I recently read this and decided I should do my own Pitchfork preview. It’s three days of indie rock in a park in Chicago not called “Lollapalooza”1. I originally bought a pass to insure at least one Pavement reunion show this year2 and thought it would be nice to take in the whole weekend while I’m there.
Honestly, I’ve never been to anything like this, so it’ll be new to me. I’m not sure what to expect. My biggest goal is to not land on Look at this Fucking Hipster or Hipster Runoff as the novel aging hipster. Luckily, my aesthetic (mid-nineties indie geek) is not highly photographic at the moment. So, that means I won’t be flaunting my vintage Pavement, Modest Mouse, and Jon Spencer t-shirts next weekend3.
Below are the ten must-see bands (for me) at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. I am purposely not including Wolf Parade, Broken Social Scene, Modest Mouse, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Pavement since these bands are no-brainers for me4. I didn’t include St. Vincent and Girls as I have seen those acts before and were mildly impressed at best. I’m also not mentioning anything remotely connected to Chillwave as I still believe it to be a made-up genre, one I don’t have time to explore5. Anyway, on with the list…
Liars – The darkest, most sinister album I’ve heard this year has been Sisterworld. I want to see how this record translates live. The only problem is that it will happen outside at 5:30 in the middle of July. That isn’t a very dark or sinister time of day. Hopefully, Liars will wear suits and sweat through the agony.
The Tallest Man on Earth – I might actually miss this one. Amtrak will get me there – assuming they’re on time – at 3:10. That will leave me 50 minutes to check into my hotel and make it to Union Park. It’s possible if I opt for cabs. Either way, TTMOE’s album, The Wild Hunt, is one of my favorite discoveries this year. That and I’ve always wanted to see Bob Dylan live, in his prime.
Titus Andronicus – These guys have to put on an amazing live show. I don’t think it’s possible to record the albums they’ve put out over the last year or two without being complete maniacs on stage. This should be a balls-to-the-walls highlight for sure.
Kurt Vile – I don’t really know Vile very well. What I do know is that critics love him and some folks I respect think he’s pretty great. His latest EP just arrived today. I’m looking forward to getting to know Kurt Vile. This set will be my introduction.
Netherfriends – This is a shameless plug. These Chicagoans record for Emergency Umbrella, a local label run by friends of the Coalition. So, I feel I have to mention them. Of course, they’re pretty dynamic live. I’ll be interested to see how this set compares to the last time I saw them a year ago6.
Beach House – I liked Beach House’s first record. The second is getting rave reviews. I have yet to buy it. I want this duo to sell it to me via a moving performance at 3:20 on Sunday afternoon7.
Surfer Blood – Some days I like this band’s record. Some days I don’t. Regardless of the uneven character of the recording, something tells me they put on a great live show. I suspect I’ll get the record once I see them on stage.
Lightning Bolt – Here’s a band whose recordings don’t interest me enough to buy them. What I want to see is this.
Here We Go Magic – Another album that just arrived today is their Pigeons. I know very little about this band. A friend or two suggested them and they’re on Secretly Canadian. All that and I like their name.
Local Natives – They’re coming to town this fall, but I’ll get a preview at P4k. They have a ton of buzz and I’m interested to see what all the fuss is about.
Bonus: Comedians – Eugene Mirman, Michael Showalter, Wyatt Cenac8, and Hannibal Buress are occupying a stage Friday night. If I’m not into some of the bands, I can turn to the comedy stage for an alternative. This lineup is as good as it gets in the alternative comedy scene9.
There’s the list. Peruse the lineup and tell me who I’m missing. My projected agenda is below. I hope there’s time to eat and check out some of the merch. It looks like Saturday will be the early night as I plan to hit a bar or two.
Friday – The Tallest Man on Earth, Liars, Wyatt Cenac, Broken Social Scene, Eugene Mirman10, and Modest Mouse
Saturday – Netherfriends, Real Estate/Sonny & the Sunsets11, Kurt Vile, Titus Andronicus, Raekwon12, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and Wolf Parade13
Sunday14 – Cave, Best Coast, Girls, Beach House/Local Natives, Lightning Bolt, Surfer Blood, St. Vincent, Here We Go Magic, and Pavement
1I did Lollapalooza from ’93-’95. I got to see grunge’s last stand, Bob Pollard forget lyrics to his own song, and Pavement virtually destroy the traveling altfest. I’ve had my fill. Thank you very much.
2I have another in September and am working on one for October.
3Oh, I’ll wear them, but I just won’t flaunt them.
4I’ve seen them all except Wolf Parade who I missed due to parental and spousal duties.
5Meaning that I’ll wait for the truly good acts in the genre to survive and all the posers to quit playing instruments. The remains of a dead genre are usually the only worthwhile material. See Dinosaur Jr, Nirvana, and Kimya Dawson.
6It was a good but somewhat uneven set.
7Where the Liars’ slot feels so wrong, this one seems just right. Dreamy indie pop on a Sunday afternoon? Yes, please.
8Yes, the bearded black dude from The Daily Show.
9Unless you prefer Zach Galifianakis, David Cross, or Neil Hamburger.
10Assuming BSS don’t go long. Ha! Who am I kidding?
11Bands divided by a “/” mean that I will either split time or pick the one that impresses me more.
12I am not much of a hip-hop guy, but I sort of want to see a member of the Wu Tang Clan.
13If you check the actual lineup for Saturday, this indicates I will skip Panda Bear and LCD Soundsystem. Neither excites me. LCD downright annoyed me when I saw them open for Arcade Fire. I figure why push it at a time I might be tired of bands. This will be my opportunity to get a beer.
14This day is ridiculously crowded and will mean ten minutes here, ten minutes there, but it will all culminate in my first Pavement show in over a decade.