Pitchfork Music Festival Recap
Thu, 19 Jul 2007 11:15:55
When it comes down to it, the Pitchfork Music Festival is an incredibly risky proposition. For the past three summers, the influential online music magazine Pitchfork Media has curated a weekend-long festival in Chicago featuring nothing but artists who normally perform in small clubs, and have, at best, a marginal presence in the mainstream of pop culture. Compared to virtually other major music festival, it's an exceptionally bold move.
Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo all bank on big names such as Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bjork, Rage Against The Machine, The Police, Tool, and Radiohead to draw in audiences, but the Pitchfork Music Festival is capable of selling out a large urban park with the sort of artists who would be buried on one of their competition's sprawling bills. The main draw of the Pitchfork Music Festival is the Pitchfork brand itself, and though the concert was anchored by a handful of indie rock stars, attendees were mostly showing up because they've come to trust the site's curatorial vision. (Well, that and the fact that the ticket prices are exceptionally low for an event of its magnitude.)
GZA (photo by: Erik Abderhalden) | Slint (photo by: Erik Abderhalden)
Day One: Sonic Youth, GZA, Slint Play Classic Albums
This year's festival was the first to extend to three days, and its additional opening night served as a handy primer on the festival's aesthetics. In association with All Tomorrow's Parties' Don't Look Back series, the first three sets of the weekend featured three highly influential acts performing their most celebrated album in full. Post-rock pioneers Slint kicked off the evening with their landmark LP Spiderland, the Wu-Tang Clan's GZA excited hip-hop fans with the entirety of his 1995 solo debut, Liquid Swords, and the legendary art-rock quartet Sonic Youth marked the 20th anniversary of their classic Daydream Nation by rocking it from start to finish for the first time on American soil. Though some fans shrugged off Slint's meandering instrumental passages, there was no questioning the audience's enthusiasm for both the GZA and Sonic Youth. The latter incited especially rapturous audience responses from a crowd mainly comprised of fans far too young to have ever seen the band perform some of its finest compositions.
Day Two: Clipse, Cat Power & Yoko Ono—A Strange Brew
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