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Wolf Parade @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

Wolf Parade @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

I’ve enjoyed every Wolf Parade album they’ve released, but man seeing them live just drives home how great that first record and EP are. Hearing “This Heart’s On Fire” and “Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts” were definite festival highlights. But I knew that already. I’ve seen Wolf Parade before and had my mind blown by those very same songs. The crazy thing is how much I found myself enjoying all the new material. “What Did My Lover Say” sounded like strong, classic Wolf Parade; I’d love to hear it thump away as a set-closer one day.

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the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

When Pitchfork first announced Jon Spencer Blues Explosion would be playing their festival I was like “…huh?” Being of the younger persuasion, I missed out on the height of JSBE’s popularity and only had a loose knowledge of them. But a few seconds into their set, I completely understood why he’d been invited. Even people who weren’t that familiar with JSBE (like me) had to be at least a little bit impressed with Jon’s set. The guy is a wild man on stage and an even wilder man on the guitar.

the Smith Westerns @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

the Smith Westerns @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

I didn’t get to stay long for the Smith Westerns, but I really liked what I saw. A lot of bands seem to be doing the T Rex thing these days, but their second or third song absolutely nailed it. As I walked away, I found myself hoping that they make an appointment to play Kentucky very, very soon.

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Raekwon @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

Raekwon @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

True to hip hop artist form, Raekwon was a little late coming out to take the stage. Apparently he had good reasons, though: his kid was sick with food poisoning and his DJ’s laptop was pretty much overheating. But with only a slight delay, Raekwon took the stage and gave us one of the best apologies you can offer — Wu-Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M.” Sah-weet. He transitioned into some solo material for a bit and I had to head off to catch the Smith Westerns.

When I returned after a while, Rae had brought out a group of four young breakdancers who showed their stuff during performances of “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing to Fuck With” (definitely kid friendly!), “Protect Ya Neck” and “Wu Ooh.”

Titus Andronicus @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

Titus Andronicus @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

I haven’t gotten around to listening to Titus Andronicus’ new record, but that’s #1 on my To Do list after seeing them at Pitchfork. They were possibly the best example from the festival of a band that threw 100% out at the crowd and got 200% reflected back. It’s really hard to say whether the band or the crowd was more involved. When they jumped into (the opener?) “A More Perfect Union,” I thought the front row was going to explode. Great, great performance.

Kurt Vile @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

Kurt Vile @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

I’ve really started to like Kurt Vile in the past year or so. The couple of albums/EP I’ve picked up have been really good. Unfortunately live he seems to sacrifice some clarity at the altar of distortion and it really overpowered. He had a harpist up there, but I don’t think I was able to hear her once. But hey, his vocals came through alright, and that’s more than we usually get. Now I just need to catch him during one of his many stops in Kentucky.

Modest Mouse @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

Modest Mouse @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

Modest Mouse. Modest Mouse. I’ve had such a strange history with Modest Mouse. They put on a great show the first time I saw them in Louisville, but the 100+ degree heat in the venue kind of blocked out any memories besides my discomfort. The next time I saw them, the show was fairly lame, but they had Johnny Marr in tow — definitely a plus. And though I only stuck around for four or five songs, I think this show might have been the first to have no immediately apparent minuses.

They started off with the familiar riff from “Tiny Cities Made of Ash” and (I think) stretched the already lengthy song out even longer. That’s one that I always pray they play, so it set the opening bar pretty high. And though the set seemed headed in the right direction, I still couldn’t help but wish that they were doing one of those Don’t Look Back concerts. How great would it have been to get the entirety of The Moon and Antarctica.

Broken Social Scene @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

Broken Social Scene @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

My third time seeing Broken Social Scene played out pretty much like my first — which also took place at Pitchfork. Everyone else seemed to be having a great time, but I couldn’t help from feeling antsy and checking the time every few minutes. The second time I saw them (Lollapalooza) was pretty good and definitely amped up my limited fandom, but this one was a step backwards.

I do have to say that the songs from their new record sounded better live than they do on the LP. “World Sick” benefitted from the live punch, as did “Forced to Love.” The problem is that neither they, nor any of the older tracks managed to hit the high water mark they established last time I saw them. And really, if Besnard Lakes can absolutely bowl me over with a song I’ve never heard before (“And This Is What We Call Progress”), BSS should be able to entertain me with songs I know.

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Robyn @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

Robyn @ Pitchfork 7.17.10

Before Robyn took the stage, I told a fellow photographer that I was pretty sure this would be one of those sets where I later listened to more of the band’s music and regretted not being more familiar with them (her) when I saw the show. Two minutes in, I knew that would be the case. Robyn puts on a fantastic show. She’s like the white Janelle Monae. Even though I didn’t know any of the songs she played while I was there, I loved them nonetheless.

Now my mission is clear: study up on Robyn’s CDs and see her again as a more knowledgeable and more prepared fan.


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