Take a time machine back to 2002 for the the inaugural Sasquatch Music Festival and you would’ve seen seven bands total, all in one night: Galactic, Blackalicious, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Maktub and Soulive.
A decade later, Sasquatch has sprawled to a four-day affair, beginning today, with more than 100 bands on three stages at the Gorge Amphitheatre.
Sasquatch 2011 sold out in record time, and is highlighted by giants of the indie aesthetic while spotlighting some of the Northwest’s heaviest hitters, including a few from our neck of the woods.
Here’s just one-tenth of the power fueling this concert monster:
Death Cab for Cutie: Between Death Cab and The Postal Service, Bellingham’s Ben Gibbard racks up his fifth Sasquatch appearance as the anchoring act on Saturday’s main stage, just before the Tuesday release of the band’s seventh studio set, “Codes and Keys.”
Foo Fighters: For the first-ever Sasquatch Friday, Foo Fighters play a two-hour set on the heels of its seventh record, “Wasting Light.” Guitarist Pat Smear redeems his full-time membership in the band for the first time since 1997’s “The Colour and the Shape.”
The Flaming Lips: The Lips, who play Sunday, follow up 2009’s cover album, “The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the Moon,” with another collaborative studio set, “Flaming Lips 2011, The Flaming Lips with Neon Indian.” Frontman Wayne Coyne hyped it a “very limited” release on a USB drive deep inside a life-sized, 7-pound human skull made out of the stuff of gummi bears (yes, really).
Gayngs: This Midwest indie collaboration, inspired by soft rock from the 1980s, maxes out with 25 musicians, including Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and Rhymesayers emcee P.O.S. They take the Bigfoot side stage Sunday.
The Globes: Since moving back to Spokane after landing a record deal in Seattle, The Globes have played a couple of small shows at The Baby Bar and Jones Radiator, preceding the band’s first Sasquatch appearance Saturday on the Yeti stage.
The Seattle Rock Orchestra: Last year the SRO covered Arcade Fire songs at Sasquatch. This year, the Seattle-based volunteer community orchestra takes on the best of Radiohead’s “The Bends” and “OK Computer” on the Bigfoot stage Saturday, with help from former Spokane chanteuse Kaylee Cole.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings: Leaders in the new school of 1960s and ’70s funky-soul revival movement, Jones and her band (playing Monday) add undisputed authenticity to their tunes by recording sans digital, all analog, breathing nostalgic flavor into dance-inducing grooves.
Talkdemonic: The seeds of the Portland-based avant-instrumental duo (Sunday, Yeti stage) were planted at house parties in Pullman, where multi-instrumentalist Kevin O’Connor cut his teeth in indie music while attending Washington State University.
Ratatat: With music that reveals an obsession with hip-hop beats and video games, Ratatat’s set is often enhanced by surreal, psychedelic video images (Sunday, Bigfoot stage).
Das Racist: This Brooklyn rap crew (Sunday, Yeti stage) immediately recalls the pioneering eccentricities of Kool Keith, only the humor is actually intentional.