Friday, July 17, 2009

Pitchfork Music Festival Preview

The Pitchfork Music Festival starts today, and I couldn't let this opportunity pass without a few comments and band recommendations. First, I still think the folks behind the festival have their hearts in the right place. Regardless of how I feel about Pitchfork in general,* from the first year these guys have brought the best indie lineup and festival to Chicago. Lollapalooza is not even close in talent, organization or value.

I fear, however, the kind of audience that makes this festival so special is about to be driven out by the mainstream masses because it has suddenly become the thing to do and is relatively cheap. It's an old story, really, much like the old Lollapaloozas. I could give numerous examples why I feel this happening, but I'll just give you one here. WGN radio, the channel my 85-year-old grandmother listens to, broadcast several segments about the festival this morning. She would have even been serenaded by Yo La Tango. I just hope this thing doesn't get inundated by frat boys and thugs (or grandmothers).

Friday's and Saturday's lineups are, in my opinion, relatively weak. Tonight's best is Yo La Tengo. Saturday's best is The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Much like The Go! Team, Pipettes and others from past years, this band owes Pitchfork much for its popularity, and I expect a big crowd when they gaze at their shoes. Sunday's lineup is a juggernaut. There is a reason the tickets for this day were quickly snapped up while Friday tickets were still available this morning. Check out Vivian Girls, The Walkmen, M83, Grizzly Bear and, of course, festival closer The Flaming Lips. Their setlist will be made up of songs chosen in advance by fans. Expect many deep cuts. Now, a couple of these bands will be playing simultaneously. So, wear your jogging shoes. Here are some samples of the bands I recommended. If you can't make it, follow the shows here.

Yo La Tengo - Black Flowers (mp3)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Come Saturday (mp3)

M83 - Kim & Jessie (mp3)

The Walkmen - The Rat (mp3)

Vivian Girls - When I'm Gone (mp3)

The Flaming Lips - Pilot Can at the Queer of God (mp3)

*I love Pitchfork as a place for music news, but I don't like the record reviews. Do you ever get the impression the reviews are more about the reviewer than the record?

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