Monday, July 21, 2014

Fest Surprises

Grimes by Jessica Mlinaric
It was more play than work for me this weekend since I wasn't officially covering Pitchfork Music Festival, but that also meant getting to stumble onto some great bands. Usually when I cover a fest, I do my diligence and listen to and study up on every musical act. Sure I was adequately prepared and discovering new music, but I really missed the experience of stumbling on a band in a live setting. With the atmosphere and mood of an outdoor festival, it almost feels like you won something by walking by at the right time.

I was excited to have some of those experiences this weekend, especially since I wasn’t as familiar with the lineup as in years past. Here are some of the bands that caught my attention:

Schoolboy Q
Heavy hooks, melody and obviously rhythm had this hip-hop artist’s debut record at the top of the Billboard 200.

She’s a babe, and that was a high-energy dance party.

Wild Beasts
Rich sound that’s mellow enough for me to listen to at the office. 

Cloud Nothings
This one’s kind of old for me. I wrote about his debut back in 2010, but didn’t follow much after that. This was my first time seeing him live, and the kid’s got chops. Even after listening to all of their albums, I still got more of an impression of how wide his influences are in a live setting.

Even though I wasn’t officially covering the fest, I did sign up to review Jon Hopkins’ set for Chicagoist. Somebody told me a long time ago to check him out, and I was pleasantly surprised to see an electronic dance set that wasn’t one dumb bass drop after another.

Not a discovery, but a highlight: After releasing a super mellow Sea Change-esque album, a lot of us expected Beck’s set to be a snooze, but he proved us all wrong with one hit after another. I had seen him once before a few years ago at the Aragon, but this set was more memorable for me. Maybe it’s that outdoor, closing a festival feeling, but one thing is still for sure: I’m still kinda pissed at my parents for not letting me go see him at Pointfest back in ‘97.

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