The Jesus Lizard's David Yow gets crazy at Pitchfork. Photo: Oscar Lopez, for the Sun-Times
Four bands down, 36 to go. The first night of Pitchfork Music Festival 2009 saw cool weather and even a bit of rain, but that didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds who stood in the long will-call line to gain entrance. In fact, lines were a theme of this night -- just ask anyone who tried to get a beer.
As for the music? It's pretty clear that hometown rockers The Jesus Lizard took the title of most exciting act last night -- not that there was much competition, says Jim DeRogatis in his Day 1 recap. We'll defer to the master on Tortoise (boring) and agree that Yo La Tengo was good if predictable. Despite much anticipation, Built to Spill's set never really gelled for us - the band tended to stick to its longer, jammier tunes ("Conventional Wisdom," "Kicked It In The Sun") which, while technically impressive, failed to keep the energy levels very high. The biggest cheers in our general area came for the poppier selections -- "Big Dipper," "Carry the Zero," "You Were Right" -- but those were few and far between. Maybe we're just bitter that our "Write the Night" choices were clearly ignored, but there was definitely something missing from this set. In any case, it was fun to see lead singer Doug Martsch's constant, Muppet-esque head-bobbing. The guy really has a unique delivery.
But don't just listen to us - here's what other folks had to say about Day 1 of Pitchfork:
Time Out Chicago can't believe that Built to Spill didn't play "Car."
Greg Kot gives props to The Jesus Lizard.
Chicago Public Radio one-upped Ira Glass.
NewCity talks about David Yow's off-color jokes.
Venus Zine says it was a great night for an "Autumn Sweater."
Metromix says the guys in Tortoise seemed like they would've preferred a night in the studio.
Paste discusses how "Write the Night" was just a passing phrase.