INSIDE MAN: PITCHFORK FESTIVAL 2010
(This week, a SharkDolphin operative has been dispatched to observe and report on the 2010 Pitchfork Music Festival. These are their stories.)
Okay, guys, here’s my Sunday wrap up (ONLY 5 DAYS LATE BECAUSE I AM A SERIOUS INTERNET WRITER). There’s a lot to get through because Sunday was filled with good shows. It really kicked Friday and Saturday’s butts. Yep.
The Rundown: I chose to see these guys mainly so that I could get front row for Best Coast. I expected a fairly forgettable rock show, but these guys definitely surprised me. They psych-rock heavy on both the psych and the rock, if that makes any sense at all to you. (It makes no sense to me.)
The X-Factor: Hair. These bros had a lot of it.
The Verdict: Cool show, dudes!
The Rundown: Bethany Cosentino, you guys. Seriously. She’s so goddamn awesome. In addition to cranking out the best 1960s songs never written at an alarming rate, she also sounds excellent live. (I know. I saw the live recording of “All Summer” too. I don’t know what to tell you. She was approximately a billion times better when I saw her on Sunday.) But what really amazed me about this show was her stage presence. She’s engaging, funny, and effortlessly cool.
The X-Factor: Snacks. Could it be anything else? “I wish Snacks could talk” got the biggest cheer of the set.
The Verdict: I had high expectations, and they met them all.
The Rundown: This show was completely different from how I imagined it would be. I’m not sure what I expected exactly, but Christopher Owens making jokes about how they “don’t do Iggy Pop covers” was definitely not involved. They ended “Hellhole Ratrace” by plunging the song into a dense wall of noise only to have “Morning Light” emerge from the other side. It was awesome. And they ended with “Big Bad Mean Motherfucker” (aka my favorite Girls song). Plus, JR was wearing a cool hat.
The X-Factor: Christopher Owens’ body. Some people have great guitar faces, he has a great guitar body. He did the Angus-Young-Riff-n-Skip. And he was dressed like your great uncle.
The Verdict: Surprising in a very excellent way.
The Rundown: I never really understood why people always referred to Beach House as “sex music” until halfway through this set. Suddenly, it just hit me. “Self,” I thought, “this really is sex music.” This may have been influence by the fact that I heard at least 6 people vocally express a desire to have sex with Victoria Legrand. Or that before one song Alex Scally said that “Anyone whose underwear isn’t wet after this song will have to leave.” So, in short, sex. They played mostly stuff from Teen Dream (the Katy Perry album) but made sure to through in some classics (“‘Gila!’” - Me)
The X-Factor: Victoria Legrand’s hair. I think it’s magic.
The Verdict: Good show! (Foreshadowing: Basically all the shows on Sunday were either very good or great.)
The Rundown: I was sitting in front of C Stage so that I could be close for St. Vincent, and Lightning Bolt was playing on A Stage. I could still hear them as though I was up close. It wasn’t quite as ear-mangling as their club shows are, but Lightning Bolt on a stage is still Lightning Bolt. The crowd also looked like it was have a lot of fun too. Again, why was Sunday so goddamn stacked?
The X-Factor: “Colossus” That song is my fuckin’ jam.
The Verdict: Looks fun, sounds loud.
The Rundown: Man, Annie Clark is just the best. Live, she’s the perfect embodiment of her musical aesthetic. By that, I mean that she is the personification of the sweet/abrasive sensibility that permeates her recordings as St. Vincent. She’s a cute, little human with Bambi eyes who plays her guitar in a distinctly violent manner. And when she blows “Your Lips Are Red” into a monstrous guitar-and-pedal noise jam, it’s simply breath-taking, especially when she peaks up from behind the monitors and stares around with those wonderfully giant eyes of hers.
The X-Factor: Her dress. It was orange. My college’s sports teams wear orange. St. Vincent? More like St. VOL-cent. (oof. Me, with the jokes…)
The Verdict: Great. Cool. Awesome. Rad.
The Rundown: Somehow, I managed to see another Neon Indian show in spite of the fact that I really don’t care for their music. But man, do entry-level alt kids love Neon Indian. This show was packed with high-schoolers at their first festival, ready to dance and jump and sing along. Really, man, these kids were so damn excited for some Neon Indian.
The X-Factor: The Theremin. It’s always cool when somebody plays a theremin.
The Verdict: I don’t care for it but the kids seem to love. (Also, get off my lawn.)
The Rundown: When I saw them in Knoxville in March there were four people in the crowd who were excited to see them. (The rest were embarrassing RAVR kids, who had their pacifiers ready and were so stoked to Rusko make dubsteps.) As a result, I received a lot of Alexis Krauss love. It was wonderful. I mention this not to brag (okay, partially to brag) but so that I can note how far they’ve come in so little time. The entire front section was a fucking war zone. I thought that it was intense, and I was in the front row for MIA’s set at Bonnaroo in 2008. At one point I lifted my feet off the ground and I was held aloft purely by the bodies pressing against me. Madness. Basically, Derek and Alexis tore the house down.
The X-Factor: “Holly” They played “Holly.” What?
The Verdict: Massive, scary, and fun.
The Rundown: Seriously, these guys have been broken-up for a decade? Then why do they seem so natural on stage, and sound so good? Good grief. How do you even assess watching a Pavement reunion? I’m going to steal a line from Chuck Klosterman’s review of Chinese Democracy and say that it’s like trying to review a unicorn. Do you compare it to a horse? A rhinoceros? A dragon? It’s something that was never going to happen, and yet, it did. And it was great. It was so damn great.
The X-Factor: Bob Nastanovich’s mini vuvuzela. After he blew it, he said, “Diego Forlan just scored again!”
The Verdict: PAAAVVVEEEMEEEEENNTTT!!!! (Seriously, you guys, go see them.)
PS: I also saw High Places live in Chicago because I was walking through Millenium Park with my sister and I stumbled upon them playing a free show in an amphitheater. Fuck you, big cities. Fuck you and all your goddamn cultural events.