Monday, July 21, 2008

Our Pitchfork-licious Weekend - Saturday

We managed to avoid some heavy rain showers on Saturday and headed over to Union Park just west of the Loop for the 2008 Pitchfork Music Festival. Keep in mind, this is already Bella's third concert of the year, so she's basically already a pro at this. It was still lightly raining on and off for the first hour or two while we were there, but it was fine from there on out. Definitely beat the 100 degree and sunny weather that was there two years ago.

First off, as Michele stated on her blog, we had gotten out the night before (thanks to grandma P) to see The Dark Knight. All I know is Michele was able to look at me a few times during the 2 and a half hours (only when Christian Bale wasn't on the screen), and she said my jaw was hanging open and I was smiling the whole time. When I say it is the best superhero movie I've ever seen, it is no slight exaggeration.

The only drawback to that was we got home at 1:30 am from seeing the movie, and it was my day to wake up with Bella, and she of course decided to get up at 6:40 that morning. Good times.

So I'll give my quick summary of the day's music: We were standing in a long line outside the gate waiting to get in, but could hear the majority of the set by Titus Andronicus. Good solid punk stuff from what I heard, hopefully will get to hear them again some time. Jay Reatard played shortly after that, and tore up the stage for a breathless 20 minute punk blast that probable squeezed in a dozen songs at least.

The next band, Caribou, was a nice surprise. I already knew they were going to be one of Michele's favorites, if nothing else just for their name. They mixed things up and played some pretty interesting heavily instrumental music, with most of the band members switching instruments regularly. This was also the first band of the day that Bella pointed at the stage and wanted to get closer, so I took that as a good sign.

The next band, the Fleet Foxes, were one of the most heavily hyped bands of the weekend by the local critics, but the music did not justify the hype for me. They reminded me of a very watered down My Morning Jacket, but lacked all of the charisma and power that makes MMJ a must see performance. I tried to take in a few minutes of F-ck Buttons (yes, that is actually a band name) on the small side stage during this, but the FB's only made some dull droning noises for the few minutes I was there. Pass.

Next up on the big stage was rapper Dizzee Rascal, who dropped more F-bombs in his first 5 minutes on stage than Bella had ever heard in her life. Thankfully she didn't take home any new words with her. He was followed shortly by the Most Heavily Hyped Band in the History of Mankind, Vampire Weekend. I'm not ashamed to admit, I do like their Paul Simon-esque sound, and I knew they'd be absolutely perfect for a midday set as the sun was starting to near the horizon and things were cooling off. They put on a great set, of course playing almost all of their debut cd, with a new song or two thrown in as well. Bella recognized some of their songs, and even did a little butt shaking dance in honor of them.

Around this time, Bella tried her first taste of the Robinson's Mystery Meat Rib Shaped Rib Sandwich, and she loved it, making her daddy very proud once again. Next up was the infectious dance rock of !!! (pronounced chk chk chk). I had to miss them at Lollapalooza 2007, since they were scheduled at the same time as Yo La Tengo, and they put on a great energetic set that made me thankful that YLT put on a great set at Lolla last year.

The next band caused the biggest controversy for me, which was the Hold Steady. Critics absolutely adore this band, they worship everything they do, calling them this generation's great bar band, a la a younger Bruce Springsteen. I still don't see it, they have a couple of decent songs to me, but everything starts to sound the same, and the power just isn't there in the songs. I still gave them a chance on Saturday, and still feel the same about them. However, Bella decided that she really liked the band, and asked several times to get closer to the stage to see them. Our first official Daddy/Bella music conflict... At least she is siding with the critics on this one, we'll try to sort this one out among ourselves.

We made it through about half of the set by form Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, which meant we heard about 3 of his songs and 15 minutes of his stage banter. Bella was getting near wiped out, so we started packing up and were getting ready to leave. We tried hitting the side stage one more time to catch a bit of somehow-MTV-darlings No Age, but the stage setup was delayed, and they didn't start on time for us. So we called it a night, headed up to the train and started our trip home.

I would have to say that Saturday's lineup alone was better than all of Pitchfork 2007, so that was a pretty good start. More on the Sunday lineup later...

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