In addition to the attention of the local media, Chicago domestic violence groups attracted considerable attention nationwide through their presence at the Pitchfork Music Festival last weekend, making their attempt to provide a counterpoint to the misogynistic and homophobic lyrics of Odd Future pretty much the story of the seventh annual festival.
Megan McDonald, the former overseer of Taste of Chicago and the other city music festivals as executive director of Mayor Daley's Office of Special Events, was forced to quit last spring before being fired for refusing to cooperate in Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s investigation into the homicide case involving Daley's nephew, R.J. Vanecko, according to the inspector general's latest report.
Yes, this is the same Megan McDonald who wrote an indignant--and sometimes illiterate--diatribe to this blogger last December denying that she was a favorite crony of the Daley family and asserting that her lofty position had nothing to do with her connections. “The notion that I have gotten any job, or stayed in any job because of who I know instead of what I know, is so incredibly insulting,” she wrote.
Rumors have been swirling about McDonald’s failure to cooperate with the Vanecko murder investigation for the last week, but the Sun-Times was first to break the story in this report.
Ever since their epic partnership with Touch & Go Records to celebrate that late, lamented Chicago label's legacy a few years back, the fine folks behind the annual Hideout Block Party has been having a harder and harder time with their annual outdoor end-of-summer celebration, competing with the glut of other festivals and street fairs in town, as well as all-around weekend-long music-overdose burnout.
This year, they're down to one day. But what a day it promises to be!
Here's the club's press release, courtesy of Hideout co-owner Tim Tuten, the Chicago music scene's man in Washington.
Andrew Bird, Mavis Staples, to play Hideout’s 15th Block Party
Saturday September 24. One Day Only!
Noon – 10:00PM
Tickets on sale Friday July 22, 2011 at 10:00am
The Hideout will celebrate its 15th Birthday Party with our friends Andrew Bird, Mavis Staples, Jon Langford, and more on Saturday, September 24, the first weekend of autumn.
Kicking off the third and final day of the 2011 Pitchfork Music Festival with a welcome burst of energy made all the more impressive for defying the sweltering heat, San Francisco’s Fresh & Onlys mixed upbeat power-pop rhythms and weirder, more moody guitars and vocals for a set that, while it wasn’t particularly original, at least had an inspiring pulse.
The quartet also flashed a laconic wit. “Stick around and you’re gonna hear some other bands,” they cracked at one point, their lack of enthusiasm for that idea made obvious.
Rating for the Fresh & Onlys: 6.8
Then, at last, we were down to the final two main-stage bands of the weekend.
Cut Copy fared better with its light show than DJ Shadow did the night before while holding down the same slot; after a painful day with temperatures in the mid-90s, boy, was it a relief when the sun finally set. But the group’s music was nowhere near as interesting.
The Melbourne, Australia-based quartet opened with several fairly straightforward power-pop tunes; think of Crowded House remade as modern indie-rockers. Then the drum machine kicked in, and suddenly we were transported to Brooklyn, hipster dance-rock center of the universe.
The grooves were a sort of aural Red Bull to help keep anyone who was fading on their feet through the home stretch.
Special Pitchfork Music Festival Contributor
Chaz Bundick’s Toro y Moi may have started as a lo-fi bedroom-recorded affair, but while they still tread dreamy, chilled-out vibes, their sound has grown live, befitting their later-slot billing. Bundick’s summery keyboard bounce and falsettos, along with some added funked-up rhythms gave the set more drive than their previous tours. While fans filled the area, moving to the grooves, I also spotted Tyler the Creator at the side of the stage, moving as much as his cast would allow, to the rhythms.
HEALTH lived up to their all-caps name with full-throttle vitality, making sure their fans were rawked hard during their musical assault. Hurtling about the stage, their tribal-beat laden, guitar squalling compositions careened at a frenetic, off-kilter teetering pace.
Special Pitchfork Music Festival Contributor
After Twin Sister, I wandered over to the outskirts of the large audience gathering for OFWGKTA, who started 15 minutes before the only other hip-hop performance on Sunday, Shabazz Palaces. There were a few women wandering off the field, whom I asked if they were leaving for any particular reason. Turned out they didn’t know who Odd Future was, and judging from the few conversations I had around the field, perhaps their impact is less than whatever attention they’re drawing from media or otherwise. Closer to the soundboard, there was another gathering of 20-year old women, all of whom said they were fans of the band. They also waved the Between Friends fans that were being passed out to increase awareness regarding rape and other violence against women.
"I’m a huge Tyler fan,” said Ranna. However, she wasn’t very familiar with the lyrics. “He was tweeting about it this morning,” explained her friend Kelly. “I’m not comfortable with it.” Another friend Jenn added, “A lot of rap artists do this, degrading women with violent messages.
Busy writing up Odd Future’s performance, I missed the act that immediately followed it on the main stages, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, with its odd mix of glam rock, psychedelic pop, and plain old surrealism. But a half dozen fans were disappointed that front man Ariel Rosenberg, seemingly aggrieved with sound problems and/or his band mates, threw a minor hissy fit two-thirds of the way through and stormed off the stage, cutting the set short by at least 15 minutes.
He could learn a thing or two about showbiz professionalism from Tyler the Creator. Then again, it’s probably good if he doesn’t.
The next two acts in the center of Union Park did their best to redeem the day, if not the weekend.