Pitchfork Day One recap

Mark Brenden

Pitchfork 2010 began in predictable fashion. Dance bands played to a beat that outpaced the not-yet-comfortable shoe gazers in the crowd, the Jumbotron ran an ad that showed Rolling Stone banally dubbing the festival “The Indie Rock Mecca” and the comedian tent was rocked by hackneyed hipster stereotyping jokes. Thankfully, Modest Mouse came and swept up the mess. The evening began with the sort of nervous antics that lurk at the treacherous beginnings of middle school dances. Folks were hippie dancing but self-conscience — hiding beind square, dark sunglasses. The bands — Broken Social Scene, Liars, Robyn — were on-point but unable to stir anything behind casual head-bobbing. The comedy tent was highlighted by Wyatt Cenat’s politically charged jokes that strangely seemed to resonate with the pasty crowd, the majority of which likely bears Facebook political views of “Apathetic.” Then the much-anticipated funny man Michael Showalter took the stage, and a hard rain of comic gracelessness a-fell. Having proved himself as a genuine cackle provider in “Wet Hot American Summer” and “Stella,” it was heart-breaking to witness his act quickly become a therapy session. He started out all right, relying on sheer charisma, then got distracted either by the annoying police sirens, Broken Social Scene rocking across the park or a feeling of being completely misplaced — perhaps all three. You could see him feel the crowd slip away as he joked, “I’m dying inside.” From there, fans migrated — solemnly side-winded by Showalter’s painful bombing — towards Stage A where Modest Mouse was about to save the night. You could see the deference on the faces of the sweaty masses as the Indie O.G.’s took the stage. It was like seeing Pearl Jam rock in 2000 except, ya know, really good. They played a rousing set that perhaps peaked at its Genesis, with the always-tweaking Isaac Brock performing a freestyle poetic cowboy ramble atop “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes.” They returned with the ultra-chill “Gravity Rides Everything,” whose calming vibes seemed to appease the particularly recalcitrant fest go-ers who were partaking in mid-song marijuana sessions. Then the Mouse flipped the script on said stoners and closed with the comparatively hard-rocking “Black Cadillacs.” Keep an eye on our blog to see fellow MPLS representatives Radio K’s perspectives and follow us on Twitter at @mndailyae. Photos by Jules Ameel.