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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pitchfork Fest '07, Sunday 7/15

Sunday 7/15

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Menomena "Wet And Rusting"

The final day of Pitchfork launched with another band I had high expectations from, Deerhunter. Frontman Bradford Cox came out in a shiny neglige looking number, which he ended up stripping off during the course of the set while lurching through songs from the band's LP Cryptograms. It was a solid performance from the band, albeit saddled with the same sound problems that every other artist dealt with over the weekend. I then watched one song by Chicago's own The Ponys and decided they weren't as good as I had hyped them up to be. Style seemed to take precedence over substance, which was of course eaten up by the thousands of hipsters in attendance. I opted over to the smaller stage to catch Brightblack Morning Light, a band I know little to nothing about. I was literally standing ten feet from the stage and I couldn't hear a god damn thing. I don't know how quiet this band is or if thy were just fucking with me, but this went on far longer than it needed to, pushing all the other artists on the small stage's start times back almost an hour.

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Menomena was a pleasant change from the day's earlier performances. They played solid pop gems and probably won over more than a few of the uninitiated at the festival. Nomo came on late thanks to stinky hippies Brightblack Morning Light but did not disappoint. Their grooving afro-beat was perfect for a sunny Sunday afternoon. It was at this point however, that my crowd claustrophobia started to really set in. It seemed no matter where I took refuge someone was two inches from my face, crossing over to the record tent or the poster fair or the main stages or whatever. I had leave Nomo's set prematurely and found a spot to the left of the Sea and Cake's stage that was by no means barren, but at lest I could sit in a fetal position and regroup.


I headed back to the small stage and watched all of Craig Taborn's Junk Magic. It was a painfully dull performance but for the first time in what seemed like days I could actually see and hear the perfomance. I opted to stay in my place and miss Jamie Lidell, who I know nothing about anyway. Stephen Malkmus took the stage solo to the dismay of many punters who were probably expecting the accompaniment of the Jicks, but he blew me away regardless. Malkmus performed several Pavement songs including "We Dance", "Trigger Cut", "Spit On A Stranger" and "In The Mouth A Desert". It made me realize how much I truly miss Pavement, one of my all time favorite bands. Bob "Nasty" Nastanovich joined Malkmus on a miniature drum kit for a few songs, and since I knew Mark Ibold was in attendance (playing with Sonic Youth), I pondered a possible Pavement reunion in the near future.



Once Malkmus finished his brilliant acoustic set, the stage was set for Of Montreal, the other band I was dying to see. My plan of getting close to the stage for this backfired, as thousands seemed to have descended on the stage several hours before the performance even began. Apparently Of Montreal has more fans than I thought, or perhaps these people know nothing about the group but had heard of the performance art spectacle the group integrates into their shows. They did not disappoint. Kicking off the party with standard opener "Suffer For Fashion", Kevin Barnes overcame sound problems while wearing his Alice In Wonderland tea party costume. He worked the stage like a young Bowie. It was here that I realized I had developed a slight crush on keyboardist Dottie Alexander. The fact that she appeared to be having such a good time made her ridiculously cute to me.

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Halfway through the set, Barnes left the stage and re-appeared in a Rocky Horror style bondage get up for "The Past Is A Grotesque Animal", to the delight of the crowd. He then introduced a song from their upcoming album, which he described as "a lot more sporty", donned a pair of shoulder pads and took a football snap from a gold Darth Vader, which he proceeded to hurl into the crowd. Barnes has a pretty good arm; the ball made its way all the way past the sound tent. I believe it was picked off by the Jonah Ray lookalike from the Twilight Sad however. So much for replacing Rex Grossman, Mr. Barnes.



At one point during Of Montreal's performance I overheard one sarcastic, too-cool-for this-galaxy hipster comment "I liked them better when they were called Os Mutantes". I wanted to turn around and tell this bust off to shut the fuck up, but I realized I was surrounded by his kind and I was in danger of drowning in a sea of pretentiousness. This and many dudes like him totally reminded me of the cynical generation x-ers in the "Homerpalooza" episode of The Simpsons: "Are you being sarcastic dude?" "*sigh* I don't even know anymore." After performing several crowd pleasing gems (people around me were dancing unironically, if you can believe that) like "Chrissie Kisses The Corpse" and "Bunny Ain't No Kind Of Rider" the whimsical art troupe came back out for an encore of the Kinks "All Day And All Of The Night". By this time Barnes had stripped down to what appeared to be only a jock strap, and the crowd ate it up of course. By far one of the most fun performances I've seen in a long while.




The New Pornographers took the next stage sans Neko Case nor Dan Bejar, but their muscular set reinforced their standing as a headline act. They looked and acted like they had been here before, churning out hit after alternate universe hit. I was distracted by a Filipino chap standing on front of me who had the nuttiest dance moves I have ever seen. He knew all the words, though. During all of the "superstars" performances on the main stages, I missed the likes of Cadence Weapon and Klaxons on the smaller stage. Artists I would have liked to have watched but had to miss. Klaxons seemed to be a heavy fan favorite at the fest, and they were playing on the small stage. It made me realize that the festival's planners may have made a misstep in putting them, Dan Deacon and Girl Talk on the stage with the most limited capacity, because they seemed like huge draws.

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De La Soul took the main stage for the final performance of the festival and did not disappoint. They ran through their stable of hits and pumped the crowd like the professionals they are. Prince Paul (!) made an appearance during the set and a rush went through the audience. These people all knew who De La were, and seeing the mastermind behind Three Feet High And Rising was like seeing the second coming. No one could resist dancing during De La Soul's funky beats and it left the festival on a high note.



All in all, the Pitchfork festival was fun. Will I go again? Probably not. I'm working on my own festival for next year. It's gonna be awesome. I'm going to have a screening process for tickets, though. The crowd will consist of all metal fans and hot chicks. No hipsters allowed. Not even hot hipster chicks. This will of course transpire once I have been crowned the new leader of Planet Earth. See you there (maybe)!

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