Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pitchfork 2010

Finally! My first Pitchfork. I had bought tickets years before and always balked at the last minute, selling them for only slightly more than they're worth.

Pitchfork, the "indie" music festival par excellence, was always put on a music-lovers pedestal that could really only disappoint. In fact, however expensive Lollapalooza tickets are, Lolla seems to be a more relaxed and true festival experience.

1. Attire. One normally wears the most casual clothing possible for Lollapalooza, knowing that it is only going to get soaked with the neighboring concertgoers' sweat. You can always tell firstcomers by their flip-flops, if they are short (how would they see??), or skirts, if they are tall (how would they jump??). By enormous contrast, Pitchfork began like a runway show for American Apparel and Urban Outfitters. On the bus over, which was packed with festival attendees, there were more layers, jewelry, and "vintage" leather bags than were clearly necessary for this disgustingly hot and humid 95 degree day. Thankfully, as the day progressed, layers began disappearing and the cuteness factor eventually evened out as people realized that comfort and NOT having heat stroke is, in fact, more important than ending up in a StreetStyle blog.

2. Set length. Pitchfork was like the Taste of Chicago-- delicious, but a complete teaser. Tallest Man on Earth only got to play 5 or so songs in his measly 30 minute set. Even Broken Social Scene seemed to only get to about 7 or 8 songs, and Modest Mouse didn't even APPROACH the amazing 3-hour long set time of the last time I saw them live, back in 2006. Lollapalooza, on the other hand, is just a conglomeration of near-normal length concerts. With the exception of distortion-fueled post-rock like Animal Collective, Lolla just feels like a bunch of normal concerts, in which the artist(s) normally plays his/her/their hits, plus a few odds and ends for the true fans in the audience, and everyone leaves elated, dirty, and somewhat sick due to 2-ish hours of jumping with nary a bathroom or food break.

3. Shops. Lolla had a few minor merch booths. Beer and water were, obviously, the most popular items. Especially beer. Lolla crowds are more often than not easygoing suburban types, your potheads and bros, plus the far weirder city kids who *somehow* managed to scrounge up the $215 and attend. This = beer consumption. Pitchfork, however, although not lacking in stoners, had very little beer consumption. If people did drink beer, it seemed slightly out of place. The Threadless booth actually received more money than beer! A relatively expensive t-shirt franchise receiving more money than Miller Light somehow seems veeeeryyy strange to me. There was actually a whole avenue of shops, making Pitchfork more of a street fair + music festival.

All in all, Broken Social Scene steals the day. Modest Mouse was a teaser. El-P, however, pretty great.


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