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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Artists to watch at this year’s Sasquatch! Music Festival

For many, Memorial Day weekend means a day off from work, maybe a barbecue or a lazy day on the river.

For others, it marks an annual trip to the Gorge Amphitheatre for the Sasquatch Music Festival, now in its 15th year.

The reaction to this year’s lineup has been lukewarm, but there are quite a few notable acts worth squeezing into your schedule in between finding shade and snapping photos of the Gorge’s legendary view.

1. Headlining the final day of the festival, Chance the Rapper has become a household name in recent years thanks to the success of his second and third mixtapes, 2013’s “Acid Rap” and last year’s “Coloring Book,” which won best rap album at this year’s Grammys, the first streaming-only album to win a Grammy. His 2014 Sasquatch performance also garnered a lot of buzz for Chance, so expect this performance to bring even more his way. (LCD Soundsystem headlines Friday, and Twenty One Pilots will close Saturday. Chance the Rapper will perform Sunday from 10:30 p.m.-midnight on the Sasquatch stage.)

2. 2017 marks the return of indie-rock act Bleachers, the solo project of fun.’s Jack Antonoff, which burst onto the scene with “I Wanna Get Better,” off 2014’s “Strange Desire.” Bleachers’ latest single, “Don’t Take the Money,” has been working its way up the charts, and its sophomore album “Gone Now,” is slated for release in June. (Performing Saturday from 4:15-5:15 p.m. on the Sasquatch stage)

3. Seattle indie-folk darlings The Head and the Heart have come a long way since their early days busking around the city. The band caught the ears of the folks at Sub Pop, eventually releasing two albums on the label. The band made the jump to a major label last year, releasing “Signs of Light” on Warner Bros. Don’t be surprised if you get caught up in the hand claps and group vocals that permeate a Head and the Heart set. (Performing Friday from 8:30-9:15 p.m. on the Sasquatch stage)

4. This year marks the fourth year the Portland-based, James Mercer-fronted group The Shins has taken its indie-pop sound to the Sasquatch stage. The band’s latest album in five years, “Heartworms,” was released in March, so expect to hear quite a few new tunes from the band, which has undergone significant lineup changes since its last Sasquatch performance in 2012. (Performing Sunday from 8:15-9:30 p.m. on the Sasquatch stage)

5. Lo-fi indie rocker and Bartlett favorite Car Seat Headrest, the project of Will Toledo, makes its Sasquatch debut this year. In his short career, Toledo has accomplished an incredible amount, self-releasing eight albums on Bandcamp before releasing “Teens of Style” and “Teens of Denial” on Matador Records. Toledo has a cult following so expect big crowds. (Performing Sunday from 4:15-5:15 p.m. on the Sasquatch stage)

6. If you go to Sasquatch looking to dance, look no further than Big Freedia. The New Orleans-based singer has brought the mostly underground dance-heavy genre of bounce music into the mainstream. You might have already seen her on her Fuse reality show, “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce,” or heard her sampled on Beyoncé’s “Formation.” Big Freedia’s last album was released in 2014, so her Sasquatch set could hint at new music to come. (Performing Friday from 7:15-8:15 p.m. on the Bigfoot stage)

7. Seattle’s Porter Ray has been turning the city’s hip-hop scene on its head since the release of his trio of albums, “Blk Gld,” “Wht Gld” and “Rse Gld,” in 2013. Since then, he’s self-released two more albums, “Fundamentals” and “Nightfall,” and signed with Sub Pop. His label debut, “Watercolor,” which was released in March, just barely scratches the surface of what Ray is capable of. (Performing Friday from 2:15-3:15 p.m. on the Yeti stage)

8. Known for its music lineup, Sasquatch’s comedy offerings, hosted on the El Chupacabra stage, are nothing to scoff at. This year, the festival features “Saturday Night Live” alum Fred Armisen (Saturday, 6:15 p.m.) and Sasheer Zamata (Friday, 6:15 p.m.), and Nate Bargatze (Saturday, 5:45 p.m.), who performed at the Bartlett last year. Also bringing the laughs are Beth Stelling (Sunday, 6:15 p.m.), Sal Vulcano (Friday, 5:45 p.m.), Sam Morril (Sunday, 5:45 p.m.), Alice Wetterlund (Saturday, 5:45 p.m.) and Seattle’s Yogi Paliwal (Friday, 5:25 p.m.) and Emmett Montgomery (Sunday, 5:25 p.m.). Sasquatch will also host an advanced screening of the Jim Carrey-executive produced Showtime series “I’m Dying Up Here,” which follows a group of comedians trying to make it big in 1970s Los Angeles (Sunday, 4:15 p.m.).