Ok, so the subject link has absolutely nothing to do with the Pitchfork Music Festival, but holy crap! Mad collaboration. Atlas Sound/Panda Bear. I dig it, and am not surprised at all. Beautiful. Go listen.
I bailed on Pitchfork’s Friday night performances (seen Yo La Tango too many times, Tortoise I’ll see at the Bottle someday, Built to Spill has never enraptured me, and I am unfamiliar with The Jesus Lizard), however, Saturday and Sunday splashed Chicago’s Union Park with the traditional indie-pop, garage rock, hipster flock, hip-hop, and astoundingly talented closers, as always. 2008 Animal Collective stole my heart, 2009 Flaming Lips hit the stage just as the sky turned violet and the green burst from the trees.
Old church steeples and broken roof slates to the West, the Sears tower (with whatever dignity it has left) to the East, the Green Line to the North (rumbling behind Connector), and the city’s industrial South surrounds the small park off Ashland Avenue.
Disappears vanished on me for the second time this year on Saturday, as I arrived 30 seconds after their final song, definitely placing an annoying lull to the beginning of my day. Fucked Up’s hardcore came to my rescue, caressing anger, guitar screams necessary for a pissed off start, soon followed by the soft vocals and violin of Final Fantasy. Yeasayer’s rain soaked dance party opened my chest in late afternoon, refreshing the staggering agitation in the air: “I like this, though I have no idea where they are going with it,” is an accurate sentiment.
Doom offered much needed hip-hop beats, though somehow my heart was never quite into it. Squished in the mob by the tree at the Balance stage offered no view of the pop-punk duo Matt & Kim, but their positive optimism held strong until I was just able to see them by the time Daylight ended. The National enveloped my evening, and as much as they get slack, I enjoy their ethereal rock ballads – lullabies for the night time, daydreams for the soul.
When I locked up my bike at the South end of Union Park on Sunday, I couldn’t help but settle into the fence behind the Balance stage, sucked into Michael Columbia, an unexpected electronic exhilaration. If I had known, I might have arrived a little earlier in the day. I’m sad to have missed the memorial at Dianogah, opting for Frightened Rabbit, Chicago-loved Scottish rock band, instead. I’d had my heart set on some bad boys from Scotland since the morning, scratchy as Hutchison’s voice was during the set.
The afternoon was awash with no direction, so I opted for the art tent and record fair, favorites include: Clothespin, Soapbox Soaps, Circa Ceramics, CHIRP, 826CHI, Threadless, and the Active Transportation Alliance. I sat down for the end set of DJ/Rupture, but missed out on the dance party. Next I hit the power punk three-chord jumps of The Thermals, though I’d had enough of them by the time they busted out their Nirvana and Green Day covers. Sorry 1994.
Rainbow slicks in a mud puddle, The Walkmen pitter-pattered our hearts as Katie and I fell closer and closer to the stage. Though I somehow missed their earlier debuts, In The New Year’s “And my heart’s in the strangest place/And that’s how it started,” or even better, “Oh I’m just like you/I’ll never hear the bad news,” are two of the best verses I have ever heard, and Leithauser’s vocal delivery only adds to their profundity. M83 followed up with a good dance mix, however cut short due to my interest in the all woman punk/grunge trio, The Vivian Girls. It was good to see Ali Koehler rocking out on the drums, and simple, solid guitar, drum, bass riffs sail through the collective vocals of Cassie Ramone and Kickball Katy (that just sounds hot). Grizzly Bear neglect on my part early in their open soon led me to the trance understanding of why I napped to them last year, and why I followed my feet amicability this year – solid, seductive sound.
Finally the night turned to a surprising close as I was reluctant to stay for the Flaming Lips set, then enamored by their playfully ridiculous performance. You can’t beat three dozen giant balloons and cannons of confetti amidst a colorful backdrop, Wayne’s megalomania aside. I have also never seen them perform a disappointing show, so when song 25 on the request list was announced and I heard the beginning of Bad Days, my Pitchfork Festival $65 investment became immediately and undeniably worth it.
Eric and I settled on a 9:30 departure and headed toward the B stage to give a quick shout out to The Very Best, then fell into one of the most beautiful, unexpected moments of the entire weekend. For the first time since his death, I celebrated Michael Jackson’s contribution to music history. In memory of the late singer/songwriter, The Very Best sampled “Will You Be There,” pressing through the speakers and into our feet. We danced and pedaled to our bicycles, closing the 2009 Pitchfork gate behind us, reminding us –