Pitchfork 2012 – Five Observations

Japandroids Rocked Pitchfork

Along with Lollapalooza, Pitchfork is one of the biggest perks about living in Chicago. When most people look at the lineup they have never heard of the majority of the bands. But this festival is a great way to learn about new music. Let me introduce you to the greatest bands of the festival and break down the biggest misses.

1. Japandroids have the best rock drummer I have seen in years

Dare I say it, but David Prowse is the best rock drummer since Dave Grohl when he was in Nirvana. He plays the drums unapologetically loud with a sound that hits you like an uppercut to the face. Pain never felt so good.

Their second album Celebration Rock crackles with sexy and unabashed noise – a deluge of distorted guitars and rapid-fire drumming. It is the album of the summer and maybe the year and it sounds so thick live that you can’t believe a noise this huge emanates from only two people and no bass. Awesome. 

2. Women Rock!

I was absolutely blown away by Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells. Singer Alexis Krauss looks and sounds like a Joan Jett for our generation. She howls like hell while Derek Edward Miller wails on his guitar, and a drum machine keeps the beat underneath. The band takes the prize for most fun set of the entire weekend.

Wild Flag – a band led by former Sleater Kinney frontwoman Carrie Brownstein – opened their set with a cover of Television’s “See No Evil.” It was completely refreshing to hear that classic 1977 song sung by a woman. Wild Flag’s high-energy, girl-power set was one of the highlights of the weekend.

Also notable: the female-fronted Cults.

3. Forget Beach House and Hot Chip

Pitchfork can be very hit or miss. Some of the music is extremely pretentious. I’m not gonna like a band because everyone says they are fantastic.

Don’t believe the hype on these two bands. Either you got it or you don’t, and these guys don’t got it. Yawn.

4. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – What Were They Thinking?

Who’s curating this thing? Abstract, strange, monotone, challenging music performed outside. It echoed throughout Union Park, going nowhere. Kill me. Now.

5. Sunday Sucked

Ty Segall – boring. Beach House – blah. Chavez – eh. AraabMuzik – intriguing.

One-man-band Abraham Orellana aka AraabMuzik blanketed the park with a flurry of drum machines and hip-hop-inspired samples. It got the crowd moving and it was the first time I actually tapped my foot all day. And he went on at 6:15 so that’s saying a lot. 

The other band that saved the day was Vampire Weekend. The Manhattan-based, African-influenced band has developed quite the catalog of hits that were a breath of fresh air on a day dominated by mind-numbing and dull music. Next up: Lollapalooza. 

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2 Responses

  1. Metin says:

    I’d also add galoshes or some type of water retsisant shoe to the list! Personally, I wouldn’t want to wear flip-flops at an outdoor festival because your feet would get so dirty. The big festival I go to every year here, Voodoo Experience, is Halloween weekend and last year it rained hard the first day so the grounds were very muddy the entire time. I’m SO glad I had a pair of rain boots!

  2. A big thank you for your post.Thanks Again. Want more

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