Pitchfork Festival 2009, Notes from the Park

On Saturday, Montreal trio Plants and Animals’ anthemic indie rock that gave way to afrenzied drum-beat down set a high bar for the remainder of the day, while in the shade of stage B, The Dutchess and The Duke’s organic folk pop provided a perfect backdrop to an alternate summer afternoon in a park. 

Performing as a quintet, the group closed out their set with a rousing rendition of “I Am Just A Ghost.”

Toronto’s Fucked Up continued the festival’s tradition of placing the only near-controversial band (outside of the Jesus Lizard) in an early afternoon set on Saturday; a slot taken by Boris in 2008, and Mastodon the year before. 

On top of that, the band had the bad luck of being plagued with terrible sound. If there were any sounds coming out of Ben Cook’s microphone, they were inaudible, which meant that a LOT was lost in the translation of songs off of their latest album, The Chemistry of Common Life (Matador). 


Despite it all, they still gave one of the more memorable performances of the day.  Damian Abraham chewed holes through roughly half-a-dozen corporate sponsored beach balls that came his way, tearing open a hole in a large blue one and shoving his head inside (still singing, of course), crowdsurfing (later admitting “I thought I was going to die”), and ranking the crowd a 9.9, “better than the latest Animal Collective record,” and “better looking” that the last festival crowd they played for in Slovenia. Now that’s appreciation. 

Mid-afternoon brought equally ear-drum puncturing vocalists in classically trained violinist Final Fantasy (who would have seemed more appropriate for a formal concert setting than an youthful festival), and X-Ray Spex channeling art-rockers Ponytail.  

By the time Yeasayer took to the Connector stage at 5:15, the field was uncomfortably packed.Thankfully, their show, which featured a fair helping of new material, provided a welcome distraction.

The Black Lips and The National were the choice of headliners for the evening, of which The Black Lips were the natural way to go for those looking for a good party, considering past antics like guitar-smashing and peeing in public.

Aided by a small swarm of audience members onstage, The Black Lips were an entertaining way to cap off the day.

Leave a Comment