Detail of the cover illustration of Geoffrey Homes' The Case of the Mexican Knife by Bob Doares, 1948
The last day of Sasquatch! was worthwhile for Guided By Voices' set alone - although they had a mid-afternoon set on the main stage, performing right after Chromeo (a group targeting a very different set of demographics), they were in good spirits and sounded great. My brother and I got to the venue in time to see the end of the Chromeo set - as soon as they were done, the younger two thirds of the audience vacated the area, so I went and stood right in front for the Guided By Voices set. Like the last time I saw them on their "classic lineup" reunion tour, they stuck to their early-'90s material, although they did a couple numbers I hadn't heard before. The highlight was an electrifying version of "Always Crush Me", the closing track of Alien Lanes.
After Guided By Voices, we stayed at the main stage to see Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - they did a great set, but the fun was entirely in the performance, and I didn't hear anything that would convince me that their records would be anywhere near as good as seeing them live. We then relocated to see Surfer Blood, who did a decent job in spite of having recently lost all their equipment to theft in Seattle. The problem with their set was in frontman John Paul Pitts' wobbly vocals - maybe it was nerves, but he didn't sound great. Much better was the set by Best Coast, whose sunshine-y surf pop translated better live than I'd guessed. Beth Cosentino seemed to be having a great time - her voice sounds really good live, and her between-song patter was cute.
In the evening, we caught a decent but not extraordinary set from the Decemberists - I don't know why they still do the nine-minute shanty "Mariner's Revenge Song" - and then an unappealingly amorphous and jam-heavy set by Deerhunter ("Little Kids" sounded good, but the rest was *meh*). I was running out of gas at this point, and rainstorms had been threatening throughout the day, but we decided to see how the Wilco set was shaping up back at the main stage before heading out. It turned out that they were just starting, and it sounded good. We made our way down to the front and watched most of the set, which was thankfully light on material from the last two albums. They played nice versions of "Kamera", "Company in My Back", and "Misunderstood", but the best thing they did was "Airline to Heaven" from Mermaid Avenue 2. We headed to the car when they started playing "Spiders (Kidsmoke)" for the obvious reasons - we could hear them still playing it in the distance as we drove away from the Gorge. I guess we missed a brief encore, but we'd had our fill by that point. Twenty-two bands in three days - not bad at all, I think.
"Airline to Heaven" by Wilco (with Billy Bragg)