Dear media professionals,
Thank you for clogging my Twitter feed with breathless dispatches from Pitchfork Festival all weekend. I know its very important for you to weigh in on how awesome Zola Jesus or Yuck were in a sun-beaten, 90 degree field when these bands play nice, air-conditioned clubs all the time in New York and Chicago to absolutely no fanfare.
Honestly, I love Pitchfork Fest. I went in 2008 and had an amazing time. The record fair, poster exhibitions and local food really give it a sense of community. It’s a great thing. But, man, I wish media outlets would maybe take their microscopic eye off P4k’s inner workings and provide me with an actual narrative beyond “[Band] killed it! On to see [other band]!”
Probably because there is no narrative beyond “music critics wanted a weekend in Chicago and now have to justify the write-off.” I mean, hey, I like Shabazz Palaces as much as the next guy, but be a fucking grown-up and enjoy the show. I don’t need to see a 200-post photo gallery just because you wanted to share a Hot Doug with EMA and expense it to the company.
Actually, maybe the Odd Future thing would be interesting to hear about. So far the only coverage of it with any depth or insight has been from Jim DeRogatis, and you’d be hard-pressed to call his “satanic panic” schtick fair or balanced. I thought this DeRo line was particularly great: “This blog has contacted about half of the main-stage acts at the festival for comment about sharing a stage with Odd Future, but none have responded.” I can’t figure out if that means the bands don’t think his argument is worth their time; or that contemporary indie rockers are so chickenshit that they won’t make a completely valid point about sexism if it means risking burning a bridge with XL/Windish/Pfork/etc….
My favorite part of the year I went to Pitchfork Festival was watching the critics, publicists and musician-hangers-on in the “VIP” section. Everyone in “VIP” was handed a playing card which entitled you to a free Chipotle burrito. Local businesses from one of the best food cities in America had set up a cheap food court that had no shortage of good things. But snaking down the grass, there was a half-hour line of “very important people” waiting to get a free, terrible handout.
There’s a weird anxiety about “being in the right place” that most critics and editors share. And Pitchfork Festival is definitely the right place. But just because you’re in the right place, doesn’t mean I need to hear about the dimensions of the room, how it’s lit and who covered a Fugazi song as if it was Neil Armstrong landing on the fucking moon.
"Tell me something I don’t know. Tell me something I can use." —Chicago’s own Ministry
[photos via Fourthisto]