P4k 2011 Day 3: Superchunk and Deerhunter (and secondhand news of Ariel Pink's hissy fit)
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.
Unlike many of the ’80s and ’90s indie-rock heroes who’ve come back to the Pitchfork fest for a celebratory victory lap, often in front of a majority of fans who never saw them in their heyday, Superchunk hardly is living in the past. Last year’s “Majesty Shredding” was as good as the band’s very best releases in the past, and the band has lost none of its effervescent enthusiasm and seemingly boundless energy in concert.
Indeed, guitarist-vocalist Mac McCaughan is rock’s never-aging Dorian Gray, though without the negative character traits of Oscar Wilde’s protagonist. And while mixing new material with old favorites, the group schooled many musicians this weekend half their age on how to play it like you mean it. The only downside was that more than a few fans who’d set their digital video recorders were bummed when Mac ruined the surprise about the Women’s Soccer World Cup.
Rating for Superchunk: 9.4.
Similarly, though Deerhunter and front man Bradford Cox have played the festival before, lessening the likelihood of surprising anyone, they never fail to impress with a stunning wall of psychedelic sound, indelible melodies, and Cox’s utterly unique and ultimately winning stage presence. Sounds, songs, personality—the band has the full mix, all in the right proportions, and on stage as on record (including last year’s “Halcyon Digest”), it just keeps getting better and better.
Rating for Deerhunter: 9.4.