Sasquatch, or my week at “hippie fest”

May 31, 2012 § 2 Comments

One of my childhood best friends and I share similar tastes in music, so when the Sasquatch line-up came out I semi-jokingly posted it on his wall saying something like, “WE HAVE TO GO TO THIS.”

I didn’t think we actually would, especially since it was in the faraway unknown land of Washington state. I’ve heard references to Seattle in Portlandia, but that was the extent of my knowledge of the pacific northwest. By the way – if you tell someone from Portland that you, “just love Portlandia!,” they’ll roll their eyes at you and walk away.

Somehow, mostly through the expert planning and organization of my friend (thanks, Joe!), we ended up at the gorge in George, Washington. My dad, my friends, my aunt, my co-workers, EVERYONE that I mentioned the trip to, bid me farewell with the phrase, “have fun at your hippie fest.” I think they imagined I was flying off to Burning Man.

Here’s a little taste of what the gorge looked like:

As the wuss of a Texan that I am, I spent most of the time wearing three layers tucked up in my blanket, but there were a few glorious moments when the sun came out and warmed my southern heart.

Look how happy I am. Right after this picture I fell asleep hard for a good hour or so. Hooray for sunshine and naps in the grass!

The lineup is what drew us to Sasquatch and it certainly did not disappoint. While I obsessively listened to most of the bands going prior to our trip, there’s something mind-blowing about hearing a group live and experiencing the personality (and the quirks) behind the music.

Without further ado, I’ll share a little about some of my favorite groups.

St. Vincent – This quirky songstress was my favorite performer of the entire festival. I started listening to her a while ago, but found her mellow tracks best for the office and for putting me to sleep. I told Joe that her show would probably be super chill and we could just sit back and listen. She wasn’t mellow at all on stage. She was mesmerizing. At one point she crowd surfed while still hitting every note. And then she played a moog synthesizer. This girl was incredible. Fun fact courtesy of my friend who hangs out with musicians on the reg: St. Vincent was part of The Polyphonic Spree for a while, which is why she unconsciously falls into some of their strange quirks every now and then.

Little Dragon – Ridiculously fun, this group is another that practically exploded live. The Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano is adorable and had the audience dancing like three-year-olds.

The Civil Wars – My awesome friend Emily took me with her to see the Civil Wars at the ACL taping a few months ago. I still owe her my first born for this. They were fantastic both in the Moody Theater and at the gorge. While I loved staring intently at them the first time around in an intimate setting, I equally enjoyed lying on my back in the grass with my eyes closed on the hill. She’s very pregnant and they won’t be playing any shows for a while, but when they’re back in business I highly, highly recommend that you check them out. Sadly, they aren’t married to each other and they won’t be popping out the most perfect baby ever. [Crushing dreams everywhere, I know]

Because not everything is perfect, there are a few bands that I need to pick on for just a minute. Please don’t tar and feather me if you love these groups, as we all have different tastes and we can all still be friends.

Metric – Yessh, y’all love Metric. Everyone does. I don’t find Metric all that fascinating, but because music festivals are about compromise and experiencing bands with your friends, I jumped right along with the audience of drunk 19-year-olds. My main peeve with Metric was that they came out all arrogant and haughty, acting like they were too good to be playing in such a fantastic venue. Almost all of the other performers were incredibly humble and seemed taken aback by how fortunate they were to play at the gorge. Not Metric. They screwed up their set, not once, but TWICE. Karma police, baby.

Jack White – Me: Who’s Jack White? Joe: You’re joking. Me: No, really, who is Jack White? Joe: Have you heard of the White Stripes? Seven Nation Army? Me: [Annoyed Look]

Anyways, I obviously didn’t know who Jack White was and once I heard him live, I could have done without his headache-inducing voice. I’m trying to be a hipster, y’all, and there isn’t any room for actual rock stars. (Kidding, totally kidding about that hipster thing. Kind of. Mostly).

Feed Me – WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GET OVER THIS ELECTRONIC DANCE CRAP?

Now back to bands that I just loved.

The Staves – We all have an obsession with the Brits. If a British guy proposed to me tomorrow, I’d say yes. I’d hop on a boat (do they still take boats to England?) and suffer through the cold and the rain. Anyone know a handsomish British man they could set me up with? Teeth are normally my “thing,” but maybe we could work past that. So, yes – the Staves. Three adorable British sisters with sarcastic little jokes and the sweetest songs you’ll ever enjoy. They’re opening for Bon Iver right now and if you don’t trust my judgment, you should trust his.

Childish Gambino – As I quickly approach my 23rd birthday, I’m moving more toward card games and movie nights, but I can still appreciate a sweaty, crowded dance party for all that it has to offer. While we were standing in the giant pit of people, I made friends with some Canadian girls who then thought our new friendship meant they could stroke my hair and get their armpits all over me while we were dancing. I’m not going to make a generalization about Canadians based on this one experience, I’m sure deodorant is sold and used on a regular basis up there. Throw your own dance party in your room to Childish Gambino. While you won’t exactly feel super sexy, you’ll feel tough and sometimes that’s better.

A few others who deserve a shout out: Explosions in the Sky, Beirut, Grouplove, Gary Clark Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (I was at the Do512 party where he played during SXSW, but never made it to see him play. My friends M&M got me into a VIP room with free sushi and other delights and I just didn’t want to leave the fried rice), Bon Iver, Tycho, Pickwick, etc.

If you ever get the chance to go to Sasquatch, I think you’ll love it. Unless you’re over the age of 25. Then you’ll just feel old, but the music will still be good and the view will still be gorgeous (pun intended, I heard this joke 80,000,000 times over the weekend).

Who’s going to Free Press Summer Fest this weekend? Come find me!

Girl Talk

May 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Conversations with women my age tend to lean toward date details, boy-bashing, boy-loving, etc. but we never spend time hashing out NPR segments (talk to me about All Songs Considered and I’ll be your best friend) or Romney’s latest ploy.

While I am probably one of the guiltiest parties when it comes to directing the conversation toward boy talk, I think as ladies we have to work harder to expand our discussions beyond our opinions on trivial topics like beards vs. no beards. On our own, we’re reading novels (yes, Hunger Games counts), watching movies other than romantic comedies, challenging ourselves with new workout routines, learning languages, kicking booty at work and SO MANY other interesting and robust things. We’re smart, unique women but we get so caught up in analyzing our encounters with men, that we forget to hold deep conversations with our girlfriends as often as we should.

Have you ever listened to your guy friends talk to each other? They cover so many topics. It’s fascinating, unnerving and envy-inducing. They don’t talk about girls at all. Not even to complain about them.

My circle of girlfriends recently started a book club and in my opinion, our first meeting consisted of the best conversation we’d had in a while.

After much debate, we started with the novel, “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything,” by Janelle Brown.

Looking back at our Facebook discussion, I think we pushed the actual book club meeting date by about six weeks, but we finally all arrived at Max’s Wine Dive, for good wine, fried food and a boy-free night.

We were all a little disappointed with the story and thought it dragged on much longer than it should have. The first few chapters of the book focus on one of the daughter’s incredible debt and constantly mentions the creditors calling her non-stop. While none of us are in over our heads financially, we are all 20-somethings trying to balance budgets for the first time. There’s something terrifying and gut-wrenching about paying bills each month and we found it painful to read about money troubles. It took us so long to really get into the book because we’d put it down after a few nauseous pages. I read most nights before bed as a way to calm myself down from the day and to think about something other than my life. Reading about the daughter’s worries would make me think about how I’d forgotten to pay my electricity bill that day or how Stella had an unexpected vet visit that didn’t fit into my monthly budget. All thoughts that are depressing and need to stay far away from the bedroom.

Talking about these chapters opened up a discussion that we’d typically never have. Sometimes you feel alone in your worries about grown-up things, but it’s an invigorating moment when you realize that everyone around you is going through the same thing. It’s okay to be poor-ish in your 20s and more importantly, it’s okay to air out personal things now and then to your close friends. Get talking! You’ll feel better.

Aside from the in-debt daughter, the story focuses on a wealthy, “new money,” family that is faced with about 7 million disasters all at once. Too many disasters if you ask me. I like to think that bad things happen in threes. Not in thirteens.

One of my favorite sections was about the high school-aged daughter and her exposure to one of those teen-friendly churches. As someone who grew up in the Methodist church, I attended my fair share of youth events with cheesy bands and over-zealous youth directors, but was fortunately spared a lot of the fakeness of it all. When we started talking about this section, it was fascinating to hear some of the girls share their stories about how going to churches like these turned them off or caused them to reconsider their thoughts toward Christianity. Again, it was affirming to hear that I wasn’t crazy or a terrible Christian because I don’t attend church every Sunday. Most of the girls at the table are in a similar boat as me, trying out new churches until they find one that feels natural and real. Prior to that evening, I don’t think we’d ever discussed God or our church background. It wasn’t taboo, it just never came up.

While I don’t recommend reading this book, I do recommend reading something with someone.

One of my best friends lives in Dallas and even though we don’t see each other every day anymore, we’re re-reading David Sedaris (sorry, I’m obsessed) books at the same time so we have something to giggle about with each other on a regular basis.

Just find something to read that will open up your eyes and start a discussion. I sound like a harping English teacher, but really books are great.

Join our book club if you’d like. Our only requirement is that you must like wine.

Next on our list is a spin-off of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, “Death Comes to Pemberley,” by P.D. James. I haven’t started it yet, but maybe this will get us talking about our thoughts on death. Doesn’t that sound happy?

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