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For Those Who Were Sleeping off the After Parties ...

By Lizz Kannenberg in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 16, 2007 5:07PM

Chicagoist had the foresight to divide the days of the Pitchfork Music Festival amongst ourselves, so as to offer you, the reader, consistent, non-sunburned coverage of as much of the weekend as possible. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the breakfast-slot hits and misses from the past two days:


Voxtrot surprised with a buoyant set of danceable candy on Saturday afternoon. On record their synth-pop is passable but not extraordinary, yet they took full advantage of the opportunity to play for the concentrated indie fandom gathered at Union Park and kicked out a memorable set.

Grizzly Bear’s mid-Saturday-afternoon performance was perhaps one of the most anticipated of the weekend, as the mood-driven ambiance and haunting melodies of their 2006 effort, Yellow House, struck many as one of the best albums that year. While the band certainly delivered on their recorded promises — complicated, thoughtful song structures with gospel-like vocal harmonies — something of the delicacy in the music was lost in translation to the massive outdoor festival environment.

Battles is a difficult set for Chicagoist to weigh in on, as we were relegated by a beer and Pot-O-Potty run to the very back of the crowd. From that vantage point, there wasn’t much variation in their instrumental psych-out rock, but our colleagues in the photo pit would tell you that the band’s deft ability with their instruments and intricate interplay was highly impressive up close.


The Sea and Cake may hold some sort of reverence for many slightly older fans of independent music, with whom this Chicagoist writer most often agrees, but we weren’t blown away by the sleepy sameness of their set. Perhaps it was “indie rock” overload, but the cake we enjoyed most during this performance was the funnel variety.

Jamie Lidell was the between-the-eyes surprise of the festival for this writer, as he stalked around the stage in a silk robe and party hat, mixing smart dance beats with soulful vocals. Though we were camped out across the park for Stephen Malkmus, we couldn’t help but smile at Lidell’s quirky, feel-good performance.

Speaking of Stephen Malkmus … someone put us out of our misery. As huge Pavement fans, we spent the 90 minutes before his set holding onto our dusty patch of ground in front of the stage, fighting sunburn, spilled beer, and unwashed humans to have the best possible position from which to hear our hero perform the soundtrack to our nerdly youth, but without a band Malkmus was underwhelming and decidedly dull.