BY MARK GUARINO
Other Saturday performers at Pitchfork -- many of which seemed to have variations of animals for names -- struggled though the beastly heat.
Noah Lennox, who performs under the name Panda Bear, performed alone, accompanied by just a synthesizer, sampler and a guitar that was barely played. He is a member of the experimental folk-pop band Animal Collective; their psychedelic collage is bearable in numbers but alone Lennox stretched the limits of self-indulgence. His set was essentially one long trick: With all the music programmed, all he was required to do was vocalize incoherent baby talk into his microphone while arched over his equipment like he was performing surgery.
Could there be a rapper spinning his wheels in clichés as much as Freddie Gibbs? Unlike the recent slate of hip-hop artists from this area, Gary, Ind., native Gibbs had nothing new or interesting to contribute other than the checklist rapping points that slapped his set with an expiration label dated 1994. He spent time in the crowd, but soon after it dissipated as streams of people continued to exit long before he was finished.
Bears in Heaven, a two-third mustachioed trio from Brooklyn, was steeped in the grandiose musical gestures of 1970's prog-rock but did not have the songs for which to channel all that bluster. Lead singer Jon Philpot's high falsetto and knack for big flourishes was reminiscent of Jon Anderson of Yes. While his band was embedded in electronic effects, hooked up to the drums to the vocals, the song textures had no framework, which made everything they played sound disconnected and lazy.
Montreal's Wolf Parade was a daytime highlight. The band's electro-rock was heavy on riffs, despite the two keyboards that were used to punctuate this band's streamlined pop sensibilities. On "This Heart's On Fire," a dance beat thudded as both keyboards whirled freely -- not unlike how it felt offstage, under the sun, and spellbound in the heat.