Oh, the wonders of the Facebook news feed: amidst Instagrammed dinners and strangers’ wall-to-walls, there occasionally arises information that sticks. Such was my experience as I scrolled down my screen and glimpsed bright yellow letters in the shape of some giant figure. Intrigued, I clicked the picture, squinted to read the print, and found my eyes graced by band names – Macklemore, Mumford & Sons, the Lumineers, and more. When I navigated to the accompanying website, I discovered “Sasquatch Festival,” an extravaganza occurring over four days in late May. I recognized name after name on the lineup. Too good to be true? Of course. For as a Connecticut resident, shows in Washington State just aren’t in the cards.
Which is unfortunate, because the concert series has pretty much everything awesome about live music this side of Woodstock. The Sasquatch Festival in the Land of Far Far Away (also known as the Gorge in Quincy, Washington) will be hosting about 118 performers in total this Memorial Day, some names familiar and some not, but all promising a spectacular show. Here’s a sampling of three artists that it will break my heart not to witness myself. For anyone seeking some fresh sounds, read on; and for anyone who lives on the west coast, start cutting back on froyo purchases, because you might want to put some funds towards this one.
1) The Tallest Man on Earth
Kristian Matsson is a Swedish singer-songwriter, wants to be King of Spain (reference his album The Wild Hunt), and has a voice evoking Bob Dylan. Sound like culture clash? Hardly. The Tallest Man on Earth (who apparently stands at about 5’7”) released his latest album— There’s No Leaving Now— this past June, and it’s got something for anyone who appreciates a good guitar and earthy vibes. The title track might break your heart, but “1904” will get you smiling again, and “Criminals” sounds like the perfect summer night by the campfire with friends.
2) ZZ Ward
Do you watch Pretty Little Liars? If so, recall “Til the Casket Drops,” the edgy-catchy song in the background of the season 3 trailer. ZZ Ward’s smoky voice and occasionally dark song titles (“Better Off Dead”? “Morphine”?) are oddly addictive; she sings like you would imagine that 80’s-movie cool girl in the corner with a cigarette who wouldn’t give a boy the time of day. ZZ’s got sass and girl-power in a way that crashes head-on with the glamour of Beyoncé or Gaga but is just as effective. She’s also got a hard-hitting emotional side; “Last Love Song” has all the ingredients for a breaking-up-and-moving-on repeat-for-days anthem.
3) Shout Out Louds
Take your typical radio-ready boy band. Now change all their lyrics, take out the shiny-bright guitar riffs, and add a horn section (“Fall Hard”) or some weird electro beeps (“The Comeback”) instead. Twist the vocals around until they’re more raw and distinct, and there you have the Shout Out Louds. They’re a strange conglomeration of sounds and instruments, and they’ll often have you doing exactly what their name implies. “Hurry Up Let’s Go” is a hand-clapping speed-of-light jam, and “Shut Your Eyes” drives forward with an urgency that would be a blast to dance around to in the rain.
Those three artists are barely a fraction of the musical fusion I’ll be missing out on this summer. But if you live in Washington State, like cool bands, or have an interest in mythical creatures, then Sasquatch Festival might be the place for you to be. Check out http://www.sasquatchfestival.com/ for more info.