Pitchfork 2012 Previews: Headliners
By: Dylan Samson and Bari Finkel
Previews are organized by day of festival, stage, and time in descending order.
Green Stage: 8:20 PM
Lets just keep this simple, Leslie Feist is awesome. I’ve yet to meet anyone who did not completely fall in love with her after seeing the music video for 1234 (the adorable dance number, the catchy sing-along melody, what’s not to love?), and were then pleasantly surprised to find that her 2007 full length The Reminder was so much more than a collection of pop tunes. A disconnected collection of songs, The Reminder showed the lyrical honesty which Feist’s collaborated in Broken Social Scene had become famous for, but with a level of craftsmanship many other members of BSS had yet to reach. This year, Feist released metals, another powerful, but divisive album which utilized powerful dynamic contrasts to create some of the most compelling songs of her career. This year, Feist will bring her mesmerizing stage presence to Pitchfork’s Green stage, closing the festivals opening night. Dance along to the 1234 video below.
Red Stage: 7:20
Dirty Projectors’ songs have reached over 30 plays on my iTunes, they are on almost every mix CD I make for friends, and I have never seen them in concert. Without a doubt, I am most excited for this headliner at Pitchfork. Dirty Projectors are known for their complex harmonies, obscure guitar riffs, and strangely catchy songs that get stuck in your head and refuse to let loose. Dirty Projectors are playing Pitchfork only a few days after the release of their new album, Swing Lo Magellan. “Gun Has No Trigger,” a single off of the new album, has those similar sounding harmonies, yet it is much more stripped down than most of the tracks on Bitte Orca. Besides touring and the release of Swing Lo Magellan, Dirty Projectors are also featuring their music in “Hi Custodian,” a film that the band’s lead man, David Longstreth, is directing. With all of these excitements, one can only expect energy and a great show from Dirty Projectors at Pitchfork.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Saturday
Green Stage: 8:30 PM
Since ending their 7 year hiatus at the end of 2010, Canadian post-rock innovators Godspeed You! Black Emperor have toured almost non-stop, playing shows around the world and headlining several festivals over the last year. It’s not that surprising, considering that before their hiatus, the band was one of the most acclaimed post-rock groups of the 90’s, creating soundscapes so lush, it would be easy to spend days exploring them. Beyond their music, Godspeed are the founders of Montreal’s Hotel2Tango, a sprawling workspace that has served as the band’s home base since 1997, and was a major hub in Montreal’s post-rock scene. Live, Godspeed famously uses film loops in sync with their never-ending wall of sound to create a hauntingly beautiful experience few other bands can come close to. Closing out Pitchfork’s Saturday festivities, Godspeed You! Black Emperor is sure to be one of the most mesmerizing performances of this year’s festival.
Blue Stage: 7:40 PM
When Danny Brown joined Das Racist during last year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, he reminded me of a young Busta Rhymes, delivering his rhymes so forcefully, you couldn’t help but take notice. Beyond his obvious skill, his distinctive style (the skinniest jeans and and a haircut so a-symmetrical, I was amazed he didn’t lean to one side), and his unmistakable midwest-meets-deep-south drawl made him stand out as one of the highlights from last year’s festival. Since then, Brown has exploded on to the scene, delivering the masterful XXX last August, and appearing on dozens of tracks for people like Flosstradamus, EL-P, and J. Dilla. XXX, released last August, is offensive and deliberate, chronicling excess in every imaginable sense of the word, and delivered through Brown’s one-of-a-kind voice. This year, Brown is sure to turn more than a few heads when he takes to Pitchfork’s Blue stage Saturday night. Check out Monopoly from XXX below.
Red Stage: 7:25
Two glorious reactions that the body is capable of are laughing and dancing. These acts are forms of stress relief, and allow the body to loose control in a healthy and heartening way. So what do they have to do with Pitchfork headlining band, Hot Chip? Hot Chip has the amazing ability to deliver music that the audience can simultaneously laugh and dance during. Their synth driven electronic music is laced with witty lyrics and ridiculous music videos. Hot Chip is made up of five men whose aim on their latest album In Our Heads, was to emulate the joy that occurs on the dance floor, and translate it into music. With that in mind, and Pitchfork coming up, it is safe to assume that the show they put on is going to be full of a lot of high energy, a lot of dancing, and a lot of fun.
Green Stage: 8:30
It has been over two years since “Cousins” first made us shout out and dance around our respective rooms, but Vampire Weekend has kept themselves busy. Band members have been scoring films, making mashups, recording solo, and touring in Europe during their hiatus. However, the hiatus has seemingly ended for Vampire Weekend, as they have started touring in the U.S., are headlining Pitchfork, and are working on a third album. Pitchfork will be the fourth time I have seen Vampire Weekend, and every concert has been full of energy both from the band and crowd alike. Their upbeat songs are contagious, forcing even the timid foot tapper to raise their arms and move around a little more. With only two albums under their belt, Vampire Weekend always has a good mix of old and new songs during their shows. Their music is a mix of clean guitar, crisp vocals, and Afro-beat inspired percussion that transcends from album to concert seamlessly.
Red Stage: 7:25 PM
Beach House makes some of the most haunting and beautiful music around to date. Its the kind of music perfectly suited to driving down Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive at 3 in the morning, the kind of music to get completely lost in. Victoria Legrand’s deep vocals seem to surround you with each listen, and when combined with the swirling, dreamlike instrumentals created by Alex Scally, create something truly magical. Bloom, the band’s most recent record, takes all the ideas the band had produced so skillfully on 2010’s Teen Dream, and found a way to improve on it, in small, but decisive ways. They won’t hit you in the face with the fact that they are evolving, thats not their style; they will lure you in with the hint of small changes, revealing more and more with each listen. This year, they’ll take to Pitchforks Red stage Sunday night. Check a performance of Norway from Teen Dream below.
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