Note: This is an overview of Sasquatch! 2013. Go here for detailed daily coverage and photos.
The crowd was a little bewildered Friday night at Sasquatch!, when, right in the middle of Macklemore’s set, the Seattle rapper left the stage and everything went dark. A man in coveralls came on, pushing a broom. But as soon as the man began to whistle the familiar hook to Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” the audience erupted.
The man turned out to be Wanz, who sings the super-catchy “I’m gonna pop some tags” chorus of the megahit. A moment later, Macklemore, donning a lavish fur coat, came coasting out on a scooter. The reaction was deafening.
The 29-year-old sounded like the happiest man in music as he addressed the sold-out Sasquatch! crowd thronging the mainstage amphitheater at the Gorge, saying there was no other place he’d rather be.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are now touring the world behind their certified-gold album, “The Heist.” (By the next day, he had tweeted, “Now on a plane to Dublin.”)
It was Macklemore’s moment, but there was plenty of love for the festival in general.
Earlier that afternoon, Seattle radio personality Luke Burbank addressed the crowd at the mainstage. He called Sasquatch! founder Adam Zacks on stage and read aloud from a Governor’s Recognition Award given by Jay Inslee.
“Today, Sasquatch! Attracts more than 80,000 people each year from around the globe, providing a significant boost to the regional economy,” it reads. “This festival helps support the development of alternative independent music and embodies the independent spirit of music that our communities have long been known for.”
In fact, the festival sold out 27,500 four-day passes in just an hour.
Aside from Macklemore, Seattle hip-hop had a bit of a moment Friday with back-to-back sets from 19-year-old Shelton Harris, the college-age trio Brothers From Another and the grimy South End rapper Nacho Picasso.
Indie darlings Vampire Weekend played a solid evening set, including songs from their new album like the infectious “Diane Young.”
Saturday’s mainstage action included a reliably solid set by indie-rock mainstays Built to Spill and a lusty hard-edge set by British rockers Arctic Monkeys. Monkeys frontman Alex Turner, looked the part of a louche Joe Strummer, with his pompadour and sharply tailored jacket.
Trippy British trio the xx played the festival into the nighttime hours with their heady subdued electronic sound, followed by the gauzy Icelandic group Sigur Rós.
Sunday highlights included a raucous, boozy set by Detroit rapper Danny Brown, who reminded the crowd several times how inebriated he was.
Later, 19-year-old L.A. rapper Earl Sweatshirt, one of the more enigmatic members of the California hip-hop collective Odd Future, started his set by shouting, “What’s up Coachella,” before burning through a set of crowd favorites and some unreleased material.
Other notable acts included the neo-folk juggernaut Mumford & Sons, who closed out the main stage Sunday with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.”
On the comedy front, Nick Offererman, best known for his role as Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation,” had the comedy tent in stitches Saturday, particularly during his mashup of Cypress Hill’s “Hits from the Bong” and Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.”
Tig Notaro, whose nearly legendary stand-up set about having cancer burned up the Internet last year, also packed them in Sunday for her 40-minute set, which had a heavy audience-participation element.
As the sun went down over the rain-soaked amphitheater, the faithful — damp-to-the-bone and somewhat jangled from four days of seeking the true festival experience — awaited the Lumineers and The Postal Service. Check back here later on Monday for a review of the closing shows of Sasquatch! 2013.