Pitchfork Day 2: Free Energy, Real Estate, and Delorean

July 17, 2010


(photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)

And Yawnfork continues.

Sad to say, the first part of day two at the Pitchfork Music Festival has continued in the sleepy spirit of Friday, with nothing as yet to energize a sold-out crowd of 18,000 baking in the 92-degree heat.


Free Energy (not) (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)

Kicking things off on the main stages at 1 p.m., the very ironically named Free Energy made a punch line of a description that also happens to be fact: The band is big in Minnesota (where it formed, though it's now based in Philadelphia). The group is signed to DFA, the label co-founded by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, but it lacks the punch, drive, and originality of most of their labelmates -- and certainly of Murphy's own band -- and its set of generic indie-rock laced with touches of '70s AM rock might have been a treat on a quiet night at the Twin Cities' 400 Bar, but it fell flat at Pitchfork.

The New Jersey quartet Real Estate was no better, and maybe even a little worse, since its 45-minute set felt three times that long. All chiming guitars and genteel, mid-tempo rhythms, the group recalled the least of England's early '90s shoegazer bands, but without the rhythmic drive that generally elevated even the most mundane of those groups.

And, no, I'm really not feeling especially grouchy this year. I've just been waiting for the sort of discoveries Pitchfork has always provided in the past, and with the exception of Robyn on Friday, nothing so far has even come close.


Delorean (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)

At least Barcelona's Delorean worked its own mellow, electronic grooves effectively into a pleasant if not electrifying mid-afternoon trance-out breather. But midway through its set, I was nonetheless counting the minutes until Titus Andronicus, one of those "wow" revelations that blew me away the first time it appeared at Pitchfork in 2008.