Pitchfork Music Festival: Day the Second

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Jul 22 2008, 1h00

Originally posted at http://www.ninetyninetyfour.org

Fri 18 Jul – Pitchfork Music Festival 2008

I left you, the reader, with the woeful tale of my run in with S3 Security last I posted. Upon that notion I made my way to the second day of Pitchfork with but a plastic camera.

I arrived on the scene as the rain was dying down the masses with their various methods of impermiableness. Like cattle waiting to get in the pen people stood in line in a spectrum of wetness. The girl in front of me had ridden her bike there and wiped out, her entire back covered in mud and gravel from the street.

Upon entrance into the softball fields Caribou had just started his/their set. I listened passively as his type of music seems suited for more intimate and dark venues than for 2 p.m. on a humid summer day. I wandered around a bit and grabbed some food at one of the many delicious vendor tents. I got the pulled pork sandwich from Wishbone and it was delicious, just the right amount of bbq sauce. The side of coleslaw was refreshing and not too creamy, just how I like it. I washed it all down with a watermelon lemonade which was really quite satisfying. I then made my way over to the stage to see Fleet Foxes play.

Fleet Foxes opened their set with "Sun Giant" off their Sun Giant EP. Fleet Foxes gift of harmonization translates really well live as displayed with "Drops In The River" with Skyler Skjelset bowed his guitar strings and drummer J. Tillman crashed cymbals at precisely intense moments. Personal favorites "White Winter Hymnal" and "Blue Ridge Mountains" were also amongst the songs played. Robin Pecknold, wearing the same outfit he was donning Thursday night at the Pitchfork Preview/Music without Borders show at Pritzker Pavillion. He sat upon his chair center stage calmly and belted out song after song in spite of some minor technical glitches here and there. If memory serves me correctly they closed the set out with "Oliver James."

I stumbled to the Balance Stage area soon for a beverage and to see what the set up was like back there. This was by far my favorite stage as the area was a bit smaller and canopied by trees. Unfortunately for me Fuck Buttons were playing and while I tend to have an open mind about things, this band really didn't do it for me. First of all, their name. Secondly, this is a band that if I were six or eight years younger I might find interesting but right now this kind of music just isn't my thing.

So I took a short walk and lingered in the shade to hear from afar Dizzee Rascal, who is, in a word, raw. It's true that through his thick English accent and cockney slang you couldn't make a word of what he was saying but he was saying it right and to some seriously sick beats. At one point I made some sort of joke that all legitimate rap acts have to do three things during their performance. 1) Ask the audience to remind them what their name is 2) Remind the audience where they're at and 3) Remind the audience of the year we're living in. Dizzee Rascal did all of those things and then some.

It was at this point in time that super hype band Vampire Weekend took the opposite stage and started off their set. Rather than subject myself to the droves of people who were quite visibly there for that band and that band alone I stayed in the shade and drank some Goose Island IPA from a completely biodegradable cup (as we were reminded of before nearly every act) and ate some of The Abbey Pub's delectable curry fries. It was at this time that some concert-goers decided it would be brilliant to make use of all that mud and danced and rolled around in it resulting in the production of mud people. One of my friends described this band as "Paul Simon's Graceland" and that couldn't be more accurate. Except none of them are Paul Simon.


I had seen !!! last year at Lollapalooza and was flabbergasted at Nic Offer's one of a kind dance moves. In fact he came down off the stage and sang, danced and duel cow belled with the fans in wheelchairs. Nic Offer, Shannon Funchess and company brought that same brand of energy with them to Union Park kicking off the jams with "Yadnus." The crowd reciprocated with dancing and outstretched arms. I stayed for most of their set, in which they stuck with songs off last year's Myth Takes and tried out some new-not-yet-released songs.

I headed to the back to check out a song or two of Extra Golden's set. The crowd back there was small and pretty tame. I moved into the center about ten feet from the stage very easily. I caught half of one song and then stayed for all of their song "Obama" off their album Hera Ma Nono, which was of course an automatic hit with the crowd. Extra Golden is a really good summer-time outdoor band. The crowd danced and seemed to enjoy it.

Met up with some friends in between the A and C stages so we could watch The Hold Steady while I was close enough to get a good spot to see Jarvis Cocker. The Hold Steady are a band I've seen on several occasions and they put on the same show every single time. The crowd absolutely loved this band and let them know that by pumping fists into the air and throwing a Twins visor onto the stage for Craig Finn, who is easily the most excitable front man in rock music as he looks like he sincerely and absolutely loves what he's doing at every given moment. The crowd along the other stage quickly engulfed me and I was only fifteen feet away from where Jarvis Cocker would be performing.

The sun was beginning to set when the former front man for Pulp took the stage. He was dressed to a t, as they say, and swayed his hips in such a way that girls swooned over him. At points he was receiving screams reminiscent of those Elvis received way back when. Jarvis enlightened the audience with facts about Chicago on topics such as the Blues and famous denizens of which he admitted researching on Wikipedia. He told the audience of when he had gone to John Peel's funeral how he had read a letter he [Peel] wrote detailing his first sexual experience and how his one word of advice was that "Girls Like it To" which lead to him playing a song by the same title. He vocalized to the audience that it's our year to make change and went on to sing "Running the Country" in which he says "cunts are running the country." Jarvis is an excellent entertainer and put on one of my favorite sets of the day.

Shortly after the end of his performance headliner's Animal Collective took the stage. I am only vaguely familiar with Animal Collective and if I were under the influence of some sort of hallucinogenic drugs I probably would have vibed much better with this music. While the atmosphere was essentially perfect for it, darkness had just begun and the stage in the foreground of Chicago's skyline (the Sears Tower peaked above the stage), I just wasn't feeling it. The light show and the music were good but I had gotten to the point where I was so exhausted that I decided to leave.

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