Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sasquatch Is Coming

I managed to finagle a trip to Sasquatch, admission, camping space and even some food in exchange for participating in the creation of the Sasquatch 10th Anniversary Year Book.

After giving us a class on interviews we were all assigned to do interviews with anybody we wanted. I picked the Knowmads, a young hip hop duo I had just seen and enjoyed who were local, had a good following (they sold the Vera Project out) and only had a few interviews out there.

I have to admit I enjoyed it, so when the Seacats (my then 12 year old son's first local band crush last Summer) got CD release show booked I tracked down an obscure web site and got in touch for an interview with Josh Davis of the Seacats, who are doing a CD release show at the Vera Project on May 20th. This one wasn't tasked or reviewed by the Sasquatch Yearbook committee, hopefully some of them may read it though.

Now I get to go to Sasquatch and if it can be arranged Ranni and I get to interview Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. So another assignment was researching the artists, which was an unexpected pleasure. If you've read enough of my blogs you've seen my rap/hip-hop disclaimer: it came after my time, it doesn't favor guitar, it emphasizes beat and rhythm over melody, it's not really my native style or comfort zone, and my knowledge of the genre is thin to say the least.

All that being said, I keep on running into hip-hop shows that I enjoy immensely. Mad Rad, Das Racist, Dyme Def, Knowmads - I end up having a great time at their shows. The crowd's are into it, rhythm and beat rule during live performances, and I saw a lot of talented performers at a high creative level just killing it. Awesome live shows!

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are the first of the modern local wave (well Das Racist aren't local, so local and national wave) of Hip Hop performers that I got into via their recorded output. Several of their songs just knocked me out, and that arguably cheesy eulogy "My Oh My" made me cry - the bit about listening to the Mariners in the garage with Dad was a direct hit, I still miss my father and lived through exactly that so many times; nothing has evoked him that strongly for me in a long while. Wonderful stuff, very powerful, it connected with my emotions intensely.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis put out interesting stuff when it comes to the backing track too, with more variety in the instrumentation than I'm used to for hip hop - horns, strings, classical sounding piano, quite different from most of what I've heard before.

I read a criticism recently of Macklemore and Head & the Heart, effectively that they're music is too naive, simple, or un-ironic, it just doesn't have the complexity and depth to really be classic stuff. I would argue that what has made them so noticeable is that they are working the emotion side of creativity pretty directly, and the passion is intense, interesting, and exciting. I saw Head & the Heart open for Vampire Weekend last year at the Paramount and they were awesome, and I'm really looking forward to finally seeing Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at Sasquatch too - the youtube footage of his shows looks great! Interviewing will be icing on the cake if that works out.

That's just one band of a huge number of interesting acts like Das Racist, Death Cab For Cutie, The Decemberists, Deerhunter, The Flaming Lips, Flogging Molly, Foo Fighters, The Globes, Guided By Voices, Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse, MSTRKRFT, Old 97′s, Reggie Watts, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Surfer Blood, The Thermals, Tokyo Police Club, Wilco, Wolf Parade and the The Young Evils - and that's just the shorter list of bands I've heard of and/or seen. Half the fun at a show like this is the bands that you;ve never heard of, you see all kinds of cool things that you just wouldn't have made it to otherwise. It's almost an embarrassment of riches!

The real challenge is to figure out how to get pictures and videos from every act I see, if possible. Can I take a laptop so I can download them as I go along and free up room on my Flip? We'll see, I'll blog about it one way or another once I get back after next weekend. It should be awesome!

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