Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pitchfork Music Festival 2011 lineup picks

By Andrew Hertzberg

(photo: Joshua Mellin)
Oh my. Seems like only yesterday everyone was speculating on who would play Pitchfork Music Festival this year. Recent BNM hunnies like Odd Future and James Blake seemed obvious, vets like Guided by Voices and Thurston Moore were superb additions; there were a quite a few artists already familiar to past festival-goers (AnCo, Fleet Foxes, Cut Copy…) and I’ll save my gripes against the webzine for not including more local talent. Alas, the time has come where speculation ends and experience begins. With a myriad of bands and other activities, it’s hard to stick with any plan for the weekend. So here’s a loose schedule to maybe possibly sort of follow: 


tUnE-yArDs: This time slot is definitely my biggest qualm for the weekend. Playing the smaller Blue Stage opposite Battles, this one was quite the tough call. The brainchild of Merrill Garbus has gotten a lot a lot of buzz from the blog-hive this year, but I think it is deservedly so. Despite the strong sophomore Gloss Drop from Battles, the experimental pop of tUnE-yArDs is just too tempting to pass up.

Guided by Voices vs. Das Racist: Yup, still undecided on this one. GBV are the indie vets who although I’ve never gotten down with, well, I don’t want to pass up an opportunity to see these old dudes still perform some crazy antics live. Likewise, Das Racist rap about combination Pizza Hut / Taco Bells. Soooo, this is going to have to be a game day decision, but I don’t think either choice will be wrong. 

Neko Case: One of the best female singer-songwriters in indie rock hands down. Part of the indie supergroup New Pornographers (of which fellow member Dan Bejar performs under the moniker Destroyer the following day), this former Hideout bartender is sure to give some good lovin’ to her old home base.


Sun Airway: Today is definitely a Blue Stage day. Sun Airway start things off early with upbeat, vaguely chillwave, quasi-Balearic synth pop. They start at 1:55 which isn’t too early for you, right? A great way to start off day two. 

OFF!: If you don’t know who Keith Morris is, this is your time to get educated. The dread-locked frontman formerly of hardcore progenitors Black Flag and the Circle Jerks is still kicking out tunes kids more than half his age wish they could pull off. Pay your respects to the one minute bursts of aural destruction.

DJ Shadow: Ok, a lot of artists can mix, scramble and sample, but what DJ Shadow does is a craft. Somewhere in between hip-hop, trip-hop and electronica is the sounds of DJ Shadow. Find yourself asking, “did he really just do that?” over and over again during this set. Not one to be missed. 


Honestly, I feel like the festival is going out more on a whimper than a bang. Sunday’s not the strongest, but here goes:

Twin Sister: One of the more promising up and coming bands, Twin Sister provide dream pop with subdued vocals: a nice way to relax on the grass during what will most likely be a hot day after a long weekend, especially for those allergic to the term ‘chillwave’ and won’t give Toro y Moi the proper time of day later the same evening. 

Pick your meltdown: Ariel Pink vs. OFWGKTA: Playing back to back on the main Green and Red stages, one of these ‘artists’ are sure to disappoint. This is probably the best time to check out the CHIRP sponsored record fair, the Flatstock poster convention or maybe see if the Whole Foods tent is giving away free veggie wraps yet. 

TV On the Radio: Alright, this one is sort of a gimme. But they’re the last band playing the weekend, and although I’ve never really given them a fair shot, I almost feel obligated to see their performance. I obviously trust the curators of the fest enough to have bought a three day pass before bands were announced, so I shouldn’t doubt their ability to schedule an amazing performance to cap out the weekend.

As Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis recently anticipated, the concept of a ‘music festival’ may become less appealing to concert goers in the coming years. For me, the music the festival provides is only half the experience. It’s a great way to enjoy a weekend with friends, some I see often, some to catch up with, within a comfortable atmosphere with a creative purpose. Likewise, there’s no reason for this to end when the sun goes down. There’s plenty going on around town throughout the weekend, ranging from Pitchfork sanctioned after parties, to events put on by locals as well. It would be absurd to try to keep up with them all. But big festivals like this are a great excuse to explore your own city, find some new music, escape your comfort zone. Perhaps you’ll hit up one of the free shows at the Cobra Lounge after, perhaps Pitchfork is waaaay too mainstream for you and you’re heading to Pilsen for Bitchpork instead. Either way, if you’re reading this blog, you know there’s a bevy of options just waiting to be utilized. Enjoy the weekend, everybody. Be safe, have fun, and take Monday off.

1 comment:

  1. See GBV, then go to Lincoln Hall for Das Racist and Smith Westerns.