Sasquatch! Music Festival @ The Gorge Amphitheatre Sunday and Monday 2015

May 28, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend at the Gorge was the place to be! What a great 4 days of music! All four days were so much fun. Check out some highlights below.

-Mat Hayward
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Of the four days I would have to say that Sunday was the strongest. In no mall part because of the following artist. After photographing St. Vincent last year at the Moore Theatre I felt it was the strongest peformance in Seattle of the year as seen in this blog post. Other photographers were teasing me by asking if I would cover her set knowing full well that I was very excited to see her aga in. My expectations were has high for her as they were for anything at the festival. As we all know, high expecations can often lead to a let down. Not this time. She is indescribable.  Best performance of the festival for me.

Following St. Vincent was another performance I was looking forward to seeing. The music of Lana Del Rey is my guilty pleasure. As a 42 year old man I probably shouldn't love her music but damnit I do! I didn't know what to expect going in. She did not allow photographers to cover her recent show at WaMu in Seattle so I really had nothing to go on but word of mouth. Some friends of mine went to see her with Courtney Love in Portland a couple of nights before and they fell in love with he r. This gave me hope but I was still not sure what I would think of her live. We were required to stay very far back to photograph her but I didn't care, I definitely wanted to get her in front of my lens.

I was a fool to think she would be anything but awesome. She was sultry, she was cool and she sounded great. Smoking cigarettes while her hair was whipping back and forth from violent bursts of wind blasting across the stage I knew I was witnessing something truly beautiful. There is this sadness about her in some of her music and definitely while she was singing that sadness was conveyed in a believable way. In between songs however while she was interacting with the fans lucky enough to be near the front she would flash an authentic smile that seemed to light up the entire amphitheatre. I wanted more!

So then Robert Plant played. Robert friggin Plant! Are you kidding me? At 66 years of age this man can jam harder than any performer 1/3 his age. He is nothing short of a rock and roll legend and any attempt on my part to describe his music or the performance would be ridiculous. If you missed the show, you missed out...big time.

Earlier in the day local badass band 'My Goodness' tore up the Yeti stage. It's been so great to see their sound and stage presence evolve over the past several years. They keep getting better and better. Check out their newest video for Pay No Mind after you are done checking out these pics.

I was a bit unsteady walking away after the 'Milky Chance' played the main stage. The bass seemed to go through my body and my insides didn't stop vibrating until I made my way into the comedy tent. The crowd ate it up and wanted more! I had a chance to speak with them earlier in the day and they were very excited to be there. They had been touring the US for the past 3 months and the Sasquatch! performance represented their last US stop before flying home to Germany the next day. They will be back in the Seattle area on August 10 with Walk the Moon at Marymoor Park. That will be a kick ass show that should not be missed.

Sometimes you have to do a double take when you look back from the photo pit.

After Royal Blood rocked our faces off at Deck The Hall Ball I knew we were in for something good at the Gorge and I was right.

Sasquatch at Sasquatch!

Every time I cover a music festival I walk away having seen and heard a band I wasn't familiar with before and becoming a fan. With such a giant lineup I had no doubt it would happen at Sasquatch. It did. St. Paul and the Broken Bones exploded with energy in extremely dramatic fashion. This is a must-see band the next time they come to town. They are at the top of my list for a new record to buy.

The oh-so-talented Jenny Lewis brought a rainbow to the main stage and lifted everyone up. She is a lot of fun.

Local artist Shaprece stunned the crowd inside the El Chupacabra stage early evening with an audio and visual feast that overwhelmed the senses of sight and sound. She is beautiful, she is talented and her performance was truly a work of art.

Natalie Prass opened the Yeti stage on Monday and she was simply wonderful. It wasn't often during the festival that I took the time to just stop and listen to the music and take it all in. This was one of those times.

Later during her set Ryan Adams joined her to play for a bit which of course delighted the crowd. After the show was over I introduced myself and asked if we could do a few photos. They both agreed and off we went to one of the more beautiful views in America to snap a few pics.

Before the pics however as Ryan Adams tweeted, he had Natalie Prass arrested for "Crimes Against Jazz." Talk about a great photo op!

Sam Lachow opened the main stage. He had more energy than I was mentally prepared for and clearly has a fan base that loves him! Very entertaining.

Theesatisfaction played the Bigfoot stage. I didn't get to catch much of their set but what I heard sounded good.

Hanni El Khatib on the main stage

One of the acts I was most excited to see on Monday was Courtney Barnett. I've been listening to her new record a lot lately and every time I hear a new lyric that either cracks me up or leaves me scratching my head in wonder. She is a super cool, no frills, no bullshit rock and roller.

She was even nice enough to pose behind my Grandma's window. What the heck was that thing doing all the way out in George, Washington?

Phox on the Bigfoot stage

Things started to get a bit soggy at the Gorge but spirits remained in sunshine mode.

Try to guess what comedian Sara Schaefer was talking about when I snapped this picture. Go on guess! I just read your mind and you should be ashamed of yourself! Comedy on the El Chupacabra stage was a challenge. Each time I was in there to listen there seemed to be a particularly bass heavy band on the Bigfoot stage next door which made it very difficult to hear. That and the fact that 40% of the crowd was unconscious under the tent made it seem like a bit of a strange scenario. She made the most of it though and had me laughing.

Future Islands? What is up with this band? I did not know. Fans were crying, photographers I spoke with admitted they cried. I heard he was bleeding at the end of the. The dancing was like nothing I had ever seen before. I can't say for certain that I'm glad I saw the dancing but some things you can't unsee so it's there.

This sounds more snarky than is intended. The performance genuinely intrigued me. It seemed honest, it seemed raw, it was definitely energetic and there was clearly a strong connection between the band and the crowd. This show tripped me out.

Ab-Soul on the Bigfoot stage

Comedian Doug Benson had to wear noise reduction head phones to drown out the bass from the show next door it was so loud. He said it kind of sucked because he couldn't tell if the crowd was laughing or not. Again, many were sleeping so their laugh meter was way low. Most others were so stoned that he could have simply said the word "booger" and they would have been crying with laughter.

Schoolboy Q on main stage

Sharon Van Etten was another performer that truly enhanced the lineup. I caught her show at the Neptune last year and really connected with her music. Her album is one I listen to when I am feeling down or driving home after a particularly stressful day. Her music provides me with a sense of peace. It's very somber, very serious but exceptionally beautiful. I wish I could have stayed and watched her entire performance. She is amazing.

Tame Impala played the main stage while the sun poked directly through the back creating the most dramatic backlight I had ever witnessed. These guy can really jam and were a lot of fun to shoot.

This is the way to crowd surf!