Pitchfork Day 1: Radio K coverage

Raghav Mehta

Here are some morsels from our friends at Radio K:

Friday was the first day of the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. It was a very long day for the Radio K crew, but enough about us. Let’s talk about the music, the people, and the festivities!

The Tallest Man on Earth (Kristian Matsson) was an early highlight of the day. His soulful performance, intricate guitar-work and solid vocals set the bar high for the acts to come. Pitchfork ran a tight ship and, surprisingly, as soon as the Tallest Man on Earth was done, hip-hop artist El-P was ready to go. “Do you guys like puppies?” is what I heard. In retrospect, that doesn’t make a ton of sense, but whatever he did say got the audience’s attention, and the party began. The energy level was high for the performers and the audience alike, despite the heat. Jaime Meline (El-P) rapped with conviction over piercing synthesizers with the right amount of steam to keep things moving. A later synthesizer riff sounded like it could have come from a sci-fi version of "The Dark Knight."

Broken Social Scene played music from all of their albums, including new tracks “All to All" and "Texico Bitches." There were some technical and production difficulties with the show, but they did not hinder Broken Social Scene from putting on a great show. Guitar and saxophone interplay livened the crowd and by the end we were satisfied.

-Peter Jon

I was super stoked to see Liars, whose performance-art piece of a set was as weird I was hoping. Frontman Angus Andrew was (creepily?) decked out in retro gym shorts and a Men At Work Tee, wailing around with limp hands and frantic yelps while the band played almost entirely "Sisterworld" material. Andrew opened the set by telling the crowd to “have a go at the water station in my pants” anytime they felt like getting on stage. I’m just guessing, but I doubt that would have gone over well. His antics seemed vaguely Iggy Pop-ian, though an older woman next to me noted that she heard—and saw—some Korn (yes, that Korn) influence. Toward the end of the set, they broke into a cover of Bauhaus’s “In The Flat Field”, which they seemed more energized by than their own songs. They closed out with a hypnotic version of “Proud Evolution.”

Modest Mouse closed out the night with an amazing show, opening things off right with a superb, near-nine-minute version of “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes” which sounded almost like an entirely different song. The band almost looked like Broken Social Scene up there at times, with up to seven people playing at once—including trumpets, standup bass, an accordian and Brock’s
own banjo. By the fourth song—a sexily slow rendition of “Satellite Skin”—the crowd was throwing glowsticks and dancing and singing along. Other highlights included a Tom Waits-y version of “The Devil’s Workday” and several songs from "The Moon and Antarctica." Modest Mouse definitely played more older material than anyone else on Day 1. After leaving the stage, they came back for a two-song encore, with a haunting version of “Gravity Rides Everything” and ending things for a good with the kick-in-the-balls of “Black Cadillacs.”


Stay tuned for Day 2 coverage!