The Lineup that Saved Us All
How the Sasquatch lineup restored hope in the music industry
After years of disappointing lineups and a migration towards electronic music, I was ready to give up on festivals all together. Coachella, like many others, turned into a social media necessity rather than a genuine weekend experience. Quality music was replaced by hashtags and the false sense of being a hippy for a weekend. The result of this culture is a 2018 Coachella lineup without a rock headliner. After the lineup was released, I had little faith in the industry. The music that helped change the world over the past 50 years was no longer being represented in the two biggest weekends for music in the United States. Was this the official announcement that pop culture had given up on rock n’ roll?
Although, everything changed when Sasquatch released their inspiring lineup earlier this month. My faith was restored. The selection of artists is culturally relevant and pays tribute to all genres. Electronic DJs from past lineups were replaced by artists like Bon Iver and Modest Mouse, and David Byrne even received a headlining spot, which makes perfect sense. As alternative music takes a turn towards funky and more eccentric sounds, bands like Talking Heads are now more relevant than ever. Even the hip-hop artists fit perfectly into the lineup; Tyler, The Creator, Vince Staples and Anderson .Paak round out the category. All of them are unique in their own sense and draw attention from fans of all genres.
What impressed me most was the quality of musicians from top to bottom. Instead of paying outrageous money for one or two headliners, Sasquatch assembled a very full lineup. Even the artists with the smallest font size at the bottom of the poster are worth seeing.
Here are five “bottom half” artists that are worth seeing at this year’s Sasquatch festival:
I’ve been waiting for the world to give Benjamin Clementine the attention he deserves, but I understand things like that take time. Especially, if you’re a pianist/poet. However, Clementine gained recognition after appearing on the brilliant Gorillaz track, “Hallelujah Money,” in 2017. He also won the Mercury Prize for his debut album in 2014. His melodies are grand and glorious, and his voice is ominous and unique. It’s only time before the world picks up on the genius that is Benjamin Clementine.
After getting their visas retracted for their Spring US tour, POND will return with vengeance to Sasquatch this year. Their music speaks for itself, and POND is a force to be reckoned with. They are wildly creative, and their live set is guaranteed to be memorable. They were surprisingly low on the festival poster this year, but expect that to change in the future.
“Hey this sounds like Vampire Weekend,” says everyone. Well it is (sort of). Rostam is half of the songwriting duo that is Vampire Weekend. He is also an acclaimed producer that worked with Frank Ocean on his track “Ivy.” Half Light is Rostam’s debut album, and it perfectly blends psychedelic rock and experimental pop. Although his solo career is fresh, most festival guests will have heard something worked on by Rostam.
Typhoon is an eclectic folk band from the Pacific Northwest that captures the weirdness of their Portland roots. The band seemingly has 100 members, and the live shows are rumored to be unforgettable (check out their Tiny Desk). If you’re tired of festival folk music, still give them a chance because they are much more than another Mumford and Sons.
Big Thief is quickly on the rise for their roots rock style and visceral songwriting. Making waves with their impressive appearance on NPR’s Tiny Desk series, the band seems poised to do big things. On the outside, they seem like just another hip indie band but dig deeper and you’ll find some of the best rock n’ roll hitting the scene today. If the lineup were to come out in three months, they would be much higher on the list. 2018 will be the year for Big Thief.