Sunday is supposed to be the best day of any weekend festival, and in the case of Pitchfork 2009, the festival delivered on its promise and then some. After inconsistencies, caveats, and various missteps on the first two days, Sunday was so full of great acts that it was almost impossible to keep up. In fact, Sunday's set list was so good that you almost wished that some acts could have been spread out over the two days. Choosing between the Walkmen and Japoandroids, the Vivian Girls and M83, and most of all, the Flaming Lips and the Very Best proved one of the most stressful decisions I had to make all festival (but stressful in a good way). Because of that, there was far too much to cover as one man. Here's as much as I could get a good grasp on.
Bands of Note:
After the tragic death of guitarist Stephanie Morris, it would be easy to expect very little from Dianogah, one of the better under-the-radar Chicago bands of the past 10 years. Yet, their bass-backed set somehow sounded as good as most punk acts of the fest, even after scrambling for a new guitarist just a month after Morris’ death. It’s unclear whether this was the last hurrah for the band that has been a fixture since 1995, but it was certainly worth seeing
After the success of 2008’s The Midnight Organ Fight, many people saw the long-standing kings of Scottish folk to be a band at their best when they’re playing an acoustic set to a small group of dedicated fans. It was rather impressive, then, to see that the band could manage a festival setting with electric guitars, undeniable stage presence and a punk brashness, all without losing the charms of what made them such a folk favorite. Things were so good early in the festival that it was hard to keep up even with the revered bands on Sunday. It’s hard to call Frightened Rabbit underrated, but their set was easy to overlook.
Many fans were calling Furr the best album of 2008, a label I resisted giving the Portland folk-rockers until seeing their phenomenal set Saturday afternoon. It would have easily been the best set on Friday, and with Woodstock’s 40th anniversary on the mind, I was thinking of the Band throughout the entire set. Blitzen Trapper may be as good as The Band ever was, and I don’t think that’s hyperbole. They have two revered albums, and they may only get better. They also have at least three songs that sound rather good compared to “The Weight.”