I enjoy Pitchfork more than any other festival during the year. The feeling is more intimate and less "OH MY GOD WE ESCAPED THE BURBS FOR A WEEKEND LET'S EXPLORE OUR STUNTED PERSONALITIES BY INGESTING THIS PILE OF SUB-QUALITY DRUGS NOW NOW NOW!!!!!!" You get to have that passive-aggressive feeling of seeing bands that will be bigger in a mainstream capacity in a year and usually get a bit of nostalgia to boot. Here are some observations from the weekend:
• All of the food kind of runs together at music festivals. You get that first tier of quality restaurants you'd go to more often if you had more money, the second tier of spots where you're kind of like, "huh, I didn't know they served pulled pork there," that random cheese fries/burger/chicken on a stick situation that's at literally every fest every year and then a specialty. Pitchfork caters to their audience by providing crazy vegan/vegetarian options. Ain’t nothing wrong with vegetarian food, but I'll be damned if there isn't always someone using their dietary choices as a booster seat for their personality. For about four minutes, I witnessed a woman fussing at a vendor about the toppings of a falafel pita. It felt like a “Portlandia” skit, but it was real. Eat the damn pita. (You don't care, but the best things I ate were that chicken sandwich at Goose Island and Jeni's ice cream. DEEEEEEEELICIOUS.)
• Watching The Breeders run through their 1993 album “Last Splash” from front to back on Saturday got me thinking: Could a festival be sustained fully by nostalgia acts playing their biggest/best-selling albums all the way through? Look at this lineup: The Pixies plays "Doolittle," The Roots play "Things Fall Apart," Taking Back Sunday plays "Tell All Your Friends," Twista does "Adrenaline Rush." So on and so forth. It would be the nerdiest most awesome thing ever.
• Killer Mike brought the tears Sunday, getting emotional about his time as a community organizer and his mentor who was from Chicago. He stressed awareness and making communities better by being better neighbors and being responsible for protecting yourself from the cops and the streets themselves. It kind of bummed me out. Not because of his message, but because it was weird watching Mike preach real issues directly to an audience that may or may not see the streets he was talking about. I don't know if that took away from it, but awareness is always a good thing, right? I don't really know.
• Lil B the Based God's set on Sunday was a reminder that he deserves more than to be a meme or a footnote in rap history. He's a legit paradox. After rapping over Master P's "Ice Cream Man" (his version is called “Eat.” Don't Google it at work.) he led the crowd in singing the chorus. The chorus rhymes with "You can tuck my hitch. You can tuuuuuck my hiiiiiii-tttcccchhh." Everyone sang. He then stopped and made a statement about having safe and responsible sex and not falling victim to the pressures brought on by the hyper-sexualized entertainment industry. What do you do with someone like that? The fact that he can be that polarizing and still maintain a rabid fanbase (yes, they exist and they like all of his songs, not just "Wonton Soup") proves that he deserves to be taken seriously. Thank you, Based God.
• R. Kelly. R. Kelly. R. Kelly. He ran through two straight hours of his hits, features and remixes. The rain, which cast a shadow on the weekend, threatened to interrupt the proceedings with a thunderstorm. Then, it stopped. Then not even a minute later, the man walks out and does "Ignition (Remix)." It took everything in me not to cry. Exiting the fest, I noticed a large crowd of Chicago residents standing outside singing along. They were dancing in the streets. What a weekend.
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