Thank you, Spin magazine, for never failing to broach every musical topic from multiple angles. In addition to their ’50 Best Things We Saw at Lollapalooza’ list (which, perhaps inevitably, is a mix of cringe-inducing crowd behavior, as well as killer performances), the seminal music magazine captured impromptu portraits of up-and-coming acts (above), and posted the full performance by Queens of the Stone Age, who, even without Dave Grohl on drums, are sauntering closer to rock-royalty status with each new record. Seeing that led us to stumble upon full performances by Phoenix. And Vampire Weekend. (There’s a video of Nine Inch Nails’ headlining set too, but it contains bad words. Click here if you’re into it.)
Looking at the official poster for last weekend’s Sasquatch (we’re digging the Seattle Sonics color motif, by the way; click to enlarge), it would appear the lineup just keeps getting better each year. At this point, the Bigfoot-themed music festival—located a stone’s throw from our Seattle HQ at the picturesque Gorge Amphitheatre—is giving better-known fests like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits a run for their money.
Our video-producer extraordinaire, Angela Sumner, was there camping out, soaking up the gorgeous scenery (above), and stage-hopping like crazy. Below, she offers insights on three of her favorite Sasquatch acts—from up-and-coming local heroes to over-played (but still impressive, apparently) folk-rock juggernauts:
Robert DeLong. “He was like a one-man band with a lot of soul. He would start with an electronic beat, and then all of the sudden jump on a drum kit and start wailing. You know how when jazz musicians are really feeling it, they might get down and kind of talk to the piano key? He was like that on drums, like whispering sweet nothings to his high-hat. Very genuine, expressive and super talented with rhythm and percussion.” [More on Robert DeLong]
Brothers From Another. “They’re two kids from here in Seattle, just out of high school, who seem to love writing about their experiences, being on stage, and are really relatable. Their songs make you want to be in your car, cruising University Ave on a hot summer night blasting music with the windows down. I saw them open for [notable Seattle hip-hop group] Blue Scholars a few months ago.” [More on Brothers From Another]
Mumford & Sons. “OK, I know they’re really mainstream, but—they’re mainstream for a reason. They straight-up killed it on every song. When you watch them live, you’re captivated. There’s probably a hundred million bands in Nashville that do what they do, but they just have an ‘it’ factor. They played on the main stage, so their set was even better with the beautiful Columbia Gorge sunset in the background.” [More on Mumford & Sons]
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A few more bands we would have loved to catch at Sasquatch last weekend (maybe next year…):
L: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. You won’t hear us say this about many bands, but their acoustic-y, folk-y album from a few years ago is even better than their more electrified work. R: Elvis Costello. The music makes him a legend; the thick-rimmed glasses and the way he can spazz out in a tailored suit make him a style icon.
L: Arctic Monkeys. Here’s a classic clip of the young Brits playing an in-studio set at world-renowned Seattle radio station KEXP. R: Divine Fits. The indie supergroup, led by the guy from Spoon, covering Bruce Springsteen. What’s not to like?
L: Vampire Weekend. Their third album came out this month. More on Vampire Weekend here. R: Dirty Projectors. One of their previous records was an attempt at reinterpreting a Black Flag album from memory. Enough said.
Heading out to catch more bands this summer?
Stock up on everything you need here: FESTIVAL STYLE
Vampire Weekend, the band that began as a rap collaboration between students at NYC’s Columbia University, has a new record set to release in about a month—which means those lucky enough to catch them at a certain notable music festival this weekend will likely be treated to a few newly debuted tunes. The rest of us will have to get by with the two compositions they’ve released so far: ‘Diane Young’ above and ‘Step’ below.
For a band with a penchant for Jeopardy-level lyrical trivia (obscure punctuation terms, almond-flavored Latin-American soft drinks, etc.), the tongue-twisters in the track above are customary. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more flavorful lines—so you can make conversation like Alice Cooper in Wayne’s World in Indio this weekend:
Angkor Wat: A notable mid-12th century temple in the capital of the ancient kingdom of Khmer in northwestern Cambodia.
Mechanicsburg & Dar Es Salaam: One is a borough in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. The other is the chief port and former capital of Tanzania, whose arabic name means “haven of peace.”
Boom Box: A portable sound system typically including a radio and cassette or CD player, capable of powerful sound. (Ask your parents.)
Modest Mouse: An American indie rock band formed in 1993 in Issaquah, Washington. Best when enjoyed prior to 2004.
Croesus: The last king of Lydia, c. 560–546 BC. Renowned for his great wealth, he subjugated the Greek cities on the coast of Asia Minor before being overthrown by Cyrus the Great of Persia.
Astor: Multiple possible meanings—but Astor Place is a short two-block street in lower Manhattan named for John Jacob Astor (1763–1848), at one time the richest person in the United States. It was the site of the Astor Opera House, built in 1847, and the Astor Place Riot in 1849.
Besides their Ivy-League lyrics, Vampire Weekend is best known for perhaps singlehandedly reviving preppy style a few years back. The latest issue of GQ has them prepped-out in summer-ready, subtly faded color. Create your own spin on their look with the category below.
The Seattle Music Project (a photo exhibit in our Downtown Seattle Men’s Shop, featuring NW bands from the past 50 years) may be over—but you can still enjoy the spirit of it here at Men’s Shop Daily.
Before the exhibit started last month, we visited the local Seattle office of Gibson Guitar, who supplied instruments and amps to supplement the photos and band memorabilia in our store.
The Nashville-based company, founded in 1894, has localized ‘Entertainment Relations’ branches like this all over the globe. Their main purpose is to make sure touring bands are well-equipped with Gibson gear while on the road. (The back room is piled high with instruments awaiting repairs, with notes like ‘The Shins’ and ‘Dave Navarro’ scrawled in Sharpie on strips of duct tape on the cases.)
The space is also a showroom filled with cool guitars (by Gibson as well as the Gibson family of brands). Here are a few pics of our favorite eye-catching instruments:
Epiphone Slash Signature Les Paul
[Up top: Les Paul Limited Edition Piano]
Epiphone Firebird VII
Epiphone Sheraton II
Kramer Flying V
Les Paul Special
Another by Kramer (a subsidiary of Gibson)
Gibson Grace Potter Flying V
Gibson Explorer Pro
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Besides supplying artists with Gibson gear, the satellite office also acts as a performance space for local events. (Silversun Pickups finished a set just minutes before we stopped by.)
Here are a couple ‘EndSession’ performances (sponsored by Seattle radio station 107.7 ‘The End’), featuring The Hives and Vampire Weekend, that the staff at Gibson recommended:
See more from the Seattle Music Project: Bands of the 1960s and 1970s