Thursday, July 24, 2008

Expressway Does Pitchforkfest: Day 1 "Don't Look Back"

The first day of the Pitchforkfest in Chicago was also the day I had anticipated the most. The other two days had some decent bands on the bill, but the first day, with three of my favorite bands playing their best records in full, was one of the reasons I made the long hike up to Chicago. Here, you won't read about the amazing architecture, deep dish pizza or the humid weather of Chicago (feel free to ask me about them in person though). Nope, these next few posts are all about the music. Here we go, Day 1 of Pitchforkfest 2008.

Mission of Burma blazed through VS like re-born post-punks with a vengeance, which I suppose they are. Their set was probably also the loudest of the entire fest, but I suppose it didn't help that I was mere feet away from the stage. Great start to the fest.

As I've made it clear here before, Bubble and Scrape is my favorite record in the Sebadoh catalog, and to see the band play it in it's entirety was one of the main reasons I had to make the trek to Chicago. I caught Sebadoh on their original line-up reunion tour two years ago here in Vancouver and it was pretty fantastic, though they barely touched Bubble and Scrape. This show obviously more than made up for that. I managed to squeeze my way through the thickening crowd and got a front row "seat" for the action. They did not disappoint. In fact, the only complaint that I have was that they had to switch their instruments on almost every song so as to play the album properly, which made the 45 minute record over an hour. That aside, the band played through the record flawlessly and made my inner 17 year-old incredibly happy.

The Bomb Squad began their set as soon as the last chord to Flood (the final track on Bubble and Scrape) had been struck. They played a booming set of dubstep and dub to warm up the crowd for the headliners of the night, Public Enemy. This was my first live experience with PE (I had seen Sebadoh and Mission of Burma before) and was not sure what the live performance would be like. Hip-hop is usually a disaster live, so I kept my expectations low. They managed to blow them right out of the water. Chuck D, sounding as great as he did in '88, was backed up by a DJ, bass, guitar, drums, Professor Griff, the S1W's and, of course, Flavor Flav, which, when combined together brought the potent content of Nation to full fruition. Flavor had a few missteps though, including a plug for his new sitcom, which garnered some booing from the crowd. Flavor actually handled it well by telling the crowd that they should be happy for him instead of booing him like a "bunch of ghosts." Later, after the encores, Flavor refused to leave the stage and jumped up on the drum kit for a half-assed solo. The lights were being shut off, the band was leaving the stage and the crowd was exiting, and Flavor was trying to give away his t-shirt. Anything for the spotlight.

Tomorrow I will hopefully have a brief rundown of the next two days. And, if all goes as planned, next week will be my guide to Chicago record shops. Ya'll check back now, ya hear?

*All photos, as usual, are courtesy of my own damn self*

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