Photo courtesy of Heave Media
Our timestamped coverage of the 2012 Pitchfork Music Festival continues–and so does the rain.
2:45 PM A handful of dudes are thrashing to Liturgy’s soundcheck. Today is already great.
2:47 PM Oh hey, Liturgy are doing their own soundcheck. Between the two band members, they’ve got all the physical/sartorial platonic ideals of late ’80s-early ’90s metal guys covered.
2:50 PM Without turning my head, I can see three people wearing T-shirts with galaxies on them. Q: What does the space enthusiast/metal aficionado Venn diagram look like? A: A circle
3:00 PM Liturgy finally start playing—and bring the rain with them. It’s now pouring and the band is still playing sans Greg Fox, the band’s former drummer. I’m by no means a metal expert, but metal without some kind of percussive element seems like a huge misstep.
3:10 PM However, doomy guitars + Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s anguished yelps are lending an epic scope to my personal quest to stay dry. Slaying demon trolls in my mind! With my umbrella!
3:15 PM Liturgy fires up “Generation” and they’re compensating well for the lack of drums on this one by making the strums percussive. I would be doing some embarrassing head thrashing if I weren’t holding an umbrella over our damp and miserable group.
3:25 PM I’m getting a huge kick out of the endless parade of miserable-looking girls weaving their way out of the crowd.
3:50 PM Festival errand time! Falafel > Cults. Sorry Cults, I’m hungry and this hasn’t the best day to “go outside.” (NAILED IT)
3:52 PM Iced coffee also > Cults.
4:05 PM What’s the most horrifying thing in the world? If you answered anything other than “a guy winking at a girl as he exits a port-a-potty,” you’re wrong.
4:17 PM Number of back-of-neck Chinese character tattoos at Flying Lotus: predictably high. Number of people getting high: also predictably high.
4:31 PM Flying Lotus brings the sun back! Steve Ellison’s extended DJ set includes crowd favorites like…
4:32 PM “Pursuit of Happiness” (and by sample association, “Hands On The Wheel”)…
4:34 PM …“N*ggas in Paris,” to a cresting wave of WOOOOOOOO…
4:36 PM …and “I Get Paper” and “Yonkers.” Also, a visual present for those of us who attended high school during the 90s: a kid walks by in Jnco jeans.
4:51 PM Ellison finally comes out and grabs the mic to do Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says (Get The Fuck Up).” The group of teens next to me has been smoking the same joint for about 25 minutes. Magic is in the air.
4:55 PM Ellison throws on “Intergalactic”! There’s a brief sound blip about 30 seconds in, and the crowd gets furious. Too soon for those kinds of missteps, Ellison (also too soon for me to try and turn that into a joke, probably)!
4:59 PM Call me old fashioned, but I love to see a guy wearing a shirt for The State. Also, parents: it isn’t that hard to find a babysitter, and if you do bring your kids, give ’em some kind of ear protection, huh?
5:05 PM Waiting for Wild Flag to the dulcet tones of “Hard in Da Paint.” I always pick the wrong time to leave one set for another.
5:15 PM Wild Flag takes the stage; as soon as the guy behind me sees Carrie Brownstein, he says “There she is!” in a swoony voice. You guys, this is the day he’ll finally ask her out!
5:16 PM They’re starting with a cover of Television’s “See No Evil”!
5:25 PM Wild Flag’s whole set underscores what a group of pros they are. I love that they don’t really use their musical legacy as leverage, the sum total of “this is why you’re here to see us.” No one up there is phoning it in.
5:27 PM The band starts a one-two punch of two of my favorites from Wild Flag: “Romance” and “Glass Tambourine,” chased with an extended, proggy version of “Racehorse.”
5:37 PM Two teens in front of us are actively and excitedly using each other to learn how to kiss. It’s like watching a child grow! In the grossest possible way!
6:05 PM Schoolboy Q’s first two out of the gate are “Sacrilegious” and “Oxy Music.” Never seen him live before, but he’s great at working the crowd. His hype man has the easiest job ever—and appears to know it, since he’s standing at the back of the stage and smoking weed.
6:07 PM My brain-record scratches when I see a man wearing the greatest hat of all time: crisp, white, perfectly straight bill—and it says TRILL on the front. Are the letters in “TRILL” filled in with the pattern of the American flag? Yes, yes, they are—just as our forefathers intended.
6:11 PM Q is the guy to beat for festival stage banter. In less than a minute, he’s given a shout-out to every rapper playing Pitchfork Fest this year, plus a few others. Maybe consider a second career as an SEO consultant?
6:15 PM Q, on shoes: “Who y’all fuckin’ with? Jordans or Yeezys?”
6:25 PM Q ushers in the Sexting Hour with, uh, “Sexting.”
6:28 PM Q calls out 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa. Click-through rate: doubled.
6:35 PM I get to the Red stage for Sleigh Bells just as they break into “Comeback Kid.” Good timing!
6:40 PM This is the best—and most polished—I’ve ever seen them in a live setting. No sound snafus, totally buttoned-up, and Alexis Krauss has an unbelievable amount of energy.
6:55 PM “Tell ‘Em” into “Infinity Guitars” into “Rill Rill”—the Sleigh Bells hat trick. I wanted to run a mile, punch a dude, then give him a hug.
7:05 PM Derek Miller starts playing the intro to “A/B Machines”; Alexis: “I know you know the words to this one!” People, stop looking panicky; there are literally 14 words in that song.
7:20 PM Moved over to Hot Chip to see a man in a Social Distortion tour t-shirt and pleather cowboy hat. His dance card for Hot Chip is likely already full.
7:24 PM Someone in the middle of the crowd throws a sedge hat backward and a guy standing near us catches it and puts it on his head. I really hope that wasn’t planned.
7:26 PM Hot Chip get the crowd going with “Don’t Deny Your Heart.” They are consistently excellent live, and I swear, one of two bands I’ve ever seen at Pitchfork Fest that can get everyone dancing. The other one? Cut Copy. Some kind of hive-mind agreement ensures that we’ll only dance to electronica from the UK and former UK colonies.
7:59 PM In his white jean-ed glory, Danny Brown takes the stage and immediately breaks into “Witit.” The guy in a vest, tie, and pocket watch/pocket watch chain is really into the “dick touch your appendix” line.
8:16 PM Oh man, right into “I Will.” Danny Brown has an interesting way of channeling his charisma onstage; in some ways he seems more mellow and less nervy live than via recording, but it’s still more than enough to get the crowd engaged.
8:19 PM “How many you motherfuckers wake up and the first thing y’all do is check pitchfork.com?” –Danny Brown
8:25 PM “Make some fuckin’ noise, white girls!” The whole crowd screams. In this moment, we are all white girls.
8:48 PM Time to see if I can catch some of Godspeed! You Black Emperor and then make it back over to see Grimes. I see a girl with some formidable devil stick skills on the way over. Portents of festival-navigating success? Or failure?
8:53 PM I finally find my friends, who are so near the front that we get completely walled in and I never make it back over to see Grimes—which unfortunately puts me in the position of talking to you about the artist(s) with whom I’m far less familiar. I will say this: seeing Godspeed! live definitely heightened my appreciation for the band.
Post-rock that tends toward the overwrought can get sour pretty quickly live—but Godspeed! were totally polished and the sorta-genius art direction really bolstered the set. The screen behind the stage accompanied the band with shifting images and footage of century-old Canadian urban planning documents, to typography, to immigration records—then, during “Lift Yr Skinny Wrists,” to a camera mounted on the front of a train, all seamlessly timed to the music.
10:00 PM Wouldn’t be Canadian post-rock without a guy in a denim jacket with the sleeves cut off. See you tomorrow, Pitchfork!