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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pitchfork's blazing sting!

Going to college in Illinois meant Chicago was always my musical home. I used to sleep in my car just so I could be part of the excitement of the club life. The pulsing house sound, the throbbing industrial beat and the thriving live-music scene were all influences. It is no accident Chicago is host to both Lollapalooza and the Pitchfork Music Festival. A band such as the Ponys really characterizes that marriage between the city and the Pitchfork Music Festival. I love the intersection between melody and noise that is key to their sound. The new single “Double Vision” distills the hooks in a classically produced style. Brian’s reverbed twang has the right bite. Their concept fits so well at a festival that benefited from the opening night with Sonic Youth.

From the moment the gates opened Friday evening, many of the faithful rushed over to claim a spot by the main stage. This prevented them from enjoying an epic rendition of Slint’s Spiderland. Atlanta today bubbles over with a psychedelic sound, but our indie music has been heavily touched by Slint’s approach. Even if some may have found the sparse approach a little boring, there was a deadly precision to the band’s presentation. David Pajo’s ringing tones underlined an economy that has been so often imitated.

While the format of a single album may have restricted Sonic Youth from going all out, the band offered a memorable performance of Daydream Nation. And there were moments when Union Park seemed to quake as Sonic Youth exploded. As Lee Rinaldo ran his slide down the guitar for “Eliminator Jr.,” there seemed to be no limit to the band’s intensity. Kim Gordon was in rare form as she went from slamming her bass to showing off her lively dance skills.

Sunday evening, Of Montreal tried to outdo itself.

One festival-goer avoided the live show because he didn’t “want to have to look at Kevin Barnes’ penis.” Kevin did oblige us by stripping down to a black vinyl G-string. Meanwhile, his wife Nina writhed in a gold-lame body suit as she smeared bright red apple sauce all over herself.

On Saturday, Voxtrot’s rhythm section of Jason Chronis and Matt Simon perfected those same dance grooves. Ramesh and Matt jumped up and down to incite the crowd. And the Klaxons reminded us how English bands hone their skills at festival. They started out with a bang and never let up!

RECOMMENDED: Glasgow’s Travis is bringing its upbeat melodies to the Tabernacle on Sunday. For a while it seemed neck-in-neck with Coldplay for the voice of U.K. pop. The band still has a lovely bittersweet quality, and Fran is a charismatic frontman.

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