What the hell was with the stage arrangements on this date? The Balance Stage shows, supposed to be more experimental, were either hopelessly boring, distracting to the mainstage shows, or packed with more audience members than the mainstage shows. In its quest to put artistic quality above economics, the brass at Pitchfork neglected to understand the best way to manage the quirks of all the bands they invited, the timing of sets, and most of all, what ticket buyers demanded. Forget economics: it’s much worse to relegate the bands your audience came to see to smaller spaces just because you like other bands more. Whether or not this was a symptom of Pitchfork writer’s oft-criticized jaded bias, it certainly appeared that way. I think a serious reevaluation of how the festival manages which band goes where, and when, is in order for next year.
Damian Abraham: “Doesn’t the new Animal Collective album sound like Phish? I hate Animal Collective.” I’ll be damned; he has a point.
The Wonder Bread Crowd at MF Doom’s set, the first hip-hop act at Pitchfork exposed the ugly truth about the racial dynamic of Pitchfork’s audience. It became impossible to ignore afterwards.
Most notable fashion trend:
I spotted no fewer than three handlebar mustaches, 5 sets of mutton chops, and 2 of these shirts. Is anachronistic facial hair becoming the new male earring?
Most encouraging crowd trend:
In a crowd that was overwhelmingly younger than Friday’s, the cigarette smoking dropped remarkably. No one was stopping people from smoking at the fest: they just weren’t. It’s hard to complain about healthier lungs, with the exception for those smoking grass.
Best in Show:
The National. The only set that felt like it could be performed at the Hollywood Bowl, and the only act that I wanted to see at the Hollywood Bowl 20 years from now.
Worst in Show:
Bowerbirds. A band only really significant for a mildly positive review on Pitchfork and opening for the Mountain Goats, Bowerbirds owes most of its fame to John Darnielle’s Billy Graham-like effect on his fans at his live shows. Bowerbirds were such a snoozer that made fellow Saturday snoozers Yeasayer seem like the Throbbing Gristle in comparison. Bowerbirds’ set was only worth it if you were still recovering from Fucked Up and there was no Vallium on hand.