At about 10 a.m., I woke up groggy and sore. Rousing my compatriots, I wolfed down some Applejacks. We made it to the train and headed to Union Park. It was Day Two of Pitchfork. We got there just at the end of Titus Andronicus’s set, only sticking around for the first song (a cover of Pulp’s “Common People”). Although this was pretty good, we decided to walk around the park and see the plethera of awesome–little booths representing both local Chicago stores and favorite companies of the organizers, such as Whole Foods, Mozilla, and The Onion. Walking from from the booths, I made away with a tote-bag made out of tinfoil and a polyester lining, various buttons, and the best free t-shirt of a jellyfish playing a synthesizer ever. Eventually, I made my way to the Firefox booth, where I met the most awkward people at Pitchfork–a feat hard to accomplish, but leave it to Mozilla, I guess.

Now, it was time for some music. Jay Reatard was first, and it was time to show these indie kids how someone who had grown up in the hardcore scene handled a punk pit. I left my girlfriend Caitlin and my friend Laura at the outskirts of the crowd. My friend Quincy and I headed into the electrified mass gathered for the garage-rock band from Mempis, losing our friend Travis along the way. Playing for about thirty minutes, Jay Reatard’s set was high energy and intense. The frontman even showed his infamous “hatred” for the fans, spitting venomous lines such as, “sex, money, useless children” while pointing to individual audience members and yelling for the crowd to “go fuck yourself” while exitting the stage.

Pitchfork is an eclectic place. This can be shown by the seemingly strange transitions from band to band. The band that came next was Caribou, once known as Manitoba. This former solo electronic artist has flushed out his live performance with a full band, including two drummers. The spacey, complicated, and beautiful set lulled the crowd into a near trance. It’s hard to imagine the amount of practice it took to transform the complicated electronica into something that seemed so perfect for a live audience. If you haven’t heard them, Caribou is a great introduction to the post-rock and indie-electronica scene.

At this point, Quincy, Travis and I separated from Caitlin and Laura, who went to see Fleet Foxes–a chamber pop quintet. We were headed to Fuck Buttons, a transgressive electronic duo. First, we had to sit though the end of Icy Demons’ set, a mediocre Chicago band who seemed to think they’re from Miami. The crowd for Fuck Buttons was an interesting group. There, we met our favorite character of the weekend, PBR Man (think Duff Man meets Will Ferrell from Old School) who introduced himself by grabbing Quincy’s PBR hat and screaming like a drunken frat-boy. A man prone to high fives and yelling, he spent twenty minutes telling about the previous night’s awesome John Mayer concert and how much he loved non-menthol Camel cigarettes. Finally, Fuck Buttons came on; this was the only thing capable of silencing PBR Man. Their set-up included two laptops and a Speak-N-Spell that was circumvented to allow for a reverb on the microphone. This was a pretty intense set, and I’m looking forward to a time where they can play for longer than twenty minutes.

At about 6:00, !!! took the stage. For those who don’t know, the phonetic pronunciation of the exclamation point is “Chk.” If you haven’t heard this band, it’s hard to describe them. They are dancy, upbeat, and fun. Although it takes a few listens to appreciate them, it’s definitely worth the effort. !!! set the crowd on fire, playing for almost an hour, almost never slowing down. The set was fantastic regardless of the fact that I was more than a little inebriated.

The final act of the evening is a personal favorite of mine: Animal Collective. The crowd was split in half here. One half knew the music well and was expecting the psychedelic sounds of the collective, a semi-fluid line up and a strange agreement amongst them makes it difficult to call them a band. The other half of the crowd had no idea what they were getting into, and sadly were none too pleased when the set began with the signature yelps and “woops” found in anything these guys do. The first few tracks were actually from a solo album by member Panda Bear, but this eventually built into a soaring rendition of “Reverend Green,” a song off the newest full length album Strawberry Jams as well as a few tracks from the new Water Curses ep. Unfortunately, the set was limited to one hour, a fact that I can’t help but believe is to be blamed on Public Enemy’s absurdly long set the night before, and was cut short just as they reached their peak.

The day included more than just music, though, and the most memorable event had nothing to do with the festival at all. We were on the train in the morning, minding our own business, reading and what not, when a strange man boarded the same car that we were on. From what I gathered, the train is a place where people sit and talk amongst the members of their party or read; I think that is proper etiquette but this man seemed to disagree. From the moment he stepped on the train, he began to stare, at Laura, at Caitlin, and at me. Finally, he got up the nerve to speak; looking straight at Laura, he said, “You have really nice feet.” Noticeably upset, Laura went back to her reading, and the man (who I should add was a police officer) looked to me and said, “What? She is really pretty.” Eventually, it was time for him to get off the train and he looked at Quincy, who had just yawned, and said, “Good morning, sweetie” and exited.

Day Three coming soon!

No tags for this post.