I'm the guy everyone else behind me hates at concerts - tall with a big head. But that also means I get to see everything and have a heads-and-shoulders advantage for taking pictures and video. My camera doesn't do justice to any of the guitar sounds, mostly all you can hear are the vocals and drums, and typically my pictures are mediocre at best. Just take my word for it that it was one of the best, and most exhausting weekends of my life. The festival crams about a dozen bands into 10 hours each of Saturday and Sunday, and a few bands on Friday. (I did not go on Friday.)
Acts I wish I didn't miss: The Walkmen, The National, Pharaoh Monch, Vivian Girls
Worst show: Doom
Most annoying hipster accessory I'm guilty of: Wayfarer shades
Good shows I don't have pictures of and therefor aren't covered below: M83, Matt and Kim
The following clips and videos are ranked with my favorite show of the weekend first.
Saturday, July 18
The Black Lips are a bunch of deviants. After a lengthy sound check, guitarist whats-his-face immediately smashed the shit out of his Gibson on the first song, tossing the broken neck into the crowd, asking if anyone needed a pick-up.
Known for their onstage antics, the boys didn't do anything illegal this time around, but they did a fine job of letting the world know that they, in fact, do not give a fuck.
Standing in the first few rows for the Black Lips, it was too rowdy to take any video, and the stills I took before we pushed our way to the front are mostly garbage 'cause it was nighttime. Needless to say, the Black Lips put on a raunchy, awesome show, full of crowd surfing, band-member drinking and fan behavior-bating. Over the course of seeing more than a dozen bands, the dirty bastards in the Black Lips still find a way to standout as the grimiest bunch of rock n' rollers in the group. They had to play a short set - Pitchfork agreed with the Po to shut everything down by 10 p.m., and the band before the Black Lips played late. I should feel guilty for skipping the National for the Lips show, they were, of course, every critic's favorite, but I can listen to the National at home. I can't jump and sweat and scream with kindred idiots at home. The set hit all the favorites - "Oh Katrina," "Bad Kids," "Starting Over," but they could have easily played for another hour and not run out of titles I wanted to hear.
Sunday, July 19
The Thermals mixed in several covers, opening with Sonic Youth's "100%," (a song I didn't know) along with some others easier to recognize - Green Day's "Basket Case," which they played without a hint of irony, giving it the same level of enthusiasm they imbue any of their own political indie-pop punk. This was probably the closest I got for any show, and left without most of my voice, and several ounces of sweat. This video is lame, one of my least favorite songs they played, but the crowd wasn't going as crazy so I could pull our my camera without risk of breaking it.
This buzz band blew up quick as hell (and without backlash, so far), from recording on a bedroom record label to playing for thousands at Pitchfork. And they rocked. Dude's got one guitar feeding 12 12-inch fender speakers (in 4 cabinets), mic'd for the PA of course, and gets the crunch only a pile of hot glowing tubes can get. His confidence borders on cockiness, but the guys from Canada know how to put on a rock show. Did I mention/brag that I had the vinyl before anyone else? Sorry.