Saturday at Pitchfork would prove to be a sad day for people without umbrellas and galoshes. That there… that’s what they call foreshadowing in the business.
Gus and I ate a fine breakfast at the Longwell House. Neil makes some great food and Saturday morning was no exception. Mixed fruits, scrambled egg, bagel and coffee. A nice couple ate breakfast with us. Well, at least the husband was a kindred spirit. He’s an older architect that is way into sci-fi and whatnot. We don’t share the same politics though. Whatevs.
Anyway, Gus and I headed out on this fine drippy, humid summer morning. We made it to Union Park without any hassles. We arrived in time to catch Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar
Without further silliness… the bands of Pitchfork Saturday…
Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar: We set our chairs down to watch this brass band. What we heard for the first 10 minutes was band practice or sound check. At some point Gus and I joked that it would be awesome if their whole performance was just an extended sound check. While there, i caught a glimpse of one of Liz’s old roommates from Orlando. I didn’t bother getting up to say hello. I probably should have though. I guess I’m lazy. Finally, the band starts playing what sounds like Oompapa, Marching Band, Brass Craziness. So gus quips… “This is the music I hear in my head when I have sex!” ’nuff said.
Titus Andronicus: Didn’t get to hear the whole set because of rain, but what I heard wasn’t bad. Not exactly something I would go break down the doors at the local record shop for, but I liked it OK. Sloppy in parts, but in a good way. The lead singer had a very thick beard for such a small man. A couple of songs in it began to rain. We thought we were slick with our fold-up transformer camp chairs. Mother Nature taught us a lesson instead. If it looks rainy, get an umbrella, fool! In other news, an older chap had a fold-up chair as well, but his had the added feature of including a rain canopy of sorts. How cool is that?!?
Caribou: This guy came to Champaign-Urbana earlier this year, but I didn’t get to see him then, but I was intrigued by the music then… and watching it performed live was definitely a treat. Two drummers that layered each other well. Lots of interesting sounds all around. Very mellow. Something I need to find at my local independent music retailer.
Fleet Foxes: I didn’t get to watch this band, but I heard it from a distance as I bought food and drank beer. What’s a music festival without beer? Seriously though. The music sounded nice. I think it’s something Liz would like more than me. I can also see my buddy Jesse Dean digging these guys if the lyrics are good.
Fuck Buttons: I really liked these guys. Kinda drony elecronic stuff, but not annoyingly so. There is no crescendo with this type of music… it just continues on building wavelets that feel like they will break over the cliff, but never quite do. It’s the kind of music you can sleep to without much effort. In fact, Gus did just that. That’s not to say it’s boring though.
Dizzee Rascal: What can I say, this guy was a lot of fun. I had only really heard the one song from him before. I think overall he has a good rapid fire delivery. He doesn’t mumble… and the beats and samples were very good. He also doesn’t take himself too seriously which made his performance very fun to watch. Can anyone say running man?
Vampire Weekend: Here’s a band that I want to like, but I just can’t wrap my ears around their appeal. People keep telling me that they use these world music rhythms and sounds… but that’s not what I hear. I hear some minimal homage to world music and a lot of bad lyrics with goofy delivery. Don’t get me wrong, I have been a fan of goofy delivery and bad lyrics don’t often bother me… but for some reason Vampire Weekend’s version just doesn’t work for me. Hearing them live didn’t change my mind at all.
Elf Power: Boring
!!!: These guys are great performers. The entire band was having a blast up there and you could really tell. I felt that energy despite the fact that I was pretty far back from the stage. Overall, !!!’s music is hit and miss. However, the live performance overcame some of that. These guys know how to bring the party. I would definitely go see them again in a smaller venue.
Extra Golden: This is for all intents and purposes and Kenyan rock band. Kenyan vocal style and rhythms mixed with rock flavoring. The end result is excellent. If Vampire Weekend could imbue their music with this kind of energy maybe I would dig them. I’ll be keeping an eye out for this disc. I thoroughly enjoyed the performance.
Atlas Sound: Last year at Pitchfork the band Deerhunter played. Liz loved them. Atlas Sound is just the frontman from Deerhunter. I thought Deerhunter was OK, but this Atlas Sound stuff is excellent. Personally, it’s a must-buy if and when it is available. Cool soundscapes. Mellow with enjoyably surprising things mixed in.
No Age: Fast, loud and kick ass. Is there anything else to say? No, I didn’t think so. This isn’t the kind of stuff I run out and buy, but man is it refreshing on a hot, muggy, rainy summer day.
Animal Collective: I’ve never really heard any of their stuff before. These guys give good lightshow, good music and good performance. Gus was pretty excited to see these guys and I can see why. Great stuff which hits me right at the heart of my odd bleeps and bloops meter.
I missed out on Jarvis Cocker. I wish I had taken a moment to check him out. I also missed out on A Hawk and a Hacksaw which I think Liz would have really enjoyed. Oh well. Maybe these folks will be touring into Champaign-Urbana soon (NOT!).
After the show, Gus and I headed over to The Bottom Lounge (?). Gus’ friend Chris invited us there for a Pitchfork staff after party. I should note here that Gus knew a number of people at the festival. Chris is also a freelance writer and we hung out with him for a lot of the festival. Great guy.
Anyway, we headed over there. Chatted with Chris and some other Pitchfork writers. Ate some food. Drank some beer. Rode the L home late.
And it was around this time that I had a senior moment. We’re waiting for the Green line train to Oak Park. A train comes into the station and we board. About six stops later I realize that we’re on the Pink line. Gah! Poor Gus. I could tell he was ready to crash right then and there. We eventually made it home safe… though tired and wet from the rain.
All in all, day two of Pitchfork was great. Lots of good music. I felt that good kind of tired where you know you will sleep well. I should also note here that the beds at Longwell Hall were very comfy. They have a nice way of inducing sleep within mere moments of laying your head down on the pillow.