Pitchfork Music Festival, Day Three
Samedi was upon me and it was the third and final day of the Pitchfork Music Festival, it also marked my imminent departure from lovely Paris. Upon arrival, I found myself a spot in the crowd for Sky Ferreira‘s set. Donning a black wig, the petite singer was every bit as pouty and sullen as her recent troubles in the media with drugs, and endless photoshoots with Terry Richardson had made her out to be. She played that bubble-gum synth track, Everything is Embarrassing, and the Dev Hynes-produced brain-numbing number, Lost In My Bedroom, and I was mostly satisfied. Next!
Keeping the lazy momentum was Youth Lagoon (pictured, top). They played several really enjoyable songs, and then a bunch more that sounded similar. To a seldom listener of the band, I was less impressed than what my preconceptions had set up for me, and soon found myself thumbing through items at the Rough Trade stall midway through their set.
American electro wiz Baths took to the stage next wearing his running gear. He was shrouded in thick green smog for the majority of his glitchy set. He powered through numbers that I really enjoyed; the only thing that was a little off-kilter was that his vocals seemed to range from gaily pop, to sounding like vocal samples from a Fall Out Boy track. It was weird, didn’t fit the songs and I found it uncomfortable to enjoy.
Omar Souleyman (pictured, below) performed next to thousands of delighted punters. I was quite surprised by the massive fanbase that had gathered and even dressed up in costume like him. The crowd collectively grooved to the songs with some weird interpretive dance, oscillating wrists in the air in a fashion that was halfway between what I expect a Middle Eastern wedding dance would look like and the ‘bang-gang’. Souleyman performed with a calm confidence, pacing from one side of the stage to the other, robotic arms were clapped perfectly in time with the jilting beats, and his sunglasses were kept firmly on at all times.
Panda Bear, a lone producer of Animal Collective fame, performed within a thicket of smoke and intrusive lasers. With impressive electric visuals smothering him, Panda Bear played earthy, dreamy, loop-laden tunes to a stationary, head bopping crowd. Very enjoyable, but I’m not sure that it was entirely appropriate set placing, as his set sat between a boppy (but dull and repetitive) indie set from Yo La Tengo, and Hot Chip who were to follow.
Tonight’s acts were to flow right into the wee hours of the morning. Performing til sunrise were Hot Chip, Glass Candy, Todd Terje and finally, for the keen and well inebriated, A-Trak. Having seen Hot Chip at many a festival (they are very welcome at all Australian festivals it seems), I observed the crowds from the restricted view of the balcony as the band pumped out their hits, Over and Over, Ready for the Floor and a favourite from a few years back, Boys from School. Bodies rippled in waves, the entire room was at capacity with people grooving.
The recent passing of Lou Reed had prompted many a tribute at the festival throughout the few days, there was a drunken, leery group singalong to White Light/White Heat on the shuttle bus late one night, and many conversations in passing were quoting the singers’ death. Hot Chip performed a rendition of Velvet Underground’s Pale Blue Eyes that was a beautifully played, surprising homage to Lou.
I thought it fitting to end the evening there, I had not the stamina to stick it out through Glass Candy’s set just for the one song I knew (Digital Versicolour) and the remainder of the dance acts – festivals are hard work. So I left the Grande Halle for the last time and dreaded my lengthy bus-ride back to Ol’ Blighty.
Words by Carol Bowditch.