Pitchfork Day 1: All Tomorrow's Parties

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 14, 2007 4:40PM

2007_07_sypfork.jpgThe first day of the Pitchfork Music Festival showcased three classic acts, performing their classic albums. Slint re-created their seminal Spiderland, and while watching their set we realized that they are definitely one of those bands everyone name-checks, but almost no one has actually heard. Kind of like how dudes in the '90s would talk about how awesome Patti Smith's Horses was because that was just the sort of thing you were supposed to say. We were pleased to see them though, and suspect that the small portion of the crowd that did love the band finally saw their dream come true through their live set; and we suspect that the rest of the folks in the crowd were probably won over by the band's slinky melodies and explorations deep into their own cavernous sound.

GZA was up next to play his high water mark, Liquid Swords. Looking around the crowd it was then that we realized that for this current generation, GZA and the Wu-Tang Clan are like their Nirvana, or R.E.M., or Minutemen, or Sonic Youth; they were the artists that spoke to them, and broke through to them, and showed them what music was capable of, at an early age. We enjoyed the show, and vibed off the crowd's energy as we got closer to the stage, but we also admit not feeling the emotional connection or visceral thrill that was evident throughout most of the crowd. We personally like hip-hop better when it's performed in a club where the beats can truly envelop us, but we enjoyed the set nonetheless.

And then came Sonic Youth.

While the crowd paid attention to Slint, and grew more energetic for GZA, it was obvious just about everyone was really there to Sonic Youth's performance of Daydream Nation. And the older art-rockers did not disappoint. When they ripped into "Teen Age Riot" to start the set, the crowd exploded, attempting to match the furious guitars, rolling bass, and cacaphonic drums leaping off the stage with an equal return of energy. But the crowd was no match for Sonic Youth massive presence and submitted happily to the band's attack. The energy seeped all the way around the park, and the backstage area was packed with musical luminaries (including Spoon's Britt Daniel, making a stop on the way to his own show at Schuba's later that night) held captive by their heroes.

BEST LINE OF THE DAY: As Time Tuten tried to introduce Sonic Youth to a hostile crowd he said, "What are you going to do? Start a 'Middle-aged Riot?'" Sadly we think the joke was lost on most of the audience, but we thought it was pretty darn funny.

Photo of Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore by Jim Kopeny. See lots of pictures from Day 1 of the Pitchfork Music Festival at the Chicagoist Flickr page.