Whew. After a long weekend of standing on my feet, I am exhausted. Can't wait to do it all again in 2 weeks for Lollapalooza. Yikes.
Overall, this year's festival was a huge improvement over last year's, which had a myriad of sound and stage issues. This year the sound was infinitely better, and the new and improved Balance Stage was actually the best stage of the festival- much more spacious and surrounded by trees that kept the audience shaded from the sun. There was a little bit of sound bleed between the stages, though it was only noticeable when a band played ultra quietly (Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes) or someone sound checked too loudly (Hold Steady, I'm looking at you). That's to be expected at almost any festival though.
Some brief highlights:
!!!- !!!'s newest material was killer live, and tracks like "Must Be the Moon" and "Heart of Hearts" sent us into a crazed dancing frenzy. The band added a bad-ass female singer since I last saw them 4 years ago, and she only added to the fun. Nic Offer dancing in his short shorts is always a sight to behold.
Animal Collective- The AC translated surprisingly well from the intimate confines of the Empty Bottle to the giant psychedelic light show of the outdoor festival stage. Other than "Peacebone" and "Fireworks", the Collective treated us to the usual bevy of new, unknown tracks, some of which were pretty incredible. Oh- and they played Panda Bear's "Comfy in Nautica". Prety awesome. But why was there only 3 members on stage- where was Deakin?
Les Savy Fav- The usual performance from everyone's favorite chubby, bearded, balding, shirtless, spandexed frontman. Yes, Tim Harrington, it makes complete sense for you to play in a Sherlock Holmes costume.
Cut Copy- This was on its way to becoming the only black mark on the weekend (other than the muddy fields of Saturday, which meant I couldn't ever sit down). After the show was seemingly 15 minutes late and roadies came out to chuck water bottles and energy drinks at us in attempts to appease the packed and antsy crowd, out comes Brandon Cox (Deerhunter, Atlas Sound) and someone from King Khan to let us know that Cut Copy was "stuck at the airport" and they'd be playing some jams in the meantime. (Aside- why is it Brandon Cox is always there when my musical expectations are foiled?) Considering the park's curfew was 10pm and it was already after 9, we figured they wouldn't have enough time to play and left the stage to watch a bit of Spoon. Luckily, an astute friend stuck around and texted us when it was announced Cut Copy would be on in 5 minutes, so we raced back to the Balance Stage just in time for the band to take the stage. We were then treated to a brief but fantastic 20-minute dance party, made much more enjoyable due to the personal space we got from the significantly thinner crowd. A great way to end the weekend. I went into this show not totally sure how I felt about the 80's dance party sounds of In Ghost Colours, but came away a believer. Anyone who felt their time with Cut Copy was cut short can take heart in the fact that they will be returning to Chicago with the Presets at the Metro on September 17.
I left the camera home this weekend, but check out pics from my photographer friends at Radio Free Chicago.