The Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago is kind of a humbling experience for me since it never fails to point out how out of touch with today’s music scene I really am. Sure I try to keep up with new music, probably way more than those in my cohort, but it’s always an eye opener coming upon groups I’ve never heard of that most of the crowd know very well. I guess the point of me attending the festival is that I always come away with a new group of artists I’ve never heard of before. Day two of the 2012 festival was no different, although the offerings were a mixed bag. The highlight was Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss’ new band post Sleater Kinney, Wild Flag. The highlight of their set was the superb choice of cover tune by opening with “See No Evil” originally by Television from their 1977 album “Marquee Moon.” Wild Flag certainly prove that middle age women can still rock! Other highlights included Atlas Sound, who is Bradford James Cox’s solo project when he’s not with Deerhunter. I’ve posted music by him before in this space and it was just him with an acoustic guitar and a bank of pre-recorded tracks and effects. Another impressive group was New York City’s Cults whose 1960s girl-group influenced set struck a chord with the crowd. They’re a group I will look into further for more music. Sleigh Bells made their second Pitchfork appearance and this time they were much improved. They’ve added a guitarist and Alexis Krauss has turned into a formidable cheerleader, strong enough to stand up to the ear-splitting crunch supplied by partner Derek Miller and touring second guitarist Jason Boyer. Hip hop was well represented by Danny Brown from Detroit Michigan who created his own brand of mayhem that spread throughout the crowd creating an exciting, but very uncomfortable situation for those who like to listen to music instead of push and dive over people. Last up was headliner Grimes. I posted a song by her a few days ago and while she faithfully reproduced her tracks verbatim from her record, much of the nuance that makes her so interesting on record was lost on the much enamored throng. Other acts from today included Cloud Nothings who despite the downpour kept on playing until they were forced to cut their set short, Flying Lotus who is Steve Ellison a hip-hop producer who supplies all of the bumper music on MTV’s “Adult Swim,” and finally British dance pop sensations, Hot Chip whose set we only saw a few songs of before moving on. Festivals are all about choices…and with Hot Chip we made ours.
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