Pitchfork Day 3: Thee Oh Sees and The Men
Guitars continued their domination of the Blue stage with Thee Oh Sees delivering a scorching set. While a San Francisco band playing Nuggests-style garage rock doesn't sound like a surefire hit at a fest like this, Thee Oh Sees made everyone in earshot believers in short order.
A huge crowd of young fans whipped into a mosh pit, something I'm fairly certain never happened at a Thirteenth Floor Elevators show. The most striking thing about Thee Oh Sees set was how full of energy and vitality it was. Psychedelic garage rock has a pretty standard musical template, which Thee Oh Sees didn't deviate from too much. But there was nothing conventional or predictable about the performance.
This was the best music I heard all weekend and it looks like members of Wild Flag and White Mystery agreed with me - they were watching intently from the wings.
The Men had a more uneven set, inserting drastic stylistic changes into the intelligent punk of their recent debut record. They took the stage with a slow, Crazy Horse-sounding tune featuring lap slide guitar. The next song they continued their Neil Young tribute by adding harmonica to the mix. It left the crowd confused more than anything. After Thee Oh Sees' blistering set the crowd was energized and The Men didn't give them anything to dance to until their third song- a punk jam that stretched on too long.
Some have compared their music to the Twin Tone label's output, and the Replacements are definitely an influence. I was also reminded of early Teenage Fanclub with their alternating between three lead singers, though The Men are nowhere near the Fanclub in the vocal department.
Eventually The Men played songs from their album, including "Open Your Heart," though it proved to be too late. The crowd was already disconnected, but The Men got their wish - no one is pigeonholing them.