The Pitchfork Festival in Chicago was just about everything I would have expected – sweaty hipsters, too cool for school music snobs, shoegazers, and yes, really great f’ing music. I made it to just about everyone I wanted to see (Lotus Plaza, Youth Lagoon, Hot Chip, Dirty Projectors, Real Estate) and also some unexpected surprises. There were also a couple of disappointments. The Chromatics set was a failure in my opinion because they were suppose to go on at 6:45 but 30 minutes later and they were still playing around with their instruments soundchecking. Outdoor festivals are always tough for bands when it comes to sound and most deal with it and battle through the struggles that all bands experience. But for some reason Chromatics didn’t get this memo and instead would not start until perfection. That turned me off and we made our way over to the Hot Chip set that was about to start. But this brings us to my second disappointment.
I’m a big fan of Hot Chip, and still are, however, this set was one of their weaker sets I’ve seen them play since I first saw them back in 2006. It’s not to say that it was completely unexpected as I’m not the biggest fan of their latest album, In Our Heads, but I still had high hopes given all the amazing experiences I’ve had at shows past. Their new sound is a bit too clubby and while Hot Chip has always had the house music influences, here they’ve taken it to another level and have also reworked old classics such as “A Boy From School” and “Over and Over” and added extra club spice. This, of course, still gets the kids dancing and that is what it’s all about when going to see live music so I have to give them props for evoking the energy among most of the crowd. It just didn’t hit me the right way but hey, that’s just me.
I won’t harp on about how I enjoyed the rest of the acts that I had planned to see such as Real Estate or Lotus Plaza but I will take a moment to talk about how amazing Youth Lagoon are live. While I definitely enjoy their album, The Year of Hibernation, even though it has found the back of the rotation as of late, their live presence is very engaging. I was bummed to have missed them when they played the super low key venue in Cambridge, TT The Bear’s Place, and this show made me even more regretful.
On a side note, given the heat and obvious drugs that kids were taking over the weekend there were several folks passing out. Bradford Cox from Atlas Sound even dished out some advice to those in need during his set suggesting not to give someone in such a situation cold water and instead give them Luke warm water. Towards the end of Youth Lagoon’s set there happened to be such a scenario walking out of the front of the stage and directly at me and in a matter of seconds she passed out right on to me and it was caught on camera and put up on Youtube. I’m the one with the camera trying to juggle her dead weight.
Watch them play “Cannons” off The Year of Hibernation
Finally, out of the bands that I wasn’t planning to see that I would recommend checking out are The Olivia Tremor Control. We also got to crash their band room back stage while rain fell from the sky in buckets and lighting was on the horizon. Nice group of guys and I love their sixty’s throwback attitude and playing style. I also enjoyed Purity Rings set on Friday night (picture at top of post taken during this set). A fun electronic duo that gets your feet moving.
Check out some of my favorite pics