Stick a fork in me…
A Pitchfork, that is! This past weekend was the annual Pitchfork Music Festival, a two day event in Chicago’s Union Park showcasing some of the best in indie music snobbery—so of course I had to attend. 🙂
We were staying in Schaumburg, so we elected to take the Metra into downtown Chicago and then walk to the Green Line, which turned out to be a bit farther than any of us anticipated—and on top of the distance, it was HOT. Sweaty, humid, grimy and icky-sticky hot. I had anticipated the heat, but the humidity really knocked me for a loop (no pun intended) during that first afternoon. (Highlights after the cut.)
- Watching this cute little hippie eat ice cream like it was the absolute best thing in his life. Seriously, he was laughing and grinning. I had to take pictures.
- Band of Horses were as good as I imagined they would be… melodic, sot of sparse, incredibly catchy. They seemed awed to play in front of such a responsive crowd.
- Mountain Goats were incredible! What can be said about John Darnielle that hasn’t already been uttered a million times? I want to take him home with me and make him pen me pages and pages of lyrics.
- Destroyer was a bit disappointing. I wandered off before they played “Painter in Your Pocket”. They didn’t translate well to a big stage, in my opinion.
- Ted Leo and the Pharmacists was by far my favorite performance of the day. Take one part earnest
Americana rock, add a pinch of social consciousness, a thumping bass line and just a hint of Sleater-Kinney, and you’ve got this group. He was so into the performance that during his last song he hit his head on the microphone stand, creating a bloody smear, and KEPT GOING. God bless rock and roll.
- Eating the best vegan veggie wrap I’ve ever had. Hooray for alternative eating habits!
- Getting hit on by this hipster that was way too old for me, but it was a nice ego boost. Gotta love the 40 year old guy that can pull off a Cursive t-shirt and Vans.
- The Silver Jews were my sleeper surprise of the day—I had heard the newest album but their live performance was infinitely better. I think the huge crowd really buoyed them into having a good time onstange.
- Bonus happiness: Mountain Dew slurpee and brain freeze on the train ride back to the hotel.
- I’ve been dying to see Jens Lekman live ever since Bri introduced me to them back in February, and it was everything I was hoping for (although MUCH too short for my liking.) He played “Black Cab” and “You Are The Light”, and had an all-female, all-Swedish band with him. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.
- Getting into a squirt gun fight with some members of NOW
- Mission of Burma rocked me so hard my ears are still sort of ringing. Talk about one hell of a reunion! We squeezed up front and center, and I still can’t believe that I got to hear them do “Academy Fight Song” and “Revolver”. It was like a freaky high school time warp and I loved every minute of it.
- Yo La Tengo! Yo La Tengo! Yo La Tengo!
- Playing “what percentage” with the crowd, such as “what percentage is wearing flair at this moment?” “what percentage is wearing a t-shirt from threadless.com?” “what percentage is being “that guy” today?”
- Drinking Goose Island beer under a tree with a guy that flew from Oregon to catch Os Mutantes (which sadly, we missed because we had to drive home)
- Talking with Jay Ryan, the poster artist that does all of Andrew Bird and Martin Dosh’s promotional stuff—there’s nothing like an incredible artist that’s hot to boot. He runs The Bird Machine with Mat Daly (also talented and hot.) Notice a pattern?
- Talking to the Chi-town Sirens Rollergirls! They invited me to come up and practice with them sometime, which would have made my day, if not for:
- SPOON. This band has puttered and jammed and screeched its way into my indie-rock-snob heart, for sure.
So here I am, with a splitting headache and an industrial-sized container of coffee, with a sunburned nose, sated with enough indie rock to last until at least… Thursday, when I get to see Ryan Adams. I’m unstoppable.