Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Mix Tapes: Pitchfork Roundup

Finally, I did it. I'd been talking about it for years, complained each year I didn't do it, but then still didn't make anything happen. But this year, I made it happen.

Wow, Alison! You mean you finally wrote your book? Got an essay published?

No, silly! I went to Pitchfork! All 3 days!

Until last Friday afternoon, I had never stepped foot in Union Park. The farthest I had journeyed on the Green line was to the Clinton stop.

Of course, I was no music festival virgin. (I am way too good of a white person for that! Duh!) I've been to Lolla twice; in fact, I worked one year at Lolla, passing out beer to the sweaty festival goers and gleefully snapping off wristbands of the underage kids and then taking a big, smug sip out of my Budweiser.

But I had never ventured to Pitchfork, and boy, oh boy, was I excited.  

Neko Case! Deerhunter! Fleet Foxes! Merrill! Tunde Adebimpe! TUNDE! ADEBIMPE!

Now that I am a seasoned veteran, let me tell you some things I've learned in the last few days, thanks to this experience. (Bear with me! At the end of this there is music! I swear.)

1. I must look incredibly innocent/harmless. Unfortunately, my pretzels did not.
After walking directly to the front of the line at the park entrance, and while the security person whom Natalie and I fondly referred to as "Dad" screamed at a guy trying to bring in the wrong kind of camera, I marched up to security and held open my tote bag. Having coming straight from work to the festival, I also had a purse within my tote. As I went to unzip the purse so he could look inside, he said, "Oh NO," grabbed my unopened bag of pretzels, and refused to look inside my purse.

He stared at me. "Is this food?"

"Umm, yes?" My real questions were: Aren't you supposed to look in my purse? What if I have a gun in there? WHY DON'T YOU KNOW THAT A BAG OF PRETZELS IS FOOD? Also, WHAT IF I HAVE A GUN?

He tossed the unopened pretzels in the garbage. I mourned the loss for five seconds, prayed that anyone who might actually be carrying a weapon into the park had her purse examined, entered Pitchfork, and blissfully ventured to the beer tent and to hear tUnE-yArDs

By Day 2, I learned my lesson. A granola bar came in with me to the festival, nestled deep inside the bag that once again was not searched, along with my oh so hip Eddie Bauer flask balanced on my hip, under my shorts. I was smugger than I was when I was 16 and sneaked Hot Damn in to the football game and chomped on Big Red to explain my lethal cinnamon breath. Take THAT, authority! I brought in a granola bar and blueberry vodka! I am a REBEL!
2. White people. Lots of white people.
We all knew this was coming. There's nothing we white folks love more than a hot, outdoor summer music festival. We get to wear silly outfits! Dance exactly as ridiculously as only we truly know how! Wear silly outfits! Dance, badly! And if we're not dancing, we are standing perfectly still. Except for that one right leg or some intense head nodding. You know what I'm talking about. 
I kid, I kid, it wasn't only white people in the audience. But there sure were a lot of them. I mean, us. There was also a lot of sweaty teenagers, tattoos, and feathers used as various pieces of jewelry. (And yes, I did wear my feather earrings one day, thank you for asking. I wore my tattoo all three days.)
See Stuff White People Like #41: Indie Music for more understanding about white people, and how music is the soundtrack to our lives.
3. Sunblock and the shade are your friends. Also, I'm old.
In years past, you might have seen me at a music festival, running around spilling beer all over myself, perfecting my helicopter dance and the art of going barefoot in public, but now I am old and wise. I remembered sunscreen. I willingly sat in the shade as much as possible. I still spilled beer on myself and actually dropped five dollars in my beer at one point, but that is only because I am clumsy. I will be doing that sort of shit when I am 70, I promise. Well, hopefully I won't be at Pitchfork when I'm 70, because that might be silly. But whatever. From our spot under a tree, Natalie and I watched all the kids walking around—yeah, I actually thought kids, cause I am apparently middle aged—and I felt old and young all at the same time. It was disconcerting and wonderful.
4. Enough of this! Here is some music!
 Obviously, you'll go to Pitchfork for the real roundup and coverage, but here are some of my personal favorite songs I got to hear live over the weekend.
Desire Lines! "When you were young/and your excitement showed/But as time goes by..."

Neko is still glad she left the party at 3 a.m. (alone, thank God). And may I mention I of course was standing in the port-o-pot line as this song was playing.

You're my favorite daydream. (Couldn't find a clip from the show, but I can't leave this one out.)

This dress rocks my world. And so does Zola Jesus.

I made it through "Limit to your love" without crying. I was quite pleased with myself. But, holy shit:

And then I fell in love with Cut Copy.

Apparently people were too busy doing other things (cough, cough) during Curren$y's set, because I'm not finding many videos on the YouTube. But he put on a damn entertaining show, and cracked me up almost as much as the fat kid in front of me smoking everyone else's weed. Just livin' the jet life. You know. HA!

Finally, a little glimpse of TV on the Radio, the performance I was most excited about:

As I expected, my favorite moment was when Tunde Adebimpe sang "Will Do"— what can I say, I'm a sucker for a love song.  

"Your heart makes a fool of you, you can't seem to understand"

There are plenty more moments I could bore or delight you with, but what can I say, I'm worn out. I just spent three days in the hot sun surrounded by a bunch of sweaty youngsters. But totally worth it.

What can I say. It's the feeling I get every time I hear Tunde Adebimpe belt out:

"Oh my reddest rose! Caldera! Set it off!"

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