By Amrit Singh & Brandon Stosuy

Aaaaand we’re back. Quite a weekend in Chicago, and this is the post to put a Fork in our coverage of this year’s party in Union Park. For day last, the threat of storms were nonexistent, but after that sun set, and the weekend drew to a close, it appeared that a delayed flight from Australia might be a bigger festival-buster than the promised rain — or, at least for fans of electro ’80s-inspired heartthrobs Cut Copy.

When we arrived at the B stage — “B” stands for “best stage of the weekend,” with its scruffier bands (No Age, HEALTH, High Places, Fuck Buttons, King Khan etc.) and ample shade trees — we were told by a friend that the Aussie New Order-y quartet might not make it. The temporary replacement? Well, an ad hoc group pairing frontmen Bradford Cox and King Khan with the Ponys’ Jered Gummere on drums and occasional spastic vocal intrusions by Jay Reatard. You probably saw the pics. An amusing way to stall, but the generic bluesy garage stuff really was just an amusing way to stall. As Cox put it, “We’re stuck with you … and you’re stuck with us.” Or so it seemed.

After about 25 minutes, King Cox stopped, Bradford offered a few safety tips then announced that Cut Copy would be on in five minutes. This is when what remained of the audience lost their shit. By the time Cut Copy started playing, the crowd had swelled closer to it’s original size … and threw flowers at the stage, screamed like they were seeing the Beatles/Timberlake, dancing in a huge undulating throng.

There are a lot of festivals. There are a lot of bands playing these festivals, but maybe not as many different bands as you’d hope considering the amount of festivals (breaking news: festivals lineups are getting really repetitious…). Now and then, though, something transcends the ho-hum everyday and simple mechanics of these events. That’s what happened when Cut Copy dug into their abridged, but tight and exciting because abridged, set: All the disappointment and pent up energy that seemed like it would find no outlet was transformed into a bouncing mass. Were they good? Yes. They were good at Coachella too, but this time there was an urgency that didn’t exist last time. They were obviously feeding off the amazing energy coming from the crowd and vice versa.

Earlier in the day, another act transcended expectations.

Dinosaur Jr. Man. Hearing Lou on post-Lou songs like Green Mind’s “The Wagon” and Where You Been’s “Out There” remains very surreal. Hearing J’s slacker melodies and extended guitar solo remains very amazing. It was also strange to be standing next to Eric Gaffney who was watching intently and at one point seemed to be telling the guy next to him that he’d taught them everything they knew. Speaking of strange, the weirdness of seeing the subject of “The Freed Pig” rocking out with the guy who wrote “The Freed Pig” soon dries up — Beyond was a good record, making this much less than a pure nostalgia kick, though it has to be said: “Little Fury Things” brought the biggest shivers.

Otherwise: Spiritualized electric were suitably over-the-top and more fun than they were while battling sound issues in Indio (“Shine A Light,” “Soul On Fire” = great). Dirty Projectors were scary tight, Longstreth’s guitar tones and those three-part amazing harmonies perfect in the early afternoon. And that new song “Sunrise,” which we heard at Music Hall a few months ago, is making the wait for the new record unbearable. Dave, Amber, Angel, and Brian dipped in from Portland to be in Chicago this weekend. We’re glad for that fact.

High Places continue to get better and more assured in a live setting (and their new songs are just really fucking good). Boris brought their pink drums and gong and smoke machine. HEALTH brought their energy. Ghostface Killah & Raekwon did their best to battle the jetlag of having just arrived from an international flight, and did it well. Spoon were Spoon. That band’s so consistently great that it would almost be more interesting if they had a bad night. They didn’t.

There wasn’t too much mind-blowing activity, but there were solid sets and enough magic moments (Animal Collective, Cut Copy, King Khan, Dinosaur, the Hold Steady) to remind you why you keep shunning sleep and a normal eating schedule to attend these things. As always, the Pitchfork Festival remains impeccably run and perfectly sized in Union Park. Thanks for having us, guys and ladies. See you next year.















Comments (24)
  1. english 101 police  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    “Their are a lot of festivals. There are a lot of bands playing these festivals…”

    They’re are also a lot of grammatical rules to be followed in the english language…

    • Oh, cool. Can you pass some along?

    • will  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

      i think that knowing the difference between “they’re” and “there” is pretty important as well….
      english 101 police, right? have you taken English 101 yet? your sentence essentially reads “They are are also a lot of grammatical rules to be followed in the english language…”

  2. Isn’t capitalizing the word “English” one of them?

  3. Wesley  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    I would disagree that Spoon avoided a bad night. I was incredibly disappointed with the show, mainly with Britt. It seemed like all of the songs they played off of Gimme Fiction (at least before I left before the set was quite finished) seemed so forced and insincere. Maybe Britt’s tired of playing that album, but if that’s the case he has a fairly large collection of other songs he might still care about to play

  4. Apexa  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    Personally I thought Spiritualized was the best of Sunday. Truly great and epic

  5. frank  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    i was so disappointed to miss cut copy, but spoon absolutely blew my mind. it was the fourth time i’d see them live and they were like a totally different band last night, improvising and blending in songs together at times, experimenting with all kinds of new effects. plus the new song they played was so awesome that i about lost my mind when bradford cox came out to cap the set off with the classic “mountain to sound.” last night, i was reminded once again why they are one of my favorite bands.

  6. When I saw Cut Copy at studio B they had an amazing energy that completely unified the crowd. Also, no one mentioned the Dodos crazy non-stop playing technique. Although I wasn’t at p4k, every time I have seen them, they have played with such fury and confidence that I can’t believe they delivered anything less.

  7. Mr. Belvedere(sic)  |   Posted on Jul 21st, 2008 0

    The Dodos show here is Boise, was simply amazing! Congrats!

  8. what was up with boris set being cut short because “not enough electrical output”

    fleet foxes were definitely my favorite act of the festival.

  9. The Dodos and HEALTH were the best I saw on Sunday. I heard some Spiritualized from the back of the park and it sounded epic, but I was too tired and fall sleep. Spoon sucks live. The new Dirty Projectors song kicks ass.

  10. HROHoe  |   Posted on Jul 22nd, 2008 0

    Sunday was pretty weak. Other than Dodos, who are basically Song Tungs with all the difficult parts removed, and Health, the noise rock equivalent of a bro band, the performances were subpar. I only slag Dodos and Health to further the point. I find it odd the two least inspired bands were the two most inspiring Sunday night. I’ll probably relisten to both records and think the same negative shit, but smile and rock out the whole time.

  11. eric  |   Posted on Jul 22nd, 2008 0

    Sunday was faaaar from weak!

    King Khan, Ghostface, and Cut Copy all killed it on the B stage

  12. The Dodos are one of my FAVS but I missed most of their set because instead of playing on Stage B at 6:25 they showed up on Stage A at 5pm! I heard them but by the time I got up there I was only able to hear the last two songs. I’ve seen them before in a small little club, but they REALLY were on fire on Sunday. They fed off the audience and the audience fed off of them.

    I’m one of the lucky ones that got to see a bit of Cut Copy. I watched most of Spoon’s set and after they played Cherry Bomb I went to see if Cut Copy ever made it. They did and it was like a little rave in the woods. Super fun!

  13. Matt  |   Posted on Jul 23rd, 2008 0

    What happened with Boris’s set? I went off to get a drink and came back and they were done.
    And why was the Balance stage behind schedule all day until the twenty minute-early Ghost and Rae set?

  14. YK  |   Posted on Jul 24th, 2008 0

    my friend told me that at Boris’s set, one of their amp got broken because they must’ve been usin it with max volume. It suck they couldn’t play my neighbor satan, and their empty bottle show that night was sold out!!

  15. I think my favorite moment was during LSV when I looked across the crowd to see Tim Harrington being crowd surfed inside a trash can. That plus the Sherlock hat made him look like a fucked up sea captain. I mean, at this point Tim’s stage show is pretty standard, but it was a pretty awesome image.

  16. was no one else blown away by m. ward? that was the best show all weekend, in my opinion.

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