By Dan Morgridge
Pitchfork Music Festival
Union Park, July 13-15th
Friday 3:30PM – 9:30PM
Having been running music festivals since 2005 (R.I.P. Intonation Festival!), Pitchfork is a saavy crew of promoters at this point. No longer the minor league for Lolla, the fests now regularly trade headliners (Hot Chip and Feist have both played Lolla previously; Vampire Weekend are pulling off the rare Pitchfork-Lolla-Pitchfork appearance) and the audience might be less 20-something face-painted scenesters and more 30-year-olds with blankets. But audience-schmaudience! Let’s talk about the entertainment.
Always something of a curiosity, Fridays used to be Pitchfork’s day for experimenting. Full-album performances from classic bands? Cool! Comedy stages? I’ll give it a shot. Just another day of music? Heck, we’ll take that too. This year the lovely Leslie Feist brings her Canadian charm back from it’s tour of quirky commercials and Sesame Street appearances, hopefully to friendly audiences. Elephant 6 legends Olivia Tremor Control should keep the art-house kids happy, along with the warbly and wonderful Dirty Projectors, a concept band about the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense (mostly kidding). And Japandroids continue their total dominance of all cheery power chords. But the trio of most note for the night might have to be the rap contingent; rising star A$AP Rocky, wunderkind producer Clams Casino, and the southern-trunk rattle of Big K.R.I.T. are basically the Miami Heat of rap trios you could see at a Fest this summer.
And now witness the power of this fully armed and operational music festival! In case you had any hangover to sweat out, Brooklyn’s Liturgy should have you headbanging in no time. Youth Lagoon’s hazy pop is almost as haunting, innocent and mellow as Cults – but holy childlike falsettos, are those kids mellow and innocent and haunting. The girls of Wild Flag are the most kickass supergroup of gals your money can buy – but Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells definitely wants a shot at the title. After the full-out dance party of Hot Chip and Chromatics sets up the finale, fest-goers have very divergent options. Danny Brown’s Detroit hipster rap makes Andre 3000 look safe. The baby-doll voice of Grimes makes quite an impression against her lo-fi techno beats. And uber-reclusive Godspeed You! Black Emperor should be the most intriguing prospect of all – their mix of Morricone film scores, found audio of preachers and madmen, and swooping orchestral flourishes will either be completely out of place, or hypnotize the crowd.
We’re sure you’re running on fumes at this point, but wrap up brunch early enough to check out the New Zealand via Portland via 70’s psychedelia for kids beauty of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. San Fran’s Thee Oh Sees should be the perfect show for a crowded sunday afternoon mob, whereas the sunny sounds of Real Estate should get everyone rocking some wistful heavy head-nodding. If you need a musical break, the CHIRP Record Fair should provide you with enough vinyl-browsing opportunities to last the entire weekend – indie collectors, distributors, and labels of all shapes and sizes will be offering their wares. The young British baritone of King Krule and the hypnotic Nico-esque cries of Beach House should be a fine build-up to The Field’s looping, stripped-bare-sample techno – a blissed-out and mesmerizing end to the weekend. Of course, you could also stay for Vampire Weekend, but that’s your call.
Ed. Note: Book Fort
If at any point you get tired of the bellowing of sentimental or nonsensical lyrics, you can always go by the Flatstock poster fair and check out the Book Fort. Led by featherproof books, curated by Zach Dodson and Mairead Case, and sponsored by Poetry Magazine, you can meet up with the raddest indie publishers around, or even see some of your favorite (or soon to be favorite) authors read. See the full list of publishers and authors attending on the facebook invite.
Dan Morgridge is a total jerk about music from Ukrainian Village.