shadow

I’ve never been a huge fan of music ripe with synthesizers and electronic beats, but Twin Shadow, whose birth name is George Lewis Jr., is one of my exceptions. His vocals are raw and don’t sound like they’ve been messed with for hours in the studio, and there’s a dreamy overtone reminiscent of the 1980s in many of his songs that makes me feel like I’m living out my dreams of being a member of “The Breakfast Club.” Added points for once supporting a personal favorite of mine, Florence and the Machine, on tour. 

The Barr Brothers

Folk groups seem to have a pretty solid place in the lineup of Sasquatch!, and one that should not be missed is this Canadian quartet. Its experimental recordings feature everything from the vibraphone to the harp, and I can only imagine how great it would be to see these instruments in use at a live show. The combination of a beautiful, mountainous backdrop and this group’s musical styling will easily work together to create an experience that I would only describe as magical. 

Imagine Dragons

I’m a little late to the party with this band, but it’s one I can’t recommend enough to others who have missed out on it for so long. The band must be doing something right since it’s scheduled to appear not only at Sasquatch! but at other music festivals this year, like Kanrocksas Music Festival in Kansas and Northside Festival in Brooklyn, N.Y., to name a few. It is true that I have an unbelievable soft spot for anything even remotely related to indie rock, Imagine Dragons included, so I couldn’t imagine going somewhere they’d be performing and missing out on the show without hating myself. 

Death Grips

This is a band from another genre, experimental hip-hop, I tend to avoid like the plague, and I’m almost appalled by how much I think you should want to see them. They are so noisy and all over the place, and I mean that in the best way possible. Sounding like a combination of hip-hop and electronic beats and who knows exactly what else, the Death Grips shouts most of its lyrics with no shame and even less regard for how it sounds to the audience. I don’t care if you listen to them and hate everything about them, the experience of being screamed at in the mountains by crazy electronica rappers should be enough to draw you in.

Other notable musical acts in the lineup of Sasquatch! include headliners Mumford & Sons, The Postal Service, Vampire Weekend, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and the XX, as well as other performers Tame Impala, Japandroids and ZZ Ward. There are also several comedians slated to perform at the festival including personal favorite of mine Nick Offerman, of “Parks and Recreation,” and Jenny Slate, former “SNL” cast member and creator and voice of “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,” a stop motion animated short film. This seems to be the one festival where people with diverse musical opinions can find acts they will all enjoy playing in the same place. Sasquatch! answers the age-old question, “Can’t we all just get along?” with a hearty, “Yes!” 

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