Monday, July 31, 2006

Pitchfork, Day Two

I am sunburned (because sunscreen just melts off your face in 100 degree heat). My face is puffy. I am tired, probably slightly dehydrated, and I just realized during a meeting at work that my right ear is still ringing slightly.


But please remind me to pick up my earplugs from my apartment before Lolla next weekend.

Acts I completely missed: Liars (one of the few band I felt completely unrepentant about missing for a tamale run); Aesop Rock/Mr. Lif (waiting at the other stage for Mission of Burma); Devendra Banhart (waiting at other stage for Yo La Tengo); Spoon (waiting at other stage for Os Mutantes, drowned out by Diplo’s thumping bass).

Obligatory recommendation: Tapes ‘n’ Tapes were good! Scary promoter guy for Tapes ‘n’ Tapes threatened to kill my pet/harm my weakest family member if I didn’t say that. In a really scary way. Twice!

Swedish bragging: Somehow it was charming how Jens Lekman’s entire band was composed of attractive blondes dressed in white. It’s like Jens was saying, “You know, there are so many pretty women in Sweden that they have to do something else to get noticed. Some of them become talented musicians. There are so many that I can take six of them out of the country and it’s okay.”

Ongoing inquiry: What is the proper pronunciation of Jens Lekman’s first name?

The point at which all concepts of American vs. international and pop v. indie imploded: Sub Pop-signed Cansei Ser Sexy, who are from Sao Paulo and named themselves after a Beyonce quote, played in the Biz 3 tent. Before unleashing some noisy, noisy music on us, the lead singer yelled “Are you ready for this jelly?!” many times over.

Reason my ear are still ringing: Mission of Burma. So loud. So good. So very loud. Not that Yo La Tengo were quiet, either.

Ongoing inquiry: What happened to Roger Miller’s tinnitus? Could it come back?

Best thing I brought along (apart from water): Peppermint wet naps. They burn, but then they cool.

Number of songs YLT played off of previous albums: One that I could recognize, maybe two. And one of the songs I thought I knew from a previous album was actually the advance single released from I Am Not Afraid of You. I do wish they’d played something from Nothing or before. But I did get a setlist.

Amusing bit of continuity from yesterday: A woman was taping onstage before Os Mutantes’ set. At some point, I saw her looking confused as she held a few feathers that were still up there from Man Man’s set on Saturday.

Annoyance: If somebody stays at a stage for five hours to get to the front row for the last two acts of the day, they're not going to step aside for your extremely short daughter/girlfriend/female of indeterminate relationship to you, regarless of being taller than them. Do not call these people rude. It will not make them move. Instead, show up earlier. Or hang out in back! It's easier to see!

Os Mutantes: Awesome. That’s really all I have to say. The Brazilians up front were going insane. It was a little odd that they played the Americanized versions of a lot of their songs (nothing new, all these dated back to Technicolor), but still great. And I want to be their new lead singer (Zella) when I grow up, for she is awesome, and also in better shape than I am now.

Heartwarming Moment: Devendra Banhart, who publicly cites Os Mutantes as one of his biggest influences, got to come up onstage and sing backup on Bat Macumba. Awww.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Pitchfork, Day One

Hot. Hot hot hot. Sweat laced with sunscreen that isn't going to absorb dripping down my into my cleavage, wet shirt, hot.

And that was at 12:30, a half hour before any of the bands started playing. It pretty much stayed that way until the next-to-the-last band played.

And they only had one Ben & Jerry's truck. What the hell? Intonation had two or three, and Intonation was smart to do that. I'm buying through the fence from the biking helado vendor today. There's no line for him.

But the music was good.

Stage I didn't see today: Biz 3. I'm going to try to at least see CSS today.

Presumed Chicago City Ordinance: All music festivals in Chicago must begin with garage rock, apparently.

Bands I didn't see, and could only kinda hear: Band of Horses (waiting at front of other stage for The Mountain Goats), Destroyer (could hear enough to ID songs, but waiting at front of other stage for Art Brut), Ted Leo (THANK YOU, interminable Ben and Jerry's line).

If the Boredoms were pirates from Philly: They'd be Man Man. Two items of note about Man Man--the A stage was covered with feathers all day because of their shenanigans, and their drummer was sporting some short shorts. In white!

The act you had to be right up front to enjoy: Mountain Goats. I thought the set was amazing (he started out with "Jenny"! He played "Cubs in 5"!), but the further out my friends were from the stage, the lower opinion dipped (from halfway back in the park, it was apparently flat and disappointing). Incidentally, Mountain Goats had the biggest crowd lingering about before the set until later in the day (I'd say not until Futureheads). The crowd in front of Art Brut was wee compared to the MG people.

Act that rocked the park: Art Brut. Hands down, seemed to get the most people moving.

Cutest moment that reinforced my love of John Darnielle: him dancing around at the back of the stage during Art Brut. When lead singer Eddie Argos was walking off stage, John hugged him. Eddie then said something that looked like "I feel like I'm about to die", and John handed him his water bottle.

Proof that I'm blind, as well as deaf: I couldn't distinguish that the Walkmen were using a totally different-looking drummer (actually the old drummer from Walkmen precursors the Recoys), because regular drummer Matt Barrick's wife is having a baby right now.

New genre of music: Jan commented that, having seen them both on the same day, he now saw some similarities between Dan Bejar and David Berman. I said, "What? Hirsute, literate, intelligent rockers of Jewish descent? Are we calling this Talmud Rock now?". If anyone can think of a third person who could be lumped in this group, I'm officially calling it a movement.

Personal highlights: John Darnielle looking at me while singing "I hope we die/I hope we both die" during "No Children"; Jan getting a picture with Eddie Argos and the drummer of Art Brut.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Before the music: Pitchfork

Acts I know I’ve seen before: Chicago Underground Duo, Mountain Goats, Destroyer (twice), Ted Leo + Pharmacists (2 or 3 times), Walkmen (5 billion times), Glenn Kotche (maybe twice), Diplo (briefly last year), The National.

Band I should have seen by now, but didn’t: Yo La Tengo.

Good idea in theory: Biz 3 Stage. I vaguely want to see a lot of these acts, but most of what I want to see here is at odds with mainstage shows. Notable exceptions exist on Sunday, because of…

The semi-hidden Sunday theme: Brazil! Well, Os Mutantes makes it obvious at the end, but early on the Biz 3 stage there are two contemporary Brazilian acts, Bonde do Role and CSS. Also, Diplo is closing out the Biz 3 Stage, and that boy likes the baile funk.

Strategic quandary, minor: I’ll likely buy a poster or two at Flatstock. I need to figure out to enjoy the rest of the day after I buy it and still leave with the poster unharmed.

Strategic quandary, major: If I want to be at the front of the stage for Os Mutantes, I will have to miss Diplo’s set, which I’d otherwise be inclined to check out, since Spoon was apparently lackluster at Lolla last year. You’d think Texans could deal with performing in the heat.

Things I wish would go away: My dry, nagging cough; the ungodly heat.

Thins I wish would stay: battery power in my cell phone, clothes on my fellow concertgoers.

European folk-pop battle going on in my mind: Jose Gonzales at Intonation vs. Jens Lekman here.

Marked improvement over Intonation: Beverage sponsorship. Fuze is sponsoring, instead of Sparx, which I believe was battery acid cut with corn syrup, caffeine, and elephant testosterone.

Also: Magazine sponsorship. Readymade isn’t my favorite mag ever, but I’d rather see Martha Stewart Monthly sponsor than Vice.

Continued excellence from Intonation: The food. It looks like many of the same tents will be there, which means I can get tamales from Goose Island and corn muffins from Wishbone.

Also: Union Park. It’s really a great setup for festivals like this.

Adjacent acts that make amusing-sounding cage matches:
Chin Up Chin Up vs. Man Man
Band of Horses vs. Mountain Goats
Destroyer vs. Art Brut
(Incidentally, these are 6 consecutive bands from the Saturday main stages)

Acts I’m most looking forward to seeing: Os Mutantes, Yo La Tengo, Silver Jews, Jens Lekman, Mission of Burma

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...

Books! I am so behind! I will be very brief.

10 Word Book Reviews

33 1/3 books:
Love’s Forever Changes: Gnosticism and Love? The author’s high. Ignores the amazing music.

The Pixies’ Doolittle: Riding in cars with Frank Black. No Kim Deal input.

Bowie’s Low: Brian Eno!Drugs! Iggy Pop! Drugs! Berlin! Drugs! Transvestites! Drugs!

Other books:

Angela Carter, Wise Children: Twins and Shakespeare. Bawdy and fun. I always enjoy Carter.

Joe Meno, The Boy Detective Fails: I saw the play; I read the book. Each is worth doing.

Nelson Algren, Man With the Golden Arm: Old, dirty Chicago. Junkies and drunks suffer intensely, then die.

Nancy Mitford, Madame de Pompadour: French king’s mistress charms, helps start Seven Years War, dies.

Prolix, prolix, nothing a pair of scissors won't fix...