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PreFork: Pitchfork Music Festival Friday Preview

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 15, 2008 5:35PM

Public EnemyThe Pitchfork Music Festival kicks off its 2008 edition this weekend at Union Park, and we're going to highlight some of the "can't miss" acts of the weekend on Chicagoist over the next few days. Today we'll tackle the Friday night line-up, filled with nostalgia, brio, blood, sweat, tears, and louder than a Bomb Squad production.

Friday is jointly curated by Pitchfork and All Tomorrow's Parties, an organization famous for putting on shows where bands perform classic albums from their own history in their entirety. We thought is was going to be nigh impossible to top last year's performance of Daydream Nation by Sonic Youth, but we think Friday's headliner might just be up to the task.

Public Enemy
will be recreating their classic It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back. We haven't seen the band perform in almost 18 years, but in that time the album's cuts have only grown stronger and stand untarnished by the ravages of time, trends, and finicky public opinion.We expect there's going to be a lot of jaw-dropping among folks who have been brought up thinking of Chuck D is a gentle elder statesman and of Flava Flav as some sort of skewed cartoon. Public Enemy is pure intensity, and we think the intervening years have only increased the pressure and upped the ante.

2008_07_pfork_logo.jpgA different sort of intensity pervades Sebadoh's Bubble And Scrape. Lou Barlow makes his first of two Festival appearances -- the other will be with Dinosaur Jr on Sunday -- as he recreates the indie rock masterpiece he created with Eric Gaffney 15 years ago. it's lo-fi ruminations of heartbreak, raw emotion, and blunt honesty still grates with its uncomfortable honesty. Emo may have officialy been launched by Rites of Spring, but we think it can be argues that today's sensitive types probably owe more to Lou Barlow than Guy Picciotto. Bubble And Scrape was recently reissued, remastered, and expanded -- offering a look into what else the group was working on at the time -- but the album's original 17 tracks still stand out as some of the last true sounds of indie rock before it was co-opted by the corporate alt-rock universe.

Opening the evening is Mission Of Burma, recreating what was for much of their career their only album, Vs. The post-punk masterpiece was marked by its jagged guitars, intense -- there's that word again -- sloganeering, and the wild tape manipulations of soundman Martin Swope. Swope has since retired and been replaced by Shellac's Bob Weston, but the original trio of Roger Miller, Clint Conley, and Peter Prescott still stands strong. Their performance at 2006's Pitchfork remains one of our personal highlights, so the idea of seeing them recreate their masterwork in it's entirety has us suitably jazzed.

The Pitchfork Music Festival takes place at Union Park this weekend, July 18-20, and some tickets are still available.

Image of Public Enemy from the band's website