We might as well start off with the top billed performer at the festival, the most well known rock god under the age of 40, and the reason the Black Keys are so gigantic. I have some serious history with the White Stripes, even though I was never a superfan. I remember the first time I heard the song "Seven Nation Army," I thought it would be the next "Smells Like Teen Spirit." I pictured children growing up idolizing this Guitar Hero and video games eventually capitalizing on his excellence. I pictured the guitar being so popular by 2009, a new genre of music called Electric Guitar Music (EGM for short) would be gigantic. There would be entire stages at major music festivals devoted to these EGM performers playing to crowds of chemically induced youngsters, complete with flashing lights, lasers, and video monitors. Everyone would be playing their air guitars, or inflatable replica guitars, and glowsticks would be everywhere. I was so close.
More history, seven years ago, I had convinced a group of friends to attend the Stripes Gorge show. Like many of you, I wasn't interested in attending shows by myself. My crew is excited, the local show sells out, then everyone bails. I couldn't afford to get to the Gorge solo, and I couldn't afford the scalper prices for the local show. It was that moment I decided I would never depend on others to accompany me to shows I want to see. Since then, I've seen almost every band I want to see, many of them by myself. I owe it all to my sketchy friends and the White Stripes.
Now that the White Stripes have call it quits, I probably won't get a chance to see them live. Although I subscribe to the theory that bands break up to make more money further down the road, I feel like this White Stripes break-up is for real. One reason, Meg has stage fright, but another is because Jack can play White Stripes songs on his own. Case in point, he is playing White Stripes songs on his current tour. I'm a bit surprised, I was expecting him to play only his new album and covers or extended jams. Doesn't it cheapen the White Stripes when he plays their tunes live? Then again, his solo album Blunderbuss is solid, and sounds just like a typical White Stripes album. I'm probably giving Meg White too much credit in that duo (I'm being nice).
I've seen Jack White perform five times, and he commands the stage like few performers I've ever seen. At the first Dead Weather show I attended, he stepped down from the drums to play one guitar solo, and it literally sent chills through my spine. That solo is one of the highlights of my live music career, and a reason Jack White is number one on my list of can't misses this Sasquatch season. When have you witnessed a live performance that gave you chills? You are missing the highlight of the weekend if you skip him. I've often said, "I love Jack White like a little brother," but that might be an understatement.
Suggested Tracks: (All White Stripes songs unless otherwise noted)
1. Seven Nation Army
2. Carolina Drama (Raconteurs: Proof he can still write a compelling song lyrically)
3. Ball And Biscuit
4. The Union Fever (his bluesy scream is on display)
5. Fell In Love With A Girl (pretty sure this song is the reason for Neon Trees, Louie 13, and other pop/indie/electro band's popularity)
6. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
7. Icky Thump (before you laugh, listen to the sounds he emits from his guitar)
8. Broken Boy Soldier (Raconteurs)
9. I'm Slowly Turning Into You
10. I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart (He doesn't need a guitar, the piano works fine)
The Joy Formidable:
If I made a list of the top Sasquatch bands you need to see live, even if you are unfamiliar with their music, The Joy Formidable would be top ten. I caught them twice last year, and was willing to pay for round three in December, but the show sold out. This three piece rock band from across the pond can best be described as the female Foo Fighters. While dormant, the lead singer/guitar player is a tiny adorable lady, but she has the most intense (nearly psychotic) expressions when she gets going. Quite frankly, she scares me, and I'm nearly twice her size. She could easily parlay her intensity into a serial killer role in Hollywood. Thankfully, after each song, she flashes her easy going smile which lets me (and anyone else paying attention) exhale. The bassist and drummer are very animated as well, bringing a ton of energy to their set.
With only one alum and one EP so far, the Joy Formidable aren't loaded with outstanding tunes, but they rock out, which is something increasingly rare in the pop/indie music scene. They are a perfect festival band, because everyone will have a great time regardless of it they are a current fan. Blame me if you think their performance sucks.
1. Whirring (It's the one that gets stuck in my head)
2. Chapter 2
3. The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah:
The year was 2005. After living with over 40 roommates since High School, I was finally able to afford my own apartment near the action (downtown Portland). Okay, it was more like a 300 square foot studio in the basement of an apartment building, but you haven't lived until you've cooked on a stove while laying in bed. It was also the first time I could afford to buy albums, something I hadn't regularly done since BMG and Columbia House started recognizing my address. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's self-titled debut album was one my first purchases, an album I still listen to every couple weeks.
Fast forward two years, they release their long awaited follow up which frankly stunk. It was so bad, I won't even mention the album title for fear of people googling it, and finding this blog. They even tried to incorporate static distortion, like they were trying to make it sound awful. If I hadn't paid $13 for a physical copy of the album, I would have assumed it was an illegal download, because the sound quality was that bad. I understand it's art, but I don't have to like it just because it's art.
By the time their third album Hysterical dropped last year, I had forgotten this band existed in a current form. I finally gave it a chance, and it's actually pretty great. It's a pleasant album, which is a pharase I never thought I would associate with the band after hearing their second album. But enough about me, you probably want to hear something other than my "love, hate, like" relationship, so here goes it.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is an artsy indie rock band from New York who helped invent the hipster movement seven years ago. It is music you would expect to hear in the dressing room at Goodwill. If you ever meet someone with a french tickler and a scarf who claims to be a painter, ask him if he likes Alec Ounsworth's solo material better than with CYHSY, and you'll have an instant friend.
Alec is the lead singer, and has a high pitched yelpy voice which can be best explained as annoying. It's so annoying, if you played 52 seconds of any CYHSY song to someone wearing a Slayer shirt, there is a 89.1 % chance you will get punched in the face. That album voice is also tough to pull off live, which has caused me to leave a couple of their shows less than impressed. I can't tell you this show will be fantastic, or it's a can't miss, but I can say you might like their music. The voice is an instrument, so when a vocalist is unique, that shouldn't be a negative, right? I never get CYHSY confused with any other band. I have nostalgia on my side, so I'll be there. I'll be the one tossing glow sticks during the first drop.
1. Home On Ice
2. The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth
3. Details of the War
4. Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away
5. Same Mistake (from the new album)
6. Adam's Plane (from the new album)
7. Heavy Metal
8. Hysterical (from the new album)
All female NW super group featuring Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney/Portlandia), Mary Timony (Helium), Janet Weiss (Sleeter-Kinney, Quasi, The Jicks), and Rebecca Cole (Minders). Their debut self-titled album was one of the better releases of 2011. I would be lying if I said I follow all four parts of this conglomerate, but Janet Weiss has controlled the sticks for several of my most memorable shows. Carrie Brownstein has flare live, so at least she's trying. She's been around, and knows a leg kick here and there get people like me excited. I'm like a baby with a rattler shaking in its face, and her leg kick is that rattler.
Their song, "Boom" is one of my favorite songs of 2011, and is worth the price of admission. It is female punk at its best. In my opinion, "Boom" is as good as any Sleater-Kinney song (the hater comments section is now open for dissenting opinions). I caught most of their set at Coachella, only because I couldn't leave. They were that fun. For only having one album, they sure jam out on their hot tracks. I believe "hot tracks" are how the EGM kids refer to them?
2. Future Crimes
3. Short Version
5. Racehorse (as cheezy as the lyrics and theme are, they sure do jam out. Guitar/keyboards/vocals are all highlights)