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The Chicagoist Guide to the Pitchfork Music Festival: Part One

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 25, 2006 2:30PM

2006_07_pitchfork_day_01_preview_malkmus_shirt.JPGThis weekend brings us the music festival we’ve really been looking forward to. We had so much fun at last year’s Pitchfork-curated Intonation Festival, and we’re pleased to see the group has decided to forgo any partnerships this time around and run the whole shebang by themselves. And, honestly, isn’t that better? We now get two cool indie rock fests a year instead of just one!

Anyway, Chicagoist is going to be all over this thing again with a feverish devotion that might make Jandek fans seem sedate and removed. In order to get you just as psyched as we are, we’ve decided to put together a little primer for you on all of the main bands as well as a few side-stage performers. This way, when that cute little indie rocker sidles up to you and lights up your life with their pale reflective skin, you won’t look like a mealy mouthed fool who doesn’t know his Malkmus from his Matmos. (No, Malkmus isn’t playing; we just like the way it flowed with Matmos, who is playing.)

So get your sealed water and non-professional digital camera ready, and meet us after the jump for the low-down on the acts slated to appear on day one, Saturday July 29.

Hot Machines – The Hot Machines are from Chicago and have the unenviable task of trying to rock out with their garage rock as fest attendees are starting to stream in and claim their patches of grass. However when your guitarist also leads The Ponys and your other guitarist is Miss Alex White, well then, they might just be the band that is up to the task. Once they finish up, run, do not walk, over to the Biz 3 tent to catch the Flosstradamus collective remind people what a party DJ really sounds like.

Chin Up Chin Up – Chin Up Chin Up sort of does a dance-rock thing, as long as you enjoy dancing while stoned on barbiturates. Actually, their loping rhythms and deeply textured compositions are quite lovely, and we’re interested to see how they translate to the open atmosphere of Union Park.

Man Man – Seriously, these guys sound like Tom Waits on acid. That’s awesome. Their live shows are great huge theatrical debacles, and we’re betting they might be the ones to usurp the “Les Savy Fav Craziest Moment” award at this year’s fest.

Band of Horses – We could write these cats off as a Built To Spill cover band, but we enjoy their debut too much to be that simply snarky. Fans of the aforementioned group, Neil Young and Uncle Tupelo will all enjoy this group’s tunes. We are a little apprehensive, since reports of their live shows point to sets that vary wildly in quality, but we’re going to cross our fingers and expect to be blown away.

Mountain Goats – Okay, we have to admit it. This is the one band we’re not really drooling over on the whole schedule today. We did enjoy We Shall All Be Healed, but we have just never really gotten into their skewed tunes, but hey, maybe their live set will totally change our mind. We’re certainly open to that.

2006_07_pitchfork_day_01_preview_crowd.jpgDestroyer – Most people know Dan Bejar from his “side project” The New Pornographers, but in the guise of Destroyer he began by singing fractured folk buoyed by wisps of melody. The band’s sound has evolved over time and now could be simply classified as classy pop. Covered by a dark cloud.

Art Brut – In the only scheduling mishap of the day, Art Brut is going head-to-head with Spank Rock in the Biz 3 tent. Now, there is no way we want to miss Art Brut’s comically frenzied art pop, but this is also the only chance to catch Spank Rock. So do what we’re going to do. Catch Art Brut the night before at The Empty Bottle so this slot can be filled with some sexy and sassy hip-hop.

Ted Leo & Rx – We love Ted Leo. We saw him at The Empty Bottle a few years ago, on that tour where he lost his voice and had to cancel a bunch of shows. It was at our show that he blew his voice out … and then he kept playing. His live shows are never less than thrilling, and we think he’ll do a terrific job Saturday.

The Walkmen – We weren’t really impressed by The Walkmen’s last disc but that has not dampened our appetite for their live show. As a matter of fact, if they just got on-stage and played “The Rat” over and over again for 50 minutes we’d be pleased as punch. Luckily for you we don’t think they’re going to do that, so prepare yourself for a rock and/or roll set laced with ferocity.

The Futureheads – The Futureheads will far and away be this day's highlight. Their sophomore effort wasn’t as perfect as their debut, but their live shows are always super-duper tight and never fail to impress. If they cover “Hounds Of Love” or “Modern Love” it will take everything in our power not to jump onto the stage and start hugging each of the guys.

Silver Jews – A lot of people learned of The Silver Jews as being “that band Malkmus and Nastanovich played with in-between Pavement albums.” And then, once that was out of the way, they fell in love with David Berman’s deliciously depressed melodies. The group’s live appearances are rarer than a dodo, so this performance should be a real treat. Personally we sort of wish this was earlier in the day, since his sedate melodies might be plowed under by the high energy of the preceding bands, but perhaps this will also provide a lovely moment of communality as the first day draws to a close.

The Chicagoist Guide to the Pitchfork Music Festival: Part Two is here.