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Allistair Pinsof's blog

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Allistair Pinsof avatar 7:53 AM on 07.15.2012  (server time)
Pitchfork Music Festival: Day Two (Cloud Nothings, Nicolas Jaar)

My day revolved around heavy rain, poor eating decisions, and catching only half of a band's set, if even that. Since I don't feel comfortable talking at length about a band's set without seeing most of it, I'm going to just run through the list here.

[Read my Day One coverage here]

Lotus Plaza: As generic and dull as the latest album, but a bit louder live. And, geez, these guys are young! If you want to get lost in a rather one-note interpretation of '90s shoegaze, you could do worse.

Liturgy: No drummer = no fun.

Cults: Madeline Follin's vocals sounded pretty bad, but the backing band had good energy. Songs sounded good in live setting.

Sleigh Bells: With two giant amp stacks behind them, these guys lived up to their image. The bass and guitar was loud as hell, but the vocals still shined through. Alexis Krauss swung her hair, screamed like a banshee, and dived into the rather well-behaved audience. Too bad I don't really like their songs, otherwise I would have stuck around.

Chromatics: Pretty but passionless. The half-hearted, monotone, "Thanks for having us Pitchfork" that opened the set said it all. The band sounded just like the record but had no energy or personality at all. It was pretty depressing. Maybe this just wasn't their day, but at least they sounded okay.

Hot Chip: Caught these guys while standing up front for God Speed! The group focused on their more energetic dance anthems, which are the side of the group that I really don't care for. They touched on some classics ("Over and Over", "Ready for the Floor"), but most of it was the rather simple-minded dance songs of their latest release. They put on a good live show but the set wasn't doing it for me.

God Speed! You Black Emperor: I never been a fan of the group, but I figured I'd give them a chance. Anything is better than Grimes, I thought. Once the band broke into a 10 minute drone, I decided I'd be better off unloading my bladder and getting on an early train home. Exciting, I know.

Cloud Nothings

Attack on Memory is my favorite album released so far this year, so Cloud Nothings had a lot to live up to. Fortunately, they delivered spectacularly. Unfortunately, their set was cut short either by the rain or scheduling.

The group opened with their catchiest song "Stay Useless", which wasn't quite the crowd-pleaser it could have been. Maybe it's just me, but I felt kind of lethargic at this point and wanted a heavier opener. It didn't take long for me to get what I wanted, however. The group then jumped into "Fall In" and "Seperation" which got the crowd in a frenzy. This mosh pit was more aggressive than the previous one at Japandroid, as it contained a fair amount of older, male fans who probably did a fair amount of thrashing during the early days of Fugazi.

The highlight of the set an day had to be the epic 9-minute "Wasted Days" which felt much longer live. In perfect coordination with the rain, as the song built-up, the rain poured harder. By the time the finale hit, the rain got everyone drenched and the audience freaked out over the final yelps of "I thought I'd be more than this." I just wish the band had time to play the other three songs off the album.

Youth Lagoon

Perhaps you think differently but Youth Lagoon to me are basically Beach House meets Memory Tapes without the ear for great melodies or variety. That being said, the duo sounded great live. The wimpy bass on the album became a booty-shaking rumble. People that came for Schoolboy Q and Danny Brown's sets suddenly didn't seem so out of place, as they danced to the tracks.

"Posters", "Afternoon" and "17" were great live, even though two of them were ruined by not properly mixing the guitar at first. The rest of the tracks sound too similar but lack the hooks and energy of those three. I'm just not a big enough fan of them, I guess, but I appreciated the more bass-heavy sound they brought to the set.

Nicolas Jaar

Jaar's set leaned more toward minimal techno and ambient than the dub-infused sounds of his awesome debut album. Unlike Tim Hecker's set yesterday, my legs just weren't up to standing to hear such innocuous music.

Jaar was accompanied by a guitarist and saxophonist but they rarely contributed. They did bring a certain mood and energy to the stage at times, though. As evidenced by Jaar's last release, he is going in a more dance-oriented direction and this live set really showed that. He's a really good live performer, knowing when to drop a beat and change things up but I just couldn't get into it. This festival has finally taken its toll on me, I guess.

Today, I'll be checking out Kendrick Lamar, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Vampire Weekend.

If you are at the festival and would like to meet-up message me at @Dtoidallistair or Allistair at Destructoid dot com.


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