Hip hop new and old highlight first day of Sasquatch

Staff writerMay 24, 2014 

Fans rock out to Cage the Elephant on the first of three days of the annual Sasquatch music festival Friday, May 23, 2014, in George, Wash. The festivities continue through Sunday.

JORDAN STEAD — AP

The 2014 Sasquatch Music Festival kicked off Friday with a bang and kept it funky all throughout the sun-drenched day.

The running theme of the first day appeared to be the story of hip-hop’s past and present. Starting from the top of the bill with Seattle rap institution, the Physics, the lineup was jam packed with acts eager to get people’s hands in the air.

Long Island natives De La Soul were an early favorite who, through almost sheer force of will, managed to draw in streams of concert-goers to the main stage. De La Soul is celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut album 3 Feet High and Rising, and actively acknowledged that many in attendance didn’t have a clue who they were. Undeterred, they got the crowd involved pitting sides of the audience against each other and demanding full participation.

Two hours later, one of rap’s brightest rising stars took to the Bigfoot Stage to deliver one of the day’s most anticipated performances. It wasn’t a sure deal that Chance The Rapper would even make it to Sasquatch. The Chicago rapper had to cancel out of slots at festivals Coachella and Hangout earlier this year due to illness. Chance was delayed around 15 minutes due to sound issues, but what his set lacked in length, it made up for in energy. The crowd – by far the largest at the Bigfoot stage all day – was all too willing to let themselves go and hung on the 21-year-old’s every word.

Other highlights throughout the first day included a barnburner of a set from Cage the Elephant, a fun duet performance of Prince tunes by comedienne Maya Rudolph and cover artist Princess, and a sun-soaked, mellow set by New Zealand indie rockers the Naked and Famous. Another big hit was the weather, which remained warm, dry and sunny through most of the day.

The biggest act of Sasquatch’s opening day was renowned Atlanta rap duo Outkast. When Andre 3000 and Big Boi announced their reunion late last year, they suddenly became the hottest ticket of the summer. Sasquatch marked their fifth performance since reuniting and in the wake of a somewhat lackluster first performance at Coachella, they proved to everyone in the Columbia Basin why they are one of the greatest rap duos of all time.

Kicking off with their Stankonia hit, “Bombs Over Baghdad,” ‘Dre and Big took all those in attendance through a career-spanning set that left little to be desired. It was immediately clear that in spite of their separation, the two still hold a chemistry. They weaved rhymes around each other, and bounced stories and jokes back and forth like they were best friends of old.

The hits came fast and furious and the crowd was only too eager to join in on songs such as “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Roses,” and “Ms. Jackson.” Mid-way through their performance, Andre 3000 departed the stage to give Big Boi room to rap a trio of songs off the mega-seller Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, including, “Love the Way You Move.” When he had finished, ‘Dre came back out and laid another three from the latter portion of the record, including the indelible “Hey Ya,” which had the crowd shaking like a Polaroid picture.

It may have been perhaps telling in some way that throughout the night, Andre 3000 sported a jumpsuit with the phrase, “Everything is Temporary,” emblazoned on the front. For those in the crowd, it drew the mind toward two distinct possibilities. Was he giving a nod to their hiatus? Or was he talking about the reunion? Based on the display that Outkast put on at the Gorge, and all they seem to still have in the tank, let’s all hope it’s the former.

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