Notes Tagged ‘Animal Collective’

Pitchfork Fest ’08: Lights & Music

July 21st, 2008

The buzz and short attention spans I spoke of in Day One, and the newfound diversity heralded in Day Two, these things imploded upon each other the final hours of Sunday, with one holy rockness middle ground rising up from the rubble.

The moment can be pinpointed actually, if you were to witness Les Savy Fav’s punk-maestro, Tim Harrington, careen his bald dome into a city garbage can, demanding the crowd hoist him, and his new stage, into the air so he could finish his song.

Post-set comment from a fan:

Dude wanted up, like Oscar the Grouch, towards the sky! Easily the most zenith of any rock and roll moment I have ever witnessed.

Sure it was the same debauchery Harrington’s built his reputation upon at various sweaty clubs across the country.  But there was a time when Pitchfork’s occupation of Union Park did not care to venture too far outside Japanese drum circles and freak folk…at least at four o’ clock in the afternoon.

Lots of subjectives and parallels here, no doubt; this year’s closers, Spoon, were part of the inaugural year’s line-up, for instance.  Call it happenstance.  Call it a mirror of the market.  One certainty ran from band to band on Sunday – their ability to work a stage on a broad-appeal level, yet still harbor that sub-radar exclusivity.

And everyone there, unlike years past, yearned to share the sentiment together.

San Francisco’s The Dodos owned the rest of afternoon, engulfing onlookers in Morrissey lulls, only to bottle rocket off into tribal clangery.  It took effort not to dance those rhythms out of your bones, especially with tales about “Fools” who take loved ones for granted.

While M. Ward brooded quintessential chill, whispering lofty Satchmo-gravel secrets to his mic, while fans built sculptures in the mud. The folkster sauntered through Daniel Johnston covers and reminded people to partake in the arts & crafts aspect of the festival.  It was a nice little resting point before the divine indie-vention of Spiritualized.

If Les Savy Fav brought people together with punk hedonism, Spiritualized exalted evangelical rock. Right at the end of the day, when the sun decides to fireball into your eyes, the band took the stage, gospel choir in tow, and unleashed notes that truly saved. Story goes lead singer, Jason Spaceman, nearly died of pneumonia in the making of latest LP, Songs In A&E.  When the brooding squall of “Shine A Light” erupted from his guitar, fans were there in a foot of mud beaming rays. And when the band hammered into “Come Together,” arms flew up in the air like beacons of hope.

Meanwhile, J Mascis amped his six-stack of Marshalls to blastatron, and ripped through all that late-’80s zen-guitar fuzz he and other Junior Dinosaurs married angst with. Whereas Spiritualized ask for redemption, Mascis just shredded emotion into oblivion, throwing his white mop all over his guitar, kids screaming “Feel The Pain” like an anthem: “I feel the pain of everyone, then I feel nothing.”

And then something odd happened. Droves flooded the side stage for Cut Copy, but no Cut Copy was found. So the droves about-faced and headed back for closer Spoon on the main stage. Word was that Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’d some unity and entertainment and…yeah.  But those that held strong on the side stage were treated to a misfit superjam made up of Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox, King Khan and Jay Reatard on flower and ass-wiping duty.

I do not understand what’s punk about wiping remnants of feces on flowers and throwing them into a mass of people, but the three would rock just about anything the crowd demanded, from Nirvana to CSNY.  And just when the drunken buffoonery reached its max, Khan presented a late Cut Copy, whose flight was delayed…from Australia.

Running into that silly 10 p.m. curfew law that closed shop on Animal Collective the previous night, the Aussie club-hearts lit the last 30 minutes of that night aflame in pop-techno circusry; sweaty night thrusts, burning into brains with every camera flash:

Lights and music, are on my mind. Be my baby, one more time.

There were kids dancing without a clue as to why they were dancing. Synth-hook genius, indeed. But this was simply about sharing lights and music.

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Pitchfork Fest ’08: Evolution of Hip

July 20th, 2008

As the natural progression of emergently original things go, Pfork’s festival speaks no more to one niche market, which is something best analogized by !!!’s Nic Offer late afternoon Saturday, before thrusting his pelvis to a series of genre-blurring grunts:

We’re the lowest rated band on Pitchfork, with the highest set time.  It goes to show you the kids know something the critics don’t.

There is no judgment being passed here, for my feet saw their fare share of funkamatronics.  But of this year’s sold-out crew of near 50,000 “kids,” virtually all of them were present in that field, amassing the most diverse crowd I’ve seen in the fest’s three years of existence.  Most of this was due to !!!’s ability to traverse from crooning soul to punk techno circus.

Regardless, witnessing filthy music lovers blacken their pale skin in the mud, with yuppies right alongside them in their brand new Chuck Taylors with the same desire, all in the name of dance and music, was a thing of beauty. !!! punctuated the sentiment with the club-violent bass super-tweaks of “Heart of Hearts,” shaking out a seizure of a chorus:

“‘Cause we’re all fumbling baby/fumbling in the dark/for a heart of hearts.”

The rest of the day truly echoed with cohesion.  Whether it was whirling in the hair-raising vortex of Fleet Foxes and their stacks of CSNY harmonies, onlookers void of all inhibition and singing right there along. Or swallowing a sea of nappers dosing off to Bradford James Cox and his drones-of-locusts fuzz.  Same for The Hold Steady, fully embodying Weezer-type, party-rock unity with epic ’80s pop hooks new LP, Stay Positive.  While wily Jarvis Cocker took a moment to appreciate the female presence, sharing tales about how women appreciate sex just as much as men from a cut called “Girls Like It Too.”

Point is, there was always some demographic being represented somewhere, and legions of others smiling right there with them.  Which really has not been the case in the past.

I’m sure Vampire Weekend were further afro-popping unity vibes, but I made a conscious decision to enjoy the real thing with Extra Golden and Elf Power on the side stage.

No Age deserves a mention for thrashing walls of punk distortion, come moonlight, but it was at the expense of the below young rock stars, who were apparently moshing too hard (later I found out that they had been caught boozing under-age).  Still, the only exclusion act of the entire day.

As for closers Animal Collective, that same !!! crowd rolled up, turning the field this time into one giant indie-tribal rallying cry.  Cheers to the Pfork staff for emanating the sound so pristine, waves of synth washed clean back to the edge of the park.

Probably the most erratic of Saturday’s bill, AC screamed melodic misfits, while legions interpreted it with hybrid dances…which always evolved into a type of high-knee rain shimmy.  And just when the evening was ripe with transcendent grooves about, people just completely enjoying where there muscles would take them, Pfork had to go and commit non-unity act number two, by literally cutting the song short.

There was a ten o’ clock curfew to enforce.

Back to Nic Offer’s comment: I believe that’s something both the kids present and critics are privy to – lameness.

Stay tuned for Day Three for redemption…

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