Pitchfork Festival 2009, Notes from the Park

On Sunday afternoon, feel-good indie poppers The Thermals may have won “PFork Fan Favorite,” if such an award existed. Their many 90s covers, including Greenday’s “Basket Case,” seemed to be a cop-out for a band that is adept at writing catchy pop-punk songs in it’s own right. The fact that the crowd ate it up seemed to indicate that the Pitchfork Festival has shed it’s “hipsters only” reputation. 

By the time the Walkmen began their set just a hair past 5pm and trendy French poppsters M83 started setting up shop at the Aluminum stage, many had started saving their place for the night’s headlining performance from The Flaming Lips, lawn chairs and all. 

Over at the Balance Stage, Vancouver garage-rock duo Japandroids were undoubtedly one of the most promising emerging bands of the weekend, performing songs off of their debut full-length Post-Nothing with a fervor that re-energized the audience out of a mid-afternoon slump. 

Japandroids: “The Boys are Leaving Town”

Following, was an equally upbeat performance from Brooklyn’s indie-darlings The Vivian Girls.

Although Mew will be opening for NIN on their European tour, for many at the festival, the Danish glammy prog rockers were the sleeper hit of the evening with rich, full sound, and energy, rounded out by Jonas Bjerre’s soft vocals.

The Flaming Lips made a grand entrance through a projection of a woman’s psychedelically animated nether regions (very Monty Python!) and proceeded to enamor  the audience with a carnival-eqsue atmosphere, with clouds of confetti, balloons, and singer Wayne Coyne walking on top of the crowd in his giant hamster ball.

Their set of fan favorites and spectacular the stage show was a memorable way to end the long weekend.

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