Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: May, 2007 (44) Currently Viewing: 41 - 44 of 44

May 27, 2007 at 7:20am

Sasquatch Sightings 2007: Day One

Sasquatch Festival is not for the faint of heart. Only the strong, the brave and the hearty of wallet will survive. I’ve been to Sasquatch five years in a row now so I feel kinda like an expert of the subject. While I’m neither strong, brave nor rich, I’ve managed to pick up a few tips along the way and that has made all the difference. I know the best place to camp, the best way to smuggle in supplies, the best viewpoints for all three stages, the location of the best Honey Buckets and the best places to seek shelter should a freak storm or heat wave hit. I know what to pack, how to dress in layers and what the best footwear is. I know that a regular blanket won’t protect you from hail stone the size of a gobstopper or from a beer soaked patch of grass. I know that the Vantage Campground bathroom has three showers and that only one of them has both adequate water pressure and adequate warmth. I know that there is a little restaurant in Vantage that serves a killer breakfast all day long. I know that earrings, rings and other jewelry have a way of disappearing into the thin desert air. I know that a bandanna of any hue will come in handy in extreme weather and that if you don’t bring your own firewood to the campground, you’ll pay dearly for it. (I also know that the Gorge campground doesn’t allow campfires!) Here is part 1 of my 2007 Sasquatch report.

Pack and embark, traffic at the crest, find your exit, make your nest
We left home on Friday afternoon after checking everything off our list and loading up the car. We popped in CD number one (of the 6 road music CDs we burned especially for this trip) and jumped on I-5 northbound. According to Mapquest it’s a 3.5 hour drive to the Gorge but it always takes longer than that in Memorial Day weekend traffic. Going across the mountains was a stop, go, stop, go affair which isn’t so good if you are driving a stick shift. I was both annoyed and concerned about the welfare of my car’s clutch for what seemed like an eternity. If it wasn’t for the soothing sounds of Imogene Heap I think I might have had a nervous breakdown.
A little after dark we arrived in Vantage, our favorite place to camp, and quickly had our tent pitched, a healthy fire going and 2 steaks grilled to perfection for dinner. We were very proud of ourselves. We watched ‘Epic Movie’ on my laptop while huddled in our tent before going to sleep. That’s a really stupid movie, by the way, but I guess you already knew that.   

Sweaty awakening, cold showers, breakfast of rice cakes, misuse of powers
The sun warmed our tent to about 110 degrees that morning which awoke us without the need of an alarm clock. Oops, I guess car battery power is not meant to withstand our entertainment needs. Laptop power for 2 hours the night before and then stereo for two more hours while we get dressed and ready for the concert proved too exhausting for my poor little Jetta. Lucky for us, our nice campground neighbor stepped in with jumper cables and we were off to the concert.

Concert arrival - herded like cattle but we were ready, chanting of Woo Yeah kept excitement steady
We arrived early to avoid lines and so did everyone else apparently. Thousands stood for well over an hour waiting to cross the gateway into the Gorge Amphitheater. Just before our bags were searched and our tickets were scanned, our impatience and annoyance was banished by what one guy called a wave of awesomeness. He and his friends started it. One yelled, Wooo!” and the other answered with an enthused “Yeah.” By the second “Woo,” there were 10-20 “Yeah’s” responding and each time more and more people chimed in. It was kind of awesome and well timed. Our anticipation was refueled for the events to come. The first day was perfect 80 degree weather. Sunscreen mostly protected us but we still got slightly sunburned because we were having too much fun to reapply.

Noonish
First stop, main stage where we staked our claim on a piece of prime real estate for the remainder of the day. This would serve as our home base and our blanket and bag of supplies would stay here so we didn’t have to haul everything around with us all day. This is crucial come nightfall when a good spot is difficult to come by. DJ Mixmaster Mike got the party started with an eclectic mix of music which he cut, mixed, scratched and stuttered like a pro. He played bits of System of a Down, Kanye West, Nirvana, Beastie Boys, Queen and Lady Sovereign just to name a few.

As a side note: In between bands throughout the day recorded music was piped through the sound system on the main stage â€" some of it was like elevator music and super annoying (especially the Chinese music playing while the stage was setting up for Bjork!) but we noticed that several songs from Radiohead’s OK computer album were in the mix. It really made us wish that Radiohead would perform at Sasquatch. Hey you folks at Live Nation, if you are reading this, please get right on that for next year, K? That would be so awesome! *smile*

1:00 p.m.
The Saturday Knights failed to impress us. Two rappers, one looked like a biker, the other like ice cubes cousin, rapped over live electric guitar licks and pre-recorded background tracks. They weren’t so much sampling as just playing over top of other people’s songs. Odd. We thought he rhymes lacked originality and we were not impressed.

2:30pm
Ozomatli took the mainstage …. I have no recollection … I think we might have been standing in line for Gorge burgers which really suck by the way. Don’t waste your money. The Gorge cheeseburger tasted like a high school cafeteria burger only it had nothing on it but cheese.

3:15 p.m.
I have heard such great things about Portland couple, Viva Voce, that I had really high expectations. I was unmoved by the performance at Sasquatch but I have a feeling it wasn’t due to any failure on the bands part. Actually the Yeti stage sound was not very good throughout the entire festival. The high end was piercing at times, the low end was mushy and the mids were pretty vacant all the way through. I noticed this with every band we saw on that stage. I heard a few other people commented about it too. There’s no doubt that both husband and wife are talented musicians, I just wasn’t swept away the way I was at some other performances at Sasquatch.

Sasvisqueen 4:00 p.m.
Neko Case on the Sasquatch! Main stage said, “I’m just glad it didn’t hail this time, but that was fun too…” Last year her set was cut short due to freak weather. This time she had a new backup singer with her since her pal Rachel Flotard had to perform with her own band, Visqueen, at virtually the same time. Case sang, “I was your favorite,” and “Hold On, Hold On,” and her voice sounded beautiful, haunting and powerful with the Gorge behind her and a hill full of love in front of her.

4:20 p.m.
Visqueen is a repeat performer at Sasquatch. For me, Sasquatch wouldn’t be Sasquatch without Visqueen. Last year, technically they didn’t play but lead singer Rachel Flotard sang with Neko Case so that counts. This year we noticed that Visqueen has three new things and one old one. First off there’s a new band member! Lead guitar player Tom Cummings is a “giant heart with a guitar attached to it” according to Flotard. My daughter Jesse noticed that Flotard’s raggedly old guitar has been replaced with a shiny new Gibson. They also have new material! At Sasquatch Visqueen debuted some catchy new tunes. Barrett Jones, producer of their debut album, King Me, filled in playing bass and background vocals. This is a band that absolutely shines live. They appear to be having so much fun that you can’t help but be sucked into the power of their grunge-pop-punk music.

Apparently Flotard played a few songs with her fly down, which I didn’t notice at all until she zipped it back up and started (jokingly) berated the video guy for not telling her about it. Her guitar covered it the whole time so no cats were out of the bag so to speak. But she quipped, “It was almost the crying game over here!” After her performance Flotard whisked by and gave us a quick hug. I haven’t seen her (up close in person) two years! How time flies. I asked her when the new album was due out. She replied, “Who the hell knows!” and flashed her big Rachel smile and then dashed off to do the less glamorous grunt work side of being in a band. She’s so kick ass.

Sasghostlandobservatory 4:40 p.m.
My favorite new discovery this year was Ghostland Observatory from Austin Texas. The corral surrounding the Wookie stage area was the most packed I have ever seen it. People were hopping up and down and dancing to the electronic pitch-shifty high tempo music provided by “the wizard” who played keyboards and worked magic with various other types of electronic equipment. Lead singer and guitarist, Aaron Behrens sported two long black braids. He was like a Native American Freddy Mercury with loads of charismatic and ambiguous sexuality. It’s kind of rare these days to find a frontman with such compelling stage presence. His dance moves were also a sight to behold. There’s a YouTube video online already of their Sasquatch performance of “Sad Sad City” which only partially conveys the excitement of their set. 

6:10 p.m.
The Long Winters filled in for M.I.A. who was (ironically) missing in action. Long Winters lead singer John Roderick said something about customs not allowing M.I.A. into the country but I think he might have been joking. The sun was beginning its decent and bodies were strewn across the lawns around us in every direction. I can’t say much about the music because we mostly napped during their set.

7:35 p.m.
We were still lounging on the lawn near the main stage while Manu Chao and Radio Bemba Sound System had people all around us dancing. We were feeling the effects of too much of a good thing. People were bouncing around like they were in an aerobics class to this afro-Latin-reggae music. This is the type of music I always associate with summer festivals because it’s so dang happy and festive. This band took a wise tactic of periodically jumping into half time sending the dancers into a frenzy. It was like they knew that that level of high tempo dancing couldn’t be sustained for long periods of time. The siren sound served as the alarm informing people when to switch to high impact. Most if the lyrics weren’t in English but I did catch one thing he said in English, it was a political message. He said, “Fight terrorism with truth, education and work for everybody” and “no war, no war.”

Right after that I noticed people walking around selling T-shirts with anti-Bush messages on them. These vendors also had a blow up punching doll with Bush’s face on it which people were encouraged to slap as they passed by them on the aisle.

9:15 p.m.
By the time The Arcade Fire took the main stage we were recharged and ready to soak up the elated sounds of a band with the unfair advantage of having far more musicians on stage than most other bands. We watched as Régine Chassagne switched from lead vocals, to accordion, to drums and finally to keyboards all while singing supporting background vocals when front man Win Butler took over lead vocals. Songs “Leave the car running” and “Wake Up” were brilliant highlights. I love it when they all sing together.

11 p.m.
We were very grateful to Bjork for playing our favorite song “Earth Intruders” right at the start of her set when she arrived on the Sasquatch! Mainstage. This was the artist I was most looking forward to seeing yet we didn’t make it through the whole set. The desert cold had thoroughly soaked into our bones and rendered us useless. Physical pain in the rump was also admittedly a factor. We snuck out and averted traffic congestion both on foot and on the road. Last year we felt like slovenly marching ants making our way through the crammed pathways to the parking lot and it was unbearable. We thankfully had no such experience this year, though we paid a hefty price since we missed what was surely a magical climax of sound and lights at the finale. If any of you saw it, please comment and tell us about it. 

Over all, music is always magical at the Gorge, and that’s why it’s worth the price both physical and financial. You leave exhausted but fulfilled.

Stay tuned for Day two report coming soon … â€" Angela Jossy

Photography by Angela Jossy and Jessica Grant-Jossy


May 28, 2007 at 7:36pm

All we are saying…is give Brooke a chance…

Tacoma seems to often be that “also ran,” that “little sister,” that “gritty” individual.

Time for the also ran gritty little sister to band together to pop one of her own into the national limelight!

Actually, Brooke Bennett has done a reasonable job of boosting herself up into the limelight.  Working hard as a fashionista design diva via urbanXchange employment, she’s achieved a place in a Teen Vogue competition among two other stylist wanna-be gals, one of whom is beating her in votes (gasp!) though Brooke was in the lead only a couple of days ago.

We can’t let that happen.

Get your teenaged daughters, friends, nieces, and alter-egos to vote for Miss Brooke, and give that girl a place in the stylist spotlight: winner gets to go to New York to style a band for a photo shoot, and gain some valuable experience for future fashionista-ness.

Just go to www.teenvoguepromo.com. When you get to the page there is a slide show of the current promotions. When you get to "style that rocks" (the third one), then click on it, at which point you’ll be asked for your birth date which will take you to the page to vote. Click on Brooke, then look at the tabulated response, then get all the people you know to do the same! â€" Jessica Corey-Butler

Filed under: Tacoma,

May 29, 2007 at 8:22pm

Ticketmaster announces TicketExchange

Can't make The Police concert at KeyArena June 6 because you'll be perming your hair that night?   Ticketmaster introduces TicketExchange, a resale service provided available at: Chateau Ste. Michelle; Concerts at Marymoor; Qwest Field; The Showbox; Tacoma Dome; Tulalip Amphitheatre; WaMu Theater and select events at KeyArena.

Good luck with your hair, moron. â€" Brad Allen

Filed under: Concert Alert,

May 30, 2007 at 1:48am

Love Tacoma parties

There’s a specific, sweet conversation that I seem to be having over and over these days, and it never manages to bore me:

I LOVE Tacoma, and apparently you do, too.

I wind up with this topic week in and week out with every different kind of person imaginable.
Thousands of you love Tacoma for our arts and culture. Others appreciate T-Town because it’s like Seattle used to be before everyone moved there. Several of you are stoked on the rapid growth and development. Many of you know that rolling up your sleeves can really make a difference here. Of course, there are also a helluva lot of you who just love Tacoma’s dirty, gritty foundation. All of you love Tacoma because it’s where you find your Weekly Volcano.

But the point of the matter is that the majority of you are loving Tacoma independent of one another. What a shame.

I have great news, though: There’s a group that’s formed to unite you little T-Town hustlers.
Love Tacoma (that’s the name, and I doubt we’ll ever wear it out) is a group of volunteers who have come together to create fun social engagements in downtown Tacoma to unite 20-and-30-somethings.

The group formed as a result of a Creative Cities workshop where various community leaders converged to figure out how they could make Tacoma smooth enough to continue to attract and retain creative professionals like you and me.

Love Tacoma has now become an assemblage of smart, fun people from various organizations such as Tacoma School of the Arts, BCRA, the City of Tacoma, and The Emergency Food Network. They also partner with groups such as United Way’s Project: U, and the Young Professionals Network of Tacoma-Pierce County.

They know that the fusion between good times, meeting good people and Tacoma’s backdrop of endless, amazing amenities will continue to compel you to live, work, play and stay here.
Now as for social engagements, you can bet they’ll be cool, because I’m so very honored to tell you that Love Tacoma has asked me to develop the list of things that we’ll be up to. Yahoo!

So bust out your planners and Blackberries and mark dem calendars:

The first-ever Love Tacoma event will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on June 12 at the Pacific Grill. We’ll slide in to mingle jingle and experience a signature Love Tacoma cocktail that the PG has been kind enough to create for us. The PG has also extended their happy hour until 7 p.m. for those killer $5 treats. They just might have some other tricks up their sleeve that you’ll have to show up to experience. Sweet!

Trust me: The PG loves Tacoma just as much as we do, and they love you, too.

The best part about Love Tacoma is that everyone is invited to these parties â€" EVERYONE

With that, your involvement in Love Tacoma is mandatory and it’s simple: Just show up on June 12 and let’s party on down.

Loving Tacoma never felt so good.

Go to www.creativetacoma.com or www.lovetacoma.com for more information. â€" Natasha

Filed under: Natasha, Tacoma,

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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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