By Amrit Singh & Brandon Stosuy

After a night of “classic” recreations, it was nice to dive into the current state of the indie landscape. Yesterday’s lineup was stacked, and we spent the day scissoring back and forth catching as much as possible, right through to Animal Collective’s relatively ornate light show to close. (That’s Panda Bear, trickled in green beams.) Here’s how the day broke down, word-and-photo style:

Like yesterday, the weather situation seemed hopeless — downpour conditions successfully piloted by Jay Reatard — but after a damp opening to Caribou’s set, the sun peeked out by the second track. Dan Snaith & Co. sounded more powerful live than on record yesterday, maybe because of the positioning of their drummer, who made like a retrofitted Chippendale. Or maybe because of the way the group positioned themselves tightly in the center of the stage, forcing you to take them all in at one time, this concentrated node of airy and pastoral psychedelics.

At one point during Fleet Foxes gorgeous set a friend turned and said it was almost creepy how perfect they sounded: The woodsy Seattle harmonizers definitely nailed it, maybe most movingly on “White Winter Hymnal.” The Foxes seemed taken by the size of the event, checking themselves in the JumboTron, making silly thumbs ups to either side of the stage when the sound was set and they were ready to play, but they had no problem adapting to the quarters, turning Union Park into a cozy campfire sing-a-long in the middle of the afternoon. This year’s folk is more enjoyable than Devendra’s year’s folk.

Fuck Buttons’ Andrew Hung and Benjamin John Power did justice to Street Horrrsing, creating those slow-build grooves capped by witch-y hardcore vocals, but the non-fans weren’t converted. The kids in front of us thought it was “pure white noise,” and others couldn’t figure out what they were doing with all that knob-twiddling, but even though this wasn’t the strongest we’ve seen them, it’s hard to figure out how you could not like the prismatic psychedelics of “Sweet Love For Planet Earth.” These guys are a pop band, they just take time getting to their hooks/payoff. Part of their charm, too, is that they never full explode. We were talking about what it might sound like if they had a full-time drummer of some sort, but that would likely release too much of the tension, a push-and-pull that keeps these guys engaging.

Dizzee Rascal had problems with the sound, asking for the backing tracks to be pumped up, and generally letting us know things weren’t tweaked to his liking, but his more interesting complaint was Fleet Foxes, saying “fuck that folk shit,” and letting us know he was here to make us dance and that “by the time I leave here you’ll known my name.” True. This is also the set where the sun shown the brightest.

The kids were dancing for Vampire Weekend, maybe the most broadly appealing band at the festival. Overheard: “This wasn’t on Graceland? Are you sure?” Probably not, but it’s eerie how quickly these songs have grown to sound like tunes you’ve known half your life. There’s something so clean about VW — not just their boat shoes and sweaters, but the spacious minimalism of the sound, like there’s nothing extraneous left to gum up the works. !!! may not have much new material, but they have become a seasoned festival group, and had the crowd dancing and chanting like they were at Lollapalooza. Nic ended the set by slagging his host, talking about how his band was the lowest rated or read or something, yet drew the biggest crowd. “Just goes to show you, the kids know something the critics don’t.”

The Hold Steady fittingly opened their set with “Constructive Summer,” one of the best summer (life) rock songs in recent memory, but the crowd got even more excited for Boys & Girls In America tracks. Atlas Sound hypnotized on the far away, muddy stage: One man solo with a table of effects and his voice, cycling into great grooves. Jarvis Cocker? Didn’t want to play Pulp songs, so he played Jarvis Cocker songs. No Age were, of course, a huge draw. Dean and Randy did their thing to a large, excited audience, the kids in the front row having to soak-in “My Life’s Alright Without You” while getting their ribs crushed.

And that led up to Animal Collective’s headlining set. It was hard not to think about how amazing it is that the little band behind Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished and Danse Manatee are headlining a festival with a Coldplay light show. Hypnotic set, including Panda Bear’s “Comfy In Nautica” and someone shooting fireworks (or caps) during, yes, “Fireworks.” They said they wanted to play all night, but curfew shut it down.

After the festivals proper, we headed to Schubas to see Abe Vigoda, Pit Er Pat, and High Places. Public transportation issues led to arriving the second Abe V. finished, but the other sets were good fun. High Places sounded especially great, the new songs more organic and warm than their usual live sound, the shared islands more tropical.

OK, hard part’s over. Now you may scroll.












[Photos by Amrit]

Comments (35)
  1. Good photos but they need to be edited down to about 25% of what you posted. Four photos of Jarvis Cocker’s hand in the air is about 3 too many.

  2. chris  |   Posted on Jul 20th, 2008 0

    AC played “Comfy in Nautica”, not “Bros”; they also blew my mind.

  3. seriously. what festival hasnt VW gone to this year?

  4. seriously. what festival hasnt VW gone to this year?

  5. phil  |   Posted on Jul 20th, 2008 0

    The drummer for caribou reminds me of. Micheal Showalter.

  6. jordan  |   Posted on Jul 20th, 2008 0

    panda bear looks like dwight from the office here.

  7. dan  |   Posted on Jul 20th, 2008 0

    These pictures, while they have pretty colors, suck. Get a wide angle lens for gods sake. Nothing about the festival itself, just the majority of the over rated bands… Come on, arent we all over Vampire Weekend? Guess what, it DOES sound like graceland, and they also perfected their spoon sound. lameness…

  8. Brian  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    everyone on here bad mouthing Vampire weekend is so cool. I mean honestly, they were great when they came out, but then they got mainstream and played snl, and a bunch of music fests and gained fame more than most indie bands do, therefore that exact same music we liked 6 months ago is instantly BAD.

    you are all lame. you belong at a music festival named after the most hypocritical music review site ever made.

    • I was never in love with Vampire Weekend, popular or not. And who have you seen comment here that has said, or even implied, that they used to like VW but don’t anymore because they’re popular? Or are you just generalizing because someone doesn’t agree with you?

      I mean, wow. hyperbole, snarkiness, stereotyping. I’m trying to figure out what it is, exactly, that makes you think you’re better than Pitchfork at their worst? Reverse elitism is still elitism, my friend. Looks like you are the hypocrite here.

      Oh no, I’m sorry.

      You are the biggest hypocrite ever to walk upon planet Earth.

      p.s. I love !!! (I was wearing my chk chk chk shirt on Saturday, as a matter of fact) but King Khan shat on everyone else there.

    • you’re an idiot. i don’t not like vampire weekend because they were on SNL, got too much PR, whatever. i hate them because they suck.

  9. I watched the festival on Pitchfork’s medial player and !!! seemed to have the most energetic set of all the bands. Anyone else agree?

  10. wow that is a lot of pictures.
    Looks like it was a cool time though.

  11. They didn’t play “Bros”, as said earlier, but “Comfy” “Fireworks” “Peacebone” and part(s) of “Chores” (I think I remember hearing it) were fucking mind blowing. Can’t wait for APW.

  12. dan  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    Come on peoples, you can’t tell me Oxford Comma doesn’t sound like a spoon song. Mainsteam-ness and SNL play does not mean suckitude. Some bands are just crap from the beginning.
    I’m not ignorant to the fact that most people who think VW are super cool don’t even know who their (apparent) musical influences are, or the fact that bands sounds get influenced by other bands all he time (see every new shoe gazing band who bites on My Bloody Valentine), but come on.. VW kind of does blow.

    Who will be the next big thing? Now that would be an interesting post.

    !!! is excellent however.

  13. bummed  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    animal collective did not play ‘brother sport” i’m sure they would have if they weren’t forced to stop. that was a really disappointing way to end an incredible show.

  14. RIch  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    Something about Dizee Rascal attracts the sun. Saw him at Perth Big Day Out in February under a scorching Australian sun, a piss-with-sweat while you stand sort of deal.

  15. Greg  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    Ugh. What a pretentious circle jerk.

  16. killer icey ice  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    my photos kill yours

  17. “Jarvis Cocker? Didn’t want to play Pulp songs, so he played Jarvis Cocker songs.”

    Man, I wouldn’t give a shit if Jarvis got on stage and sang like, John Mayer songs or some shit. Jarvis is the MAN.

    • Apexa  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

      I fucking agree. Plus his solo album was good, so people should get over themselves & listen to something that he’s done besides Pulp.

  18. Wolf Bands vs Fuck Bands  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    Animal Collective and Vampire Weekend fucking suck. Stop pretending they are valid bands.

  19. eric  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    The hold steady and kjng khan were soooo much better than everyone else there. i will give honorable mentions to ghostface and cut copy (although they had a short set)

  20. Sols Balls  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    AC is great. Geologist is so cute. I wish he would perform in the wetsuit he’ll wear when he dives with me in Panama in 2009. Can’t wait to see your cute, hairy arse in NYC for APW. Love you, man…..Sol

  21. lazy music fans  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    Uh, Animal Collective could have played much longer; Public Enemy certainly did. The sad fact is, their show was clearly pre-planned down to even the most minute detail and though they played an abbreviated set at Coachella earlier this year, if it were full length I have no doubt that it would have been the exact same set they played at Pitchfork. They were the definition of stale – the free jazz and opening riffing of Spiritualized put their musicianship to shame and though everyone hates them now, Vampire Weekend came off as much more playful. For a band that is seemingly so accomplished and versatile, a band that I love and looked very forward to seeing, Animal Collective were easily the biggest disappointment of the weekend for me.

    • My bandmate talked to Panda Bear after the show, and Panda said that because of their abbreviated set, they didn’t get to improvise and stretch out as much as they’d like.

      Also, I don’t think -everyone- hates Vampire Weekend, haha. I’m pretty sure they’ve only been growing in success.

  22. everspace  |   Posted on Jul 22nd, 2008 0

    though not pictured in any of those photos, why was vampire weekend’s drummer wearing a phish shirt? i guess he attended the first ‘roo, but come on, that really turned me off.

    • ncrim  |   Posted on Jul 22nd, 2008 0

      whoa… didn’t we cover this a couple weeks ago? wtf is wrong with phish? phish > vampire weekend, surely

  23. Great photos, guys, and a pretty spot-on review. Here’s mine, for what it’s worth:

  24. Jarvis is my hot hot bitch  |   Posted on Jul 23rd, 2008 0

    Janis Second said something about Jarvis up there and I just wanted to say HELL FUCKIN YEAH YEAH! Jarvis doesn’t need to play Pulp songs, he has perfectly great solo songs and he’s a PRO FRONTMAN. He really could stand up there and read an insurance manual and it would be a million times better than say, Atlas Sound, Animal Collective, High Places ++. Anyhow, his performance of “Black Magic” on Saturday made my good underwear burn off into a pile of ash…

  25. PM Carey  |   Posted on Jul 25th, 2008 0

    Woah, you’re cool.

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