I arrived at Day Two of the Pitchfork Music Festival in time to see Iron & Wine, who played a terrific set. I know I missed some good stuff, including Califone, Voxtrot, Grizzly Bear, Beach House, and Fujiya & Miyagi, but I can't tolerate the sun, port-a-potties, and crowds for that long. After Iron & Wine, there was a nice stretch of time to go scrounge around for food, trying to find which line was the least ridiculous. I would sincerely like to thank Pitchfork however for making water and alcohol affordable to the captive audience. Much better than the $3-5 I'm accustomed to paying at other festivals.
I didn't care for Mastodon, but I'm glad their set was after Iron & Wine, or else I wouldn't have been able to hear anything.
Clipse rocked the crowd. They did stuff from their "Grindin'" days, songs off their mixtapes, and of course, selections off of 'Hell Hath No Fury' including "Keys Open Doors", "Ain't Cha", "Mr. Me Too", "Chinese New Year", and "Wamp Wamp". They thanked the crowd for their support, alluded to their label troubles, and talked about their new mixtape (We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 3) due out soon and work on their new album beginning next month. VA, Re-UP!
Cat Power sang wonderfully at first, but we were all waiting for one of her infamous implosions. Honestly, I'm not sure how "on-the-wagon" she was. She was very preoccupied with the sound quality and kept apologizing to the crowd for the sound, though everything sounded fine to me (except maybe the drums were a little soft). As she sang, she made signals and gestures to her fellow musicians and the sound board, saying "reverb" and signaling the beat she wanted her drummer to use, etc. We were mesmerized at first, then kinda lulled to sleep. She did quite a few songs from her cover album and didn't play "Lived In Bars", which I though she was gonna close with. I am kicking myself for not leaving early to go to the other stage for what I heard by word-of-mouth was the set of the day: Girl Talk, including a live mash-up collaboration with Grizzly Bear. Damn it!
Finally, there was Yoko Ono. Before Yoko Ono appeared onstage, they showed her Onochord project/documentary on the big screens around the field. Onochord flashlights were distributed to the audience so that we could participate in sharing this message of love and peace. Finally, Yoko made her entrance to enthusiastic cheers and applause. This would give way to head-scratching and looks of confusion as she started performing, especially among those unfamiliar with her solo work. Now I've heard a lot of weird sh*t in my life (i.e. John Cage, Merzbow, The Boredoms, Alec Empire, Rob Gee, etc.), but Yoko Ono's set was the strangest thing I've ever heard live. While it is enlightening in some ways to hear the primal, guttural vocalizations of a unique avant garde artist such as Yoko, it's hard to say that it is actually enjoyable. Thankfully, the backing band was great, which made her set fairly tolerable. One unique experience was her performance of "Mulberry" with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. She had only performed the song once before with John Lennon and once with her son, Sean, and indicated that this would be her final performance of "Mulberry" ever.
Yoko Ono with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth - Mulberry (video, live at Pitchfork Music Festival 2007)
Fairly or unfairly, I give artists like Yoko Ono the benefit of the doubt. However, I was honestly waiting for Peaches to magically appear and perform "Kiss Kiss Kiss" with her, or something else exciting to keep me there. Unfortunately, I think after about a half-hour, only art students and hardcore Yoko Ono devotees were left in the crowd.
Iron & Wine - Boy with a Coin
Clipse - Wamp Wamp
Cat Power - Satisfaction (Rolling Stones cover)
Yoko Ono - Kiss Kiss Kiss feat. Peaches
Yoko Ono - Walking on Thin Ice (video, NSFW)
Yoko Ono - Cut Piece (video of her controversial performance art, live at Carnegie Hall, 1965, potentially NSFW)