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Exciting artists emerge from an underwhelming Sasquatch lineup

Frank Ocean is among the headliners at this year’s Sasquatch festival, held over Memorial Day weekend at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George. (John Shearer / Invision/AP)
Frank Ocean is among the headliners at this year’s Sasquatch festival, held over Memorial Day weekend at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George. (John Shearer / Invision/AP)

The Sasquatch Music Festival, which has made the Gorge Amphitheater an annual pilgrimage for thousands of music fans every Memorial Day, recently released its lineup for the upcoming three-day concert.

Sasquatch has grown considerably since it started in 2002, and its recent headliners have included Outkast, Robert Plant, Foo Fighters and Wilco. But the general reaction to this year’s lineup has been lukewarm: Perusing comments on the festival’s Facebook page reveals plenty of disappointment from followers.

There are still some interesting names in the mix, however, and we’ve named seven that we’ll be excited to see take the Gorge stage in May.

Frank Ocean. R&B crooner Frank Ocean exploded onto the scene with his acclaimed 2012 album “Channel Orange,” and last year he released his second studio LP, “Blonde,” after a long period of inactivity. Ocean, real name Christopher Breaux, hasn’t been performing live lately, so his announcement as a Sasquatch headliner is big news. At 29, he’s certainly one of the more promising singer-songwriters to emerge in recent years.

Chance the Rapper. Another young, exciting artist in a headliner slot (he’s only 23), Chance has firmly established himself as one of the most distinctive voices in alternative hip-hop. His 2016 mixtape “Coloring Book” showed up on a number of year-end top 10 lists, and it was the first streaming-only album to ever receive a Grammy nomination.

The Shins. This Portland musical institution fronted by songwriter James Mercer has seen its fair share of Sasquatch lineups, and they’re always a welcome addition. You wouldn’t think the band’s delicate pop would translate to a particularly invigorating live show, but Mercer and his bandmates tend to be admirably polished.

Charles Bradley. Soul singer Bradley has had the kind of life that could inspire a thousand songs. He toiled in obscurity for decades, working odd jobs and overcoming stage fright, before finally scoring a record deal in his 60s. His throwback style is equal parts smooth and rugged, and his songs have been frequently sampled by hip-hop producers.

Car Seat Headrest. The musical project of prolific singer-songwriter Will Toledo, Car Seat Headrest has been gaining serious traction from critics. Over the course of six years and 10 albums, Toledo’s lo-fi, DIY production has grown lusher and more sophisticated, and his latest LP, “Teens of Denial,” received the best reviews of his short career.

Thee Oh Sees. For those who like their rock slightly ragged and seriously retro, this San Francisco band will scratch that musical itch. The group has released a steady stream of albums since forming in 1997, including two companion records, “A Weird Exits” and “An Odd Entrances,” that came out last year.

Fred Armisen. Sasquatch also maintains a separate comedy lineup, and the biggest name this year is Armisen, co-creator of the cultishly adored “Portlandia” and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member. He’s often blended music with comedy, so don’t be surprised if he resurrects Test Pattern, a high-concept Talking Heads parody band that appeared on his brilliant IFC series “Documentary Now.”

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