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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

Pat's Pitchfork Weekend Friday: Trash Talk, Mac DeMarco, Woods, Joanna Newsom, Björk


The first night of Pitchfork Music Festival didn’t feel quite right, like the pace was off. Or maybe I just couldn’t handle “Crystalline.”

Trash Talk’s thrashy punk paved the way for a rowdy evening, and it was, for the most part.

Mac DeMarco, who played Bloomington’s Russian Recording back in June, milked the main stage for all it was worth. The young rocker’s killer cover of “Blackbird” and YOLO attitude beefed up his stoned records into stadium-sized entertainment.

Festival veterans Woods played a typically stellar set of jangly and noisy jams.

It was a guitar-rock sort of day, so I was a little worried when Joanna Newsom took to the stage a few hours later: alone with only a harp and a grand piano.

Then the unheard of happened when the festivalgoers went unheard. Pitchfork’s now sizable crowd was quiet for the duration of Newsom’s hour-long set. The cicadas made more noise than we did.

A friend tells me the fringe of the audience was less reverent, but from where I stood, folks hardly dared to mouth the words.

Newsom herself belted them. She seemed most excited about the new material, which was good enough not to break the spell.

She cursed herself when she misplayed older songs, but the crowd forgave her. Or cheered her on, like when she yelled “Come on!” to herself after a botched note in “Cosmia.”

Newsom even got a rock-and-roll moment of sorts, when she pushed her time constraints to perform eight-minute tearjerker “Sawdust & Diamonds.”

The hot, noisy day had cooled to a cathartic quiet for Newsom. The ensuing bombast felt too big for Friday.

The abrupt transition to Björk’s full-fledged performance left me overwhelmed, even though I couldn’t really see anything.

Probably due to the Artist’s insistence not to be photographed (yeah, “artist” was capitalized in the announcement), the big screens showed the same visuals playing behind Green Stage rather than showing Björk herself.

I felt the distance as Björk went deeper into space while I stayed grounded in a rainy, thundering night. For what it’s worth, the storm made for cool set dressing.
Is it fair to say the festival hadn’t earned Björk yet?
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