Of Montreal, De La Soul, Mastodon Highlight Pitchfork Fest
Performances from Of Montreal, De La Soul and Girl Talk highlighted the final two days of the Pitchfork Music Festival, which drew 47,000 people over the weekend to Chicago’s Union Park. The event kicked off Friday with ATP’s Don’t Look Back series, featuring Slint, GZA and Sonic Youth playing one of their albums in its entirety.
Saturday began with impressive sets from Battles, Fujiya & Miyagi, and Iron & Wine, with the latter Sam Beam-led act treating the crowd to a show-closing cover of Radiohead’s “No Surprises.” Metal outfit Mastodon was a big hit on the Connector stage, as the rowdy crowd kicked up dirt from Union Park’s baseball fields in approval.
By now a seasoned festival veteran, Girl Talk’s Gregg Gillis was a big hit mashing up Hot 100 hits like Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend,” T.I.’s “Big Things Poppin'” and Lil’ Mama’s “Lip Gloss” with sped-up classic rock tunes like The Band’s “The Weight,” Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” and Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”
Dan Deacon’s set, performed from a table set up in the front row of the Balance stage, was cut short due to crowd control problems. Deacon’s sex raps and oddball Vocoder samples were interrupted by announcements for the crowd to take a couple steps back, but to no avail. Yoko Ono closed Saturday night with her trademark “war is over if you want it” chants.
“We’re gonna do something sporty on the next album,” Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes said while throwing a football around on stage during the band’s Sunday set, highlighted by the catchy pop tunes “Suffer For Fashion” and “Party’s Crashing Us Now.” While guitarist Bryan Poole donned enormous angel wings and a metallic jacket that channeled Elvis, Barnes chose to strip down to a dominatrix leather corset and eventually only a G-string for an encore cover of the Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night.”
The New Pornographers immediately followed on the Connector Stage, playing several songs from their upcoming Matador album, “Challenger.” “We’re not sure how this one is gonna end.” frontman A.C. Newman admitted before the band went into the hand-clapper “The Spirit of Giving,” which concluded with an improvised “We Will Rock You” finish.
De La Soul gave a shout out to the late James Brown and then A Tribe Called Quest by covering that group’s “Award Tour.” Mostly, the rap trio went back in time to 1989’s “3 Feet High And Rising,” playing staples like “Potholes in My Lawn” and “Me, Myself and I.” In a nice surprise, longtime producer Prince Paul joined the group on stage throughout.