The Future Arrives
As I rolled by the Addison Red Line stop on the L, passing by the lowly Cubs drawing a lowly attendance for a day game, like Martin Sheen witnessing the “horror” of Vietnam in Apocalypse Now, the singular thought on my mind concerned theoretically how much I had to bribe the CTA worker to speed along and turn this train into an express train. I nervously anticipated my late arrival. While I transferred to the Green Line, I sped up the stairs, trying to move along the cattle like parade of apathetic youths dressed in skinny jeans and Converse. I kept checking the clock on my phone. I was running low on time, sweating and panting from my constant movement. It was Day 3 of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and there was one show in particular I did not want to miss: [lastfm]Odd Future Wolfgang Kill Them All[/lastfm]. It was not necessarily because of what they would play that intrigued me so much; rather, it was what they would do, and how the people would react.
The attendance soared on Sunday, as did the temperature, much more than the previous two days. Muggy, sticky, dehydrated, and lethargic, it seemed like everyone at Pitchfork was moving like molasses. Yet one show captivated the audience at Union Park Sunday, and they took the stage at 3:20 in the afternoon. Odd Future leader Tyler the Creator graced the stage, cool and comfortable despite only being just a teenager, and watched the universe of insanity he has created, conducting the afternoon marauders of his wrecking crew from his stool. His mobility was restricted, confined to a cast on his leg due to a stage diving accident a few weeks earlier. Yet it didn’t stop Tyler from diving again, as he surfed the waves of elevated hands even with a cast on. Odd Future took the floor, resurrecting a sun soaked crowd, previously listless in a perspiratory haze. The occasion breeze blessed the sweating patrons as well.
Along with their music, Odd Future brought some of their baggage, too. Their lyrics and themes deviate from any morally coherent principles, ranging from burning and killing to the hatred of Steve Harvey. Many artists at concerts plead for the crowd to wave their hand in the air, but Odd Future chose to concentrate on the middle finger. They even gave a shout out to domestic violence, and Tyler sat there proudly in his tie-dye peace shirt. He’s a walking paradox. Or maybe he’s not. It’s all a character. A colorful, wild, and angry representation of the digital underground of the Wild West of music that the internet has become, rising the hip hop ranks with downloadable mix tapes. No other artist during this three-day festival garnered more buzz and controversy as Odd Future. And the self aware Tyler even acknowledged this by dedicating their last song to every hater, protestor, and dissenter that came to wag their finger. Mosh pits of sweat producing craziness, among a swarm of profanity-laced prayers filled Union Park. Their mission is to create a reaction. And they certainly made a memorable impression.
[photogallerylink id=88861 align=left]After taking a detour through the land of nostalgia that inhabits Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, the time came for arguable indie rock’s premier band of recent years. Erupting from a ambient, shoegazing, toe-phasing rush of post-Phish celestial jam rock, Atlanta’s Deerhunter commanded the stage right away with their oldie, “Hazel St”. Then came “Don’t Cry”, the second track on the record that Pitchfork claims is a tribute to the enjoyment of music, Halcyon Digest, arguably their strongest effort in their young career. Then, just like the final notes ring in “Don’t Cry”, frontman Bradford Cox takes that sound and lets it effortless bleed right into the southern gothic throwback “Revival”, mirroring the album itself on stage.
Cox and his bandmates mixed their ambient punk sound with more traditional indie rock as they jammed into a soothingly, rapturously dream poppy set. They transitioned from song to song so tightly, woven together like the Avatar guy was with his dragon-bird. Their lyrics lingered, their sound soared, their rhythm resonated, and their melodies magnified the tirelessly post wave, no wave distorted echoing noise that invaded a crowd of thousands. Cox specializes in playfully haunting guitar lines, especially on their Halcyon Digest single, “Helicopter”. Over driven, effects ridden, Deerhunter captivates by pursuing a sentimental sound galvanized by loop pedals. Then for the next seven minutes we all gracefully floated along to the spiritually mesmerizing tribute to Jay Reatard, in “He Would Have Laughed”. Effortlessly and relentlessly, Deerhunter synthesized together a wondrous example of the beauty of music. In other words, a fantastic transition into the headliner of the night, TV on the Radio.
[photogallerylink id=88917 align=left]We stayed put and camped out 25 feet right of the Green Stage in preparation for the culmination of three days of summertime euphoria, enhanced of course by five dollar Heinekens. Brooklyn’s TV on the Radio came on as the festival’s final act, and as usual, they held back no punches. They erupted on stage like Mt. Vesuvius, prepping the crowd with a whirlwind of clapping like the student section for a Duke University basketball game. The clapping provided the foundation of enthusiasm and groove for the explosive opener, “Halfway Home”, which I won a bet with my friend that they would start with that first. Guitarist Kyp Malone, looking like a hipster version of ZZ Top, strummed along with the bee like buzzing sound emerging from the fuzzy and distorted amps. “Halfway Home” galvanized the high energy of their set, never pausing to take a breath. They followed with another track from their critically acclaimed album, Dear Science, entitled “Dancing Choose”, with lead singer Tunde Adebimpe crying out “¿Cómo que?” “¿Qué Más!”, while he hopped across the stage like a pogo stick, doing his best “foam injected Axl Rose. They continued with a series of new tunes from their most recent record, Nine Types of Light, including “Caffeinated Consciousness, a song as over charged in its beats as it is with its name. There was no controversy here, with TV on the Radio. Just a damn good conclusion put on my Brooklyn’s finest.