CCFX, an Olympia-based band, performs on the Yeti stage Friday, May 25, during the first day of the Sasquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Wash.

CCFX, an Olympia-based band, performs on the Yeti stage Friday, May 25, during the first day of the Sasquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Wash.

Even at 17, Sasquatch! Music Festival keeps drawing new fans

Bon Iver, Modest Mouse, The National, Vince Staples and Shakey Graves thrill and fill the Gorge.

GEORGE — Thousands of people flocked to the Gorge Amphitheatre over the holiday weekend for dancing, swaying, rap and rock at the 17th Sasquatch! Music Festival.

The festival was headlined by Bon Iver, Modest Mouse and The National, with additional performances by dozens of established and on-the-rise acts, from Spoon to Japanese Breakfast. Three days of sun and music left festival-goers with sore feet and good memories. Unlike in years past, there was no rain, wind or hail to disrupt the schedule.

The allure of a warm weekend with national touring bands drew a crowd from Snohomish County.

“Having a blast with friends and listening to great music is what brings me out,” said Randy Minor, 31, of Marysville.

His second Sasquatch experience was made possible by the single-day passes. He went to the second day and was pleasantly surprised with the Shakey Graves set.

“His performance was electric,” Minor said.

Friday buzzed from noon to midnight. First, CCFX played the Yeti stage, the smallest of the four setups. Everett-area music fans may remember them from a memorable set during this year’s Fisherman’s Village Music Festival. Hurray For The Riff Raff continued the day’s theme of energetic female bandleaders, as Alynda Segarra rocked the Bigfoot crowd.

Vince Staples exhibited an impressive presence, handling the Sasquatch main stage alone with a backing track and bulletproof vest. His exuberant set gave an outlet for people ready to romp. That vibe transitioned to the artistic precision of David Byrne. The storied musician and former frontman of The Talking Heads sounded as crisp as the choreography that was involved in his live performance.

Bon Iver followed in those footsteps with a set spanning his works from “For Emma, Forever Ago,” “Bon Iver,” and “22, A Million.” The thumping bass featured on his latest recording was reminiscent of Phil Collins and Genesis. Fitting songs from his debut, “For Emma, Forever Ago,” Bon Iver reworked the cabin-in-the-woods sound of an acoustic guitar and drums into driving percussion.

Tyler, The Creator, capped Friday night with a frenetic string of his “Flower Boy” hits and past favorites from “Wolf” and “Goblin.”

Saturday felt like it was tailored for some of the festival’s stalwart fans.

A string of rock performances by Grizzly Bear, Spoon and Pedro The Lion (an Edmonds/Seattle-based band) showed off the talent that has allowed them to endure and succeed for more than a decade.

People who went to Sasquatch in the early years may remember Modest Mouse on the heels of its breakthrough album, “Good New For People Who Love Bad News.” The band’s set this year called back to its earlier works from “The Moon & Antarctica” and its latest albums, “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank” and “Strangers to Ourselves.”

The overall experience of the festival, even in just a single day, was memorable for Bri Hudson, of Everett, who was at Sasquatch for the first time this year.

“I’m a huge music lover, and even though I wasn’t familiar with most of the artists, I always enjoy discovering bands I’ve never heard of as well as enjoying a good show,” said Hudson, 30. “It’s amazing to me how music can bring complete strangers together, and Sasquatch did that — so it was awesome to experience that.”

Sunday, the final day of Sasquatch, had an eclectic sound from stage to stage. Tune-Yards’ world pop sounds provided a burst of energy and dancing in the late afternoon. Perfume Genius brought heady melodies to the Bigfoot stage. And The National gave a show worth remembering for indie rock fans. At the main stage, the band’s frontman happily waded into the crowd, howling the lyrics with fans mirroring them.

The evening and festival weekend came to a close with Anderson.Paak’s hip-hop grooves. The fast-paced rhythm gave people a final chance to dance, at least until the next festival.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

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