Monday, July 16, 2007


Just had a great weekend at the Pitchfork festival. Just for Saturday, but what a bargain that was, like $29 for a day of great sets. It was also the first time I've taken the train to Chicago, which was quite a pleasure for not having to deal with parking and being able to sit and read the whole trip there.

Picture above is the crowd for Mastodon. Joseph and I hadn't planned on trying to see them, but ran into some former students who'd been waiting in the front row for Cat Power's set, which wasn't planned to start for another three hours, and after talking to them a few minutes Mastodon was ready to go, so we stayed. I stuffed a large wad of paper napkin into each ear and began trying not to laugh whenever the metal hair-gods of Mastodon looked my way. God, they're so serious. I really did feel like the lead singer was looking at me and could tell that I was not one of them.

The picture below is the crowd at Dan Deacon, the highlight "experience" of Saturday, I think. See, instead of fists, his crowd did things like wield a squirt gun that is color-coordinated with your purple fingernails. Deacon didn't even set up on stage, but nobody really cared that much because he was so funny , talking through his whole set, telling the sound guy to turn up the volume "about 400 dragons" and, I dunno, just not shutting up, like some holy goof with a drum machine.

The people watching was kind of fun, too. I took this picture because the guy's pose reminded me exactly of a reversed version of Edouard Manet's Olympia:
Edouard Manet, Olympia 1863-1865
Do you see it? It's so obvious, I think the guy must have been doing it on purpose, thinking to himself "I am Manet's Olympia" over and over. He must be a little strange, if you ask me.And here is Joseph showing off his Obama t-shirt, his very first stop inside the gates that day. Joseph knows his stuff and predicts Obama will be the man, while I am reserving judgment. You should have seen Joseph shut down a volunteer for Libertarian candidate Ron Paul who accosted us while we were on the way to the Old Town School of Folk Music's summer festival on Sunday.

Walking by a shoe store in the Wicker Park area on Sunday, he told me a story about a time when he passed the store when it was closed and dark, but in the store window was its guard dog in the act of eating the display shoes. When Joseph told me this I first thought "no, life is not that funny; things this good cannot happen," but then I thought again on this sunny day with a light breeze surrounded by Chicago's version of beautiful people and thought "yes, it's true; life is this good. The dog ate the shoes."

So, for the record, my favorites from the day at Pitchfork:

1. Grizzly Bear. Much more dynamic and raucous than on their records, and they pulled off their harmonizing, too. One of those shows where you find yourself liking songs live that you sometimes skip through on the cd.

2. Califone. I'd never listened to Califone before because, seriously, their name reminded me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Californication and I can't stand the RHCP. But I gave them a try knowing they'd be playing this weekend and it's great. If their set were longer, it might have supplanted Grizzly Bear as my favorite of the weekend, too.

3. Dan Deacon. His album Spiderman of the Rings is pretty fun, and live he doesn't sound much different--I think he almost just presses play on his ipod, because at the beginning of the set he kept muttering "c'mon ipod, work" and he wasn't kidding. But his show is great. The crowd was so ready for him and into him and just positive all around.

My only real disappointments were Iron & Wine, who were bland as heck I think because he tried to electrify things instead of stay acoustic and intimate and stuff. Also Cat Power was only okay, but she was sober, at least, I think. It was a lot of sun--a nice brief shower would have been nice--but an awesome day. I might have to seriously consider going at least two days next summer and bringing more of the family.


countvonsexy said...

Yeah, the IRON & WINE set was terrible.

I dug on Fujiya & Miyagi the most Saturday.

--THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS were on their game Sunday (and we accidentally got right up there and got to dance it out with some crack heads, which may have added to my enjoyment of the show)--

but naturally DE LA SOUL lit the place up with coolness.--And they called Prince Paul last minute and flew him out to the show, so he hung out and did some songs...amazing.

Mr. Hill said...

I was of half a mind to try to scalp tickets to Sunday, but on Saturday we never really saw anyone on the street with spares, so didn't bother trying.

Lots of hip hop there this year.

nathan_fisher said...

AP Lit results came today - so in response to your last post, I got a 4.
Sorry I couldn't five it for you, I think that Bronte poem did me in.

As a side note, I'll pretend you didn't say you can't stand RHCP.

Sarah said...

Hey Hill! I didn't know whether or not to comment here or on the one below - but! I got my AP score in the mail today.

I got a 4! (Which was better than I expected!)

Mr. Hill said...

Those are great scores; you should both feel really good about them.

And Nate, I will forget about the time I messed you up on Lost trivia. Now we're even.

countvonsexy said...

Ugh. I wish I would have known you were looking--I had an extra Sunday ticket. I would have just given it to you.

Mr. Hill said...

Dang. Oh well.

sarahjane said...

you know you're out of the loop when you don't recognize a single band name in a blog post, save iron and wine (the only band that stunk)! i need a subscription to rolling stone or something.

Mr. Hill said...

You guys would really like Califone, I think. I'll have to get that to you.

countvonsexy said...

Aw, don't feel bad Sarahjane---Pitchfork is the most pretentious of pretencious music festivals. The ONLY people who know these bands were the people who were there. And the only reason they were there was for street cred.

It's a vicious, hateful cycle and it kills people.


Mindstroller said...

I got a 4 as well, which is perfectly fine to me!

Mr. Hill said...

Hey, awesome, C. A "4" puts you up in a pretty high percentile, I think. Somewhere, I have numbers on what percentage of test takes get each score, but I think it's at school.

Ryan said...

I can see it now:

Mr. Hill standing with a slightly cringed expression with tissue in each of his ears as he is situated next to a group of kids head-banging, all the while belittling Mastodon with his eyes as they attempt to cater to an audience that contains members imitating Manet.

How in the hell did I miss THIS concert?!