Ahoy, J. Neas here. AD is heading to the Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park in Chicago next weekend. I’ll be uploading recaps of each day’s festivities on AD as well as updating my personal Twitter account on a frequent basis. No promises that some of those tweets won’t be me grumbling about wanting a Chicago style hotdog. Just a heads up. Below are a handful of the bands I’m most looking forward to catching.
The opening night of the festival changes up the traditional first night festivities. Write the Night features four bands whose playlists are going to be comprised of the top votes received by people who purchased tickets for the festival. Tortoise (5:00 PM) opens the night followed by Yo La Tengo (6:10 PM) (who have plenty of experience with this ‘request’ stuff). The two most interesting bands on the bill will most likely be The Jesus Lizard (7:20 PM), performing their first North American show in well over a decade, and the nightcap, Built to Spill (8:40 PM). I wasn’t allowed to vote, but c’mon, Doug Martsch. You know you want to play “I Would Hurt a Fly” and “The Plan.” Hook a brother up.
Saturday features a wealth of awesome bands. One of fellow AD writer M. Garner’s favorites, Plants and Animals (1:45 PM), is obviously a must see. As is one of the most visceral bands in indie, Fucked Up (2:30 PM), whose The Chemistry of Modern Life was a late-discovered favorite of mine from last year. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (3:20 PM), creators of one of my favorite records of 2009, are also on my list. They’ll be paired up almost at the same time with Raleigh, North Carolina’s Bowerbirds (3:35 PM), but I hopefully can catch most of both. Wavves (5:30 PM) hit the stage in the early evening and presents probably the most interesting band, for reasons other than the music, to hit the stage. Hoping that they’ve sorted themselves out since the meltdown in Spain earlier this summer. They’re followed by Doom (6:15 PM), an artist I’m very excited to see – his latest, Born Like This, is a rough run through indie hip-hop by one of its shining lights. Beirut (7:25 PM), easily one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time, will be a joy to see again. The nightcap gives you two options – the raucous Black Lips (8:30 PM) or the majestic beauty of the National (8:40 PM).
Sunday doesn’t disappoint either. Blitzen Trapper (2:30 PM), whom I was unable to catch at the Monolith Festival last year due to the room being completely, ridiculously crowded, will finally give me a chance to see one of my favorite bands of the last few years. Pharoahe Monch (3:20 PM) adds some of the hip-hop flavor for the day, hopefully (no clue, though) with a live band in tow to re-enact some of his most recent album, Desire. The Thermals (4:15 PM) bring their high energy introspection on the heels of a fantastic latest album. The Walkmen (5:15 PM) and Japandroids (5:30 PM) pose the day’s only conflict for me – the former being just a really amazing band and the latter being one that has been talked up endlessly by people lately as a really fun show. Vivian Girls (6:30 PM) are a great mirror for Saturday’s Wavves performance in the tune of über lo-fi pop fuzz. And I know Justin would never forgive me (frankly, I wouldn’t forgive myself) if I missed out on Grizzly Bear (7:25 PM) whose Veckatimist is truly neck and neck for the best album of 2009. Sunday night’s closing tandem is the globe-hopping hip-hop cum Malawian songsmithing of The Very Best (8:30 PM) and, taking up the Friday night Write the Night mantle one last time, the Flaming Lips (8:40 PM). I have a feeling the Very Best is going to be an awesome show, but if I miss the Flaming Lips playing “Kim’s Watermelon Gun” or “When Yer 22” because enough people voted for them, well, I don’t think I want to take that chance.
Solid variety of artists/genres with a really reasonable price (when 3-day tickets were available, they went for only $75; only Friday night tickets are still available). Also relieved to see that the oraganizers do not overburden the schedule so that you have to (literally) run to catch your favorite artists (as other fests are notorious for). See you in Chicago – look for updates here on AD and on my personal twitter account. Cheers, j. neas