Pitchfork Music Festival Day 2 Recap

by Mark Brenden

Day two of any festival is going to be about recovery. Be it drugs, alcohol, music or a combination, those who saw day one of Pitchfork Music Festival were looking for anything to whip them back into shape. It came eventually, but they had to wait for it.

A one in the afternoon (morning to fest-goers) DJ set was a strange hair-of-the-dog approach to pulling the groggy crowd out of its ditch. Dead Mau5-via-Napoleon Dynamite DJ Chrissy Murderbot kicked off the day with at the Blue Stage with an endearing effort, but found himself at the wrong end of 20,000 hangovers. His energetic sidekick, MC Zulu, would be better described as Hype Man Zulu. The dance Hall/Reggae, uh, artist was clearly going off the dome with his megaphone chants over Murderbot’s party beats. Refrains of “festival … madness,” “Chicago, Chicago” and “Front Row” dominated Zulu’s adlibbed lyrics. I was waiting for him to start reading t-shirts.

While things were getting goofy on the Blue Stage, they were getting all ecclesiastical on the Green Stage. Julianna Barwick cast her spellbinding soundscape onto the crowd like it was the imperius curse. While indeed her loop-y vocal arrangements are ambitious and impressive, her set was about as exciting as watching paint dry, then erode.

Much of the rest of the day begged for a nap. As the sun rose, so did the atmospheric pop. Woods, Sun Airway and Wild Nothing really did nothing to keep you interested. Destroyer played an airtight set of their meticulously crafted tunes, but the smooth sex-ophone vibes and poetic reflections would have been better fit for a cross-legged, headphone endeavor in an air-conditioned room.

Noise pop duo No Age and geriatric, Keith Morris fronted punkers Off! proceeded to kick all of the atmospheric pop in where its balls would be if it had any. Alabama hip-hop duo G-Side were also a day two highlight. It could be weird for any hip-hop act to play a festival of primarily white indie kids who would rather stand stationary and smoke cigarettes than back that skinny, pasty thang up. But G-Side clearly enjoyed themselves; their call and response doesn’t lie: “Ain’t no party like a Pitchfork party ’cause a Pitchfork party don’t stop.”

But the night belonged to its headliner. Fleet Foxes gave the festival what it needed in the face of all the up-and-comers and masturbatory soundscapers that preceded them — a band in its prime. Led by Robin Pecknold’s mystic presence, the band seemed completely comfortable in their grandiose melody-based set, which included “Your Protector,” “White Winter Hymnal” and the perfect closer “Helplessness Blues.” There is a consistency behind the diversity in the Foxes’ epiphanic folk catalog. Pecknold sings high school poetry verses until suddenly the band becomes aroused, and the entire group explodes into a musical Big O. There are few things that better accompany a sunset.