This past Saturday, my friend Eric and I attended our sixth annual Pitchfork Music Festival. As with each previous year, we only went to a single day of the three-day festival.
We opted for Saturday. Why? Well, initially we were gung-ho about Friday and the opportunity to see Beck live. Both of us are fans and neither of us have ever seen him.
Then it was announced that TuNe-YaRdS and St. Vincent would be playing Saturday. The double whammy of those two performers made us forget all about Beck. And, even though I heard Beck's show was amazing and Neneh Cherry was a late sign-on for Friday, I do not regret this decision.
We got there a little more than an hour late due to ridiculous levels of traffic on 290E heading into the city. We've never had a problem like this before. It's never clear, but it's also never a standstill. So we took backstreets and got there a little after 2 p.m. We listened to some of the bands in the background while we got a free lunch from Chipotle and shopped in Flatstock and the CHIRP tents.
Then, at a little after 3 p.m., we hightailed it to the red stage for our first must-see band... Cloud Nothings. You may recall that I saw them at Pitchfork in 2012 and LOVED THEM, despite their set being cut short by torrential downpours. Well, they tore it up again this year and for a full set uninterrupted by any weather calamities.
Oh how I love Cloud Nothings.
We went and did a bit more shopping at Flatstock and the CHIRP tents but only long enough to make sure we got back in time for the next act. It turns out that the red stage became our musical rendezvous point for most of the night. Our next two acts played there as well.
The next one was TuNe-YaRdS at 5:15 p.m. Merrill Garbus and the band just rocked out with their eclectic brand of music and the crowd was totally into it. For a band as relatively unknown as they are, the fanbase was huge.
They played for a little more than an hour after which Eric and I moved a bit forward and then planted our butts on the ground for the next show.
That was my girl Annie Clark, AKA St. Vincent, at 7:25. I've been a fan of St. Vincent for several years. Almost since the moment she released her first solo CD. And, while I loved her music, I had no idea how much she rocked. Wait, "rocked" is a bit tame... this girl was shredding it on electric guitar in a way I never experienced with her studio recordings. And she was out there in a black leather minidress and high heels and doing this odd little scuttle walk like some bad Kabuki mimic.
I loved it. I want to see her live again. I'll pay gladly to do so. Seriously, Annie. Take my money! Just come back and play locally again once the Pitchfork proximity clause expires.
The night's closer was the re-formed Neutral Milk Hotel. I was never a fan of them during their heyday in the 1990s (sorry, April Ludgate) and I still didn't care all that much now after listening to some of their studio albums recently. Eric did want to watch, though. So he stuck around the green stage and I wandered some more.
Some food, beer, and video games later (yes, the Jim Beam tent had full size classic arcade games and pinball machines -- I played some pinball as well as some Donkey Kong and Asteroids) I heard NMH wrap up their set about 20 minutes early.
That's really strange to me as most closers are complaining that they have to end at 10 p.m. due to neighborhood noise ordinances and here's a band that ended at least 5-6 songs shy of when they would have to. Weird. Well, no skin off my back.
Eric and I found each other and he bought some food and we left.
For the three acts I was there to see, I rate them:
- Cloud Nothings - A+
- TuNe-YaRdS - A
- St. Vincent - A+(+++++++)
All in all, another good Pitchfork evening. I can't wait until next year.