Tuesday, July 22, 2008

pitchfork in slow motion

alright- at last i am going to write about the whole pitchfork fest. i went on friday night and sunday night. on friday night i was there right when the doors opened- i got a coupon for a free burrito at chipotle right at the gates. i got my minidisc recorder past the bag-searchers as well. it's a good thing i went to college or else... oh man, who knows what would've happened. i recorded mission of burma's set. i actually still haven't even listened to it as of right now. the set was very good- i was quite impressed. they sounded a bit like how i suspected they sound based on the type of people who are ga-ga over them (namely shellac and fugazi fans), but i really liked them. i do actually like shellac and fugazi as well, i might add. it is kind of a shame however, since recording mission of burma left me with too little battery power to record all of sebadoh's set- which was, of course, all of 'bubble and scrape.' i think i made it into the first minute of 'homemade.' bummer- i fucking love that song! naturally i also didn't get lou barlow doing a beautiful solo rendition of 'think (let tomorrow bee)' which i was really looking forward to. i got some other gems though- and the last time i listened to it it sounded pretty tasty- a bit bassy and muffled, but so was the spiritualized recording and i was able to fix it to my own satisfaction, so look here for something in the future. it is also possible that i'll just record the stream of the performance from the kexp site and then edit that. it'll sound better anyway. i haven't listened to the spiritualized one yet- i'm kind of enjoying listening to my recording for right now since it basically sounds exactly the way i remember it sounding. i'd do the same with the sebadoh recording probably if it had been complete. but then after all of this talk the necessity of a full-length live version of an album begins to reveal the questions of its own necessity. i like live versions of albums, though- there's something that lends it an extra amount of clarity when it's played live in its entirety. i used to make cure live compilation versions of their albums. the best ones were the ones where i had all of the songs in decent quality played live. so sebadoh i shall edit. woohoo! i'll probably give that spiritualized stream a listen as well. probably the public enemy one as well. i did stay for most of public enemy doing 'it takes a nation of millions to hold us back' and it was fucking awesome! i wished that i could've stayed for the whole thing, but not as much as i wanted to get home on a non-packed train. sorry about that, but it's the truth. what i heard i was totally blown away by. i was surprised to hear the source for that drum loop that ties together 'instrumental b' by my bloody valentine. quite nice.
when i walked in on friday night and went exploring as well and immediately wished i'd brought some money along. doh! it was the one thing i'd forgotten. they were selling jay's poster for this year for $10. tough to pass up. i'd just as soon buy it from jay if i thought that he'd take my money- which he fucking won't the jerk! it's so annoying- none of our artist friends who make their living through their art will ever charge us for the things of theirs that we want to buy from them. grrrr! even when stefanie bought something through the sonnenzimmer website while nick was having a big sale he threw extras in for her. shame, shame. we are quite lucky in our friends here i will say. not only was i bummed about the poster, but also when i went into the record fair tent- i found two records i wanted. they were the triple vinyl version of 'low level owl- vol. i and ii' by the appleseed cast and 'switched on vol. 2' by stereolab on vinyl. i ended up bringing $40 to the show on sunday, but the posters were gone by then (of course), but i did get all of the vinyl. i'm listening to 'low level owl' right now. it's pretty sweet to listen to on vinyl. i'm a big fan of the sprawling vinyl set as well. never a chore to listen to.
sunday i had to work, so i wasn't at the fest as early. a co-worker did close for me- she offered to after listening to my little moans about how much i couldn't wait to get there. so she sent me off at about 2:30 after i did a few closing chores. so we got there while the apples in stereo were playing- went around and said 'hi' to all of the flatstock people- really just jay and diana; nick and nadine didn't do flatstock this year because they usually just make enough to break even when they do, so this year they just sat it out. then i did go around and buy my stuff, bought and drank a beer and then we headed to watch les savy fav which we didn't think would be that good at a big festival, but naturally we were wrong wrong wrong wrong. we've seen them three times before and always in smaller places. the first time we saw them there were only about 15 people at the show. we shall now bottle our sweat and sell it for money because we are so fucking cool.

i don't know if the picture is fully clear- but it is of the part of their set during 'we'll make a lover of you' when tim harrington was running through the crowd in a sherlock holmes hat and cape and suddenly he popped up from within the crowd being carried while singing from inside a giant trashcan. holy shit. i have never seen anything as hilarious at a show- how wrong we were to doubt mr. harrington. he wore a weird half leotard thing that was red- one leg was covered in spandex, the other wasn't. he also wore the skin-tight bodysuit that doesn't leave much to the imagination during the last few songs- 'rome' and 'who rocks the party.' then the nicest, most unexpected surprise came- they suddenly launched into 'precision auto.' stefanie took a video of most of it, but i accidentally deleted it. she reminded me that some weird spaced-out dude walked up to her and started talking to her during the filming of said video. here is the exchange as her memory served and then filtered through my recollection-

random dude- uh... is this superchunk?
stefanie- no, it's les savy fav, but the song is by superchunk.
random dude- oh... so it's not superchunk?
stefanie- no, the song is BY superchunk, but it's not superchunk playing.
random dude- oh... so it IS superchunk... i thought it was les savy fav.
stefanie- it IS les savy fav playing the song, but the SONG is by superchunk.

and i'm sure you can figure out how the rest of the conversation went from there. awesome. i'd totally forgotten about this somehow.
so after les savy fav played we went in search of food and went to the old classic standby- the star of siam tent (my personal favourite from last year's fest- and also my only option as i was still a vegetarian back then). we ate standing up since the festival was sooooo fucking packed and there was nowhere to sit in the shady area by the food tents (big surprise). stefanie gave me the eggs out of her phad thai. we met up with claire and her new boyfriend scott (who is incredibly quiet) and talked for a while then we split up again. stefanie and i walked around in search of the water fountain (which was surrounded with people, of course) and instead found a nice shady spot behind the ambulance where we waited until the dodos were finished playing on the a stage. we would've stayed there to hear them play because they sounded interesting, but we'd already missed most of their set trying to get some food and we didn't want to wade through all of the people until they were done and then we would go to the a stage and stake out a good spot to watch spiritualized from which was really the only reason we were there in the first place.
we ended up sitting down on some discarded newspapers in front of the white sound tent and listening to and watching m. ward play on the c stage. it didn't sound as good as it would've from over there, but at least we got to hear him play and he was really good (big surprise). he's another person we've seen play twice. i don't even have any of his albums, but know a decent chunk of his songs. he played an awesome daniel johnston cover that i really love but don't know the name of. after he played that song that glorious pure phase sound started and our wait was finally over.

stefanie took a few pictures of the jumbotron. she took some of the stage as well, but they look much further back than we were for some reason. the zoom on her camera is very weak, so these will have to suffice.
if you want to listen for yourself the recording i made is in the blog entry below in flac and mp3. it sounds pretty decent to my ears (and they are discerning ears). i like to listen to it and i can't stop at the moment. basically it was a sublime set- it was no-holds-barred brutal where it needed to be and just transcendently beautiful where it needed to be and sometimes a combination of the two (i.e. 'shine a light'). a few favourite eye-popping, almost-passed-out kind of moments- 1) during the noise break at the end of 'you lie you cheat' while i was waiting for them to switch into 'shine a light' (which i was expecting from hearing so many bootlegs of previous shows and seeing it in all of the setlists) and as it builds and builds and builds and i'm watching the five of them onstage trying to figure out how they're all going to go from sheer free noise to that gloriously beautiful intro it just happened all of a sudden with absolutely no warning. how they know when to switch like that i have no idea. the rush almost made me pass out. i shit you not. it was so gorgeous. worth the wait- they didn't play this one last time and i've always wanted to hear it live. 2) the moment most people have been talking about. during the last long build up where they hold the a chord during 'take me to the other side' the sound coming through the p.a. completely cut out and you could faintly hear the band still chugging away onstage and then the bass drum came back through the p.a. and then the whole thing again just after it goes back into the three chord part before jason starts singing again and then during the last part jason pierce- mr. stand rigor mortis still and strum ungodly brilliant sheets of noise from your amp and guitar with the calm of a surgeon afraid to make the slightest move suddenly comes to life and starts screaming (as he sometimes does during the songs) and suddenly knocks the microphone stand over with his guitar and then stamps his feet a bit and turns to his amp and knocks the head off of his marshall half-stack and then stabs the guitar into the grill clothe and speaker and turns away and then throws his guitar towards the drum set and leaves the stage. talk about unexpected.

stefanie took this picture just before he threw his guitar. so it was an amazing show- even better than the last time we saw them. wow. we could've left happy but instead we went to the other side of the tent and watched dinosaur jr. they were good too- it was fun to see them. not quite the full experience since they couldn't achieve the ear-splitting decibel range that they normally play at, but at least stefanie finally got to see them. i should probably buy 'beyond' already- i still 'never bought it' har-dee-har (sorry, i couldn't help myself). they played two songs from 'beyond'- one that j. mascis sings and one that lou barlow sings, 'little fury things,' 'the wagon,' 'out there,' 'feel the pain,' the first track on the first album (i don't own that one either) and of course 'freak scene.' we thought they were done so we started our trip across the field to say bye to jay and diana and then leave and they came out to play one more song and it ended up being 'sludgefest.' sweet! fucking spoon was doing a really loud soundcheck while they were playing tho- how fucking rude. as the crowd was migrating one girl turned toward the a stage and yelled 'fuck you spoon!' our sentiments exactly- bad form. we didn't stay for spoon at all. unfortunately a ton of other people had the same idea we did, so we were on a packed-to-the-gills train. fun stuff!

so all in all it was a really awesome day. yay! i'm glad i didn't go on saturday too- that would've been a bit too much. the only thing i really wanted to see that badly that day was jarvis cocker. everything else would've been things i was mildly interested in and wanted to give a change- i.e. jay reatard, animal collective (everyone at work loves animal collective so i hear that album with the strawberries on it all the time), atlas sound, etc. etc.
it'll be nice to not have to do anything next weekend because the weekend after that we're driving back to kansas city to play and then the weekend after that we may be playing live on the radio at wzrd. that's going to be our cd release show in town since permanent couldn't have us play. kind of a drag...

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