At the Sasquatch Music Festival, it was once again Mother Nature, and not an actual band, that stole the spotlight. In 2006, festival goers were pelted with hail that came down from the heavens in biblical proportions. This year, on the second day of the fest, the skies opened wide and an icy wind blew hard enough to scare off some patrons early, as well as temporarily shut down the main stage. Nevertheless, before and after the storm, the festival was filled with its share of musical highlights. Here are a few sets that stuck out as winners:
The Hold Steady – Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on the Main Stage
Mid-afternoon just doesn’t seem like an appropriate time to see the Hold Steady, but fists still flew aloft for the band’s boozy riffage and Craig Finn’s tales of teenage liberation.
The Blow – Saturday at 2:10 p.m. on the Yeti Stage
From a musical perspective, there wasn’t much to the Blow’s set. Khaela Maricich was rolling solo and was joined by only a set of pre-recorded backing tracks. A little charisma can go along way, though, and her storyteller-like set was dripping with it.
Mirah – Saturday at 5:25 p.m. on the Yeti Stage
Mirah’s performance was a no-frills affair, but what she lacked in showmanship, she made up for with musicianship. As the air began to cool, she softly rocked the festival’s smallest stage with songs that were as gentle as they were gorgeous.
Arcade Fire – Saturday at 9:15 p.m. on the Main Stage
The thing that’s astounding about this band is they’re actually better in a larger venue. We all know someone who’s quick to remind us they saw the band at Mesa Luna or in a loft in Montreal, but this kind of thing only counts if you’re in a scenester pissing contest. The Arcade Fire craft anthems: big music for big places. And when they stormed Sasquatch’s largest stage, they proved that sometimes size does matter.
Patrick Wolf – Sunday at 2:20 p.m. on the Wookie Stage
While Patrick Wolf’s Magic Positions was a step up from his previous work, the record was still too much glam and not enough substance. In the flesh, however, all its pomp and swagger was gloriously fitting. Wolf’s “Accident and Emergency” was one of the single greatest moments of the entire weekend.
Tokyo Police Club – Sunday at 4:45 p.m.
on the Wookie Stage
These Torontonians sound a little unpolished on record, but live, all the rough edges are overshadowed by their unbridled energy. They opened with “Cheer it On,” and you could see the crowd turning from curious onlookers to instant fans. By the time the group got to “the Nature of the Experiment” a couple thousand of those new friends were clapping along.
Spoon – 7:45 p.m. on the Main Stage
After Spoon’s set was postponed due to the inclement weather, the band finally hit the stage more than two hours after they were originally scheduled. However, they were worth the wait. Singer Britt Daniel kept the banter to a minimum, and his less-talk, more-rock attitude was coupled with a set that boasted all killer and no filler.
A ton of other bands haven’t been mentioned here. In fact, if you were there, you’re probably asking yourself why there were no gushing words about (insert your favourite act here). But that’s the thing about a festival of this size: there’s something for everyone and not nearly enough time to see it all, let alone discuss it.