Pitchfork Day 2: Titus Andronicus, Raekwon, and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
(photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)
In 2008, touring in support of their first album "The Airing of Grievances," Patrick Stickles and his bandmates delivered an edgy set of twisted art-punk. With the release of their second album, the historical concept effort "The Monitor," their sound has taken a turn toward simpler song structures with anthemic choruses and dramatic dynamic shifts -- a sound, needless to say, ideally suited for motivating a bored, over-heated crowd in the wide-open spaces of a baseball field.
Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)
Raekwon (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)
In fact, Pitchfork's Chris Kaskie said that both the delay and the sound problems were caused by a generator overheating in the brutal temperatures. UPDATED: Kaskie was wrong: Pitchfork Festival stage managers say the delay in starting the set was not on the festival's end--no generator overheated--and that one of Raekwon's posse in fact was having trouble booting up his laptop with the backing tracks.
Raekwon did seem to be trying hard to overcome the sound difficulties and the sketchy pacing of the set with extra energy, but the show was over before he ever had a chance to get in front of these obstacles.
Jon Spencer (photo by Kate Gardiner/NewsHour)
In sorry contrast to Spencer's first, legendary indie-rock combo Pussy Galore, which got the mix of blues grit, garage grunge, and goofy rock camp exactly right, the Blues Explosion, despite the exquisite playing of guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins, always had a relationship to the music it claimed to love that bordered on blackface parody. While the band's guitar blow-outs and rolling rhythms were as ferocious as ever, that quality remained as the reunited combo took the stage in Union Park, and, as in the past, it made it difficult to totally lose yourself in the noise.