by Jake Sanders
Ah yes. Like a national holiday for those who aren’t quite patriotic, The Pitchfork Music Festival comes around but once a year…however, I don’t have the money to attend. No, I’m not bitter or jealous. After all, there’s a ton of music blogs to choose from that give an group-by-group account of the festival, plus all the really juicy stuff that happens off stage. That should be almost as good as being there, right?
Trying to get to a concert of this size is the same story almost every year. The ads show up around the beginning of spring for the summer shows, there’s a lot of hype, there’s a lot of bands listed, and even the price is affordable. And I think, “Yes, this will be the year I’ll get to see at least one, get out there and really jive, y’know?” Yet I wonder.. “How will I make it there? I don’t think I know anyone who lives in East Sussex, and I’m not sure if there’s even a hamlet nearby where I could rent a room.” So I become resigned to looking around for local shows, or if the money’s really tight, watching The Last Waltz at home.
Thankfully, the blogs are there for people who couldn’t go to Pitchfork. You can skip a rock on the internet and hit a music blog covering it. If you’re quick enough, you can catch the live streaming videos during the performances, but if not, there are the write-ups that some blogs do. It’s not exactly the same as hearing the band live, but if you know them well enough it’s kind of interesting to read what they sounded like, and to check out some pictures too. And for bands that you’ve never heard, it’s good to read about what their performances were like, and to check them out some other time. To be fair though, sometimes they can leave something to be desired. I would like to know how Neko Case and Fleet Foxes played, but reading on Pitchforks’ blog that an out-fit looked like it was from a yard-sale and how there were five beards were on stage seems a bit like reading tips from Vogue or GQ.
One thing that I do love about reading the blogs is checking out the pictures. I’d like to think that I’m a purist and couldn‘t care less about what a band looks like. But, I know that I’m really not, and that I do like to see the funny faces that musicians make and the like. Like, scrolling down a list of pictures on onethirtybpm.com and Brooklynvegan, then seeing Robert Pollard performing a high-kick without any context or without actually having been there is hilarious to me. Or, seeing Ariel Pink putting three fingers in the air and grimacing. “He looks so angry here,” I think to myself, “and yet he makes such pleasant music”.
It is a stretch to think that a combination of pictures and a short description is any substitute for seeing a band live. But I found out about a lot of new groups looking over all this stuff, so thanks to all those who went and wrote about it. Then again, it could be that the bloggers are just flaunting how much fun they had, just callously rubbing it in our faces. Just giving us little tidbits of information to keep us mildly interested, but really laughing themselves silly thinking about all those who couldn’t go.
But no, I’m not bitter at all, really.