Pitchfork Music Festival: Sunday Live-Blog

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by Raj Ranade

SUNDAY

4:39 – Dirty Beaches drops Elvis-esque 50s swagger over apocalyptic distortion rock (interview up on Monday!) and now Ty Segall is putting on a garage rock set cool enough that you don’t even think about how uncool their guitarist’s tie-dye T-shirt might be.

5:14 – Another garage rock performance from The Men as distinctive as their name isn’t. They just barely get the edge over Ty Segall, but that’s really only because I like the fact that they prominently feature a harmonica.

6:00 – BLIND ITEM: which superstar Chicago rapper was caught by industry reps going an hour-long rant about the young rap sensation who reportedly stole his girlfriend?

6:40 – Dazzling in technical ability and masterful at crowd control, Kendrick Lamar provides not just the best rap show at Pitchfork but possibly the best rap show I’ve ever seen. Much more Monday.

7:59 The jumbotron during Araabmuzik’s set – nothing but fingers moving at impossible speeds and crowd members with mouths agape in awe.

8:34 Loud, deserved applause from the tiny crowd assembled for King Krule’s mellow Brit-pop – the set didn’t deserve to be sandwiched between Araab’s pummeling hour and a performance by indie juggernauts Beach House.

9:48 The Field’s minimal techno lets the dancing crowd purge all that festival stress through hypnotic grooves – a perfect festival closer.

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SATURDAY

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The crowd for Sleigh Bells

8:00 – Schoolboy Q, on record a rapper known for blistering speed in his verses, is totally winded and out of breath by his third song – let no one say rap show performances are easy. Alison Krauss of Sleigh Bells, playing across the park, seems unstoppable – a raging vision in ripped denim and sweat-smeared mascara.

6:16 – Two lessons on how to do live electronic music directly, playing simultaneously at opposite ends of Union Park, after yesterday’s bland disaster by Clams Casino. Beatmaker Flying Lotus turned in an ego-less set with ornate remixes of massive hip-hop hits. Nicolas Jaar, on the other hand, reconfigured his electronic minimalism to include a live band, which sank into some nicely taut grooves.

Nicolas Jaar

4:29 – I’m not going to say that Liturgy’s Catholic-guilt-infused doom metal is something for everyone (or, for that matter, anyone) but it is certainly something to see – guitar grooves interrupted by bursts of all-consuming 300 bpm drum machine assaults.

3:44 -Great interview with the Olivia Tremor Control, at least until the Heineken tent we were interviewing in collapsed under a brief shock of heavy rain! Check back Monday for the details.

FRIDAY

Live-blogging updates will start around 4 PM EST. My lame cameraphone photos included – official Ace photography by Justin Hamlett forthcoming.

3:30 – Pitchfork kicks off with a bang! The bang, that is, of thunder in a torrential downpour forcing everyone to shelter. Bad omen, or welcome humidity reducer?

4:54 The sun is out, and a smooth breeze accompanies the moody guitar drone of Lower Dens. A low-key performance from a disheveled band, but there’s an unexpected soulfulness to their sound.

5:05 The motley appearance of Outer Minds has a Scooby-Doo gang diversity, and the sound is appropriately 60s pop cheerful.

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Olivia Tremor Control setting up

5:53 Will be hard to beat Olivia Tremor Control for sheer diversity of ensemble – a theremin, a chrome trumpet, and a comically oversized tuba were all in play. Some signs of rustiness in the newly reunited band – mostly related to a bad mix – but energy-wise these guys don’t seem to have lost a step since 1994.

7:19 – ASAP Rocky: “I didn’t come here to perform, I came here to party.” This was an accurate statement with the positive and (mostly) negative consequences you might expect.

8:02 – It started raining when ASAP Rocky was playing and stopped when Japandroids came on – a coincidence, but a cosmically just one if there ever was. 45 minutes of consecutive punk jams played with more energy than you’d think two people could muster.

Purity Ring’s lanterns

10:12 – On record, Purity Ring’s songs are lightweight synth-pop confections. But when playing live, this mixed-gender duo has a welcome sense of theatre – primarily in their light show, in which each drum hit and vocal tic triggers a swirl of color in electronic lanterns.



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