Concert Review

Pitchfork Music Festival 2012: Vampire Weekend, Beach House, Kendrick Lamar & More

Sunday’s lineup at Pitchfork opened with the promise of two “secret” guest spots – one that happened, one that didn’t – and an extremely anticipated sets from festival closers Vampire Weekend and Beach House. Read the recap below and check out photos from Carmelo Espanola up top (Friday’s recap here, Saturday here).

I arrived at the festival in time to see Milk Music, the Washington State Hüsker Dü reincarnates. It hasn’t been long since Milk Music first started popping up on people’s radars, but the band reinforced what is already known about them in their short, riffy set, which is that they don’t give a shit. And I mean this in the most complementary way; they care about all the right stuff, like taking a couple of seconds to make sure everything sounds good (there were a couple of false starts during the set) but everything else, like playing the few songs people know or really trying to engage the audience is not something they particularly care about. And, in this day in age, it’s kind of charming. I moved over to the Red Stage for Ty Segall, who, with help from his fleshed-out, all-star band, sounded tighter, stranger, and louder than ever. I’m getting a much better grip on the music as time goes on -– but man, I still don’t know exactly what Ty Segall’s deal is (“On the count of three, yell “Dwyer!,” Segall shouted during his set. Who Dwyer was, exactly, was never clarified). They also played a straightforward cover of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds,” cuz why not.

The Men toned down their assault for a set on the Blue Stage, including a lot more bluesy twang and harmonica than the recent Open Your Heart could possibly suggest. Kendrick Lamar followed with his energetic, Section.80-heavy set, a performance witnessed by a sidestage Lady Gaga who had apparently flirted with stepping out but ultimately decided against it, leaving the day’s lone guest appearance to Chief Keef, who came out and bellowed on stage at the culmination of AraabMuzik’s performance.

Given the thoughtful pacing of the festival, it’s probably no surprise that Pitchfork saved the last two slots of the two main stages for Vampire Weekend and Beach House, acts central to the site’s appeal and popularity whose respective audiences easily eclipsed anyone else from Sunday. Beach House floored -– literally, as their music is basically set up to lay in the grass and stare at the sky to –- the crowd with a strong set of fan favorites like “Gila” and “Norway” as well as most of Bloom. Vampire Weekend exhibited their usual, rhythmic sharpness, basically transforming their audience into one giant organ designed for clapping. Songs like “Walcott” and “Diplomat’s Son” were greeted with great fanfare. They also played that new song we posted video of last week, getting folks excited for their forthcoming LP. Maybe they’ll have the same slot next year. See you then.