Q: Can 10,000 Hipsters Dance To A Jam Band? A: YES!!!!!!!!
I just got back from the pitchfork music festival this morning. Both days were equally good, so I would say it really comes down to your own preferences to decide the better day. My own favorites were Art Brut, and Liars. Two decidely awesome acts with great personality on stage. We got a great video of The Futureheads playing that game they always do for Hounds of Love, which will hopefully be linked from Youtube as soon as we get the power back on at my apartment.
As a whole its a strange experience. Seeing so many bands that are suited to smaller clubs and similar venues play to massive outdoor audiences is a really intresting concept. Pacing is also a big issue. During Yo La Tengo, one of the last acts, people were leaving the crowd in a constant trickle. I'm sure they love the band, but standing in the heat for 16 hours over two days takes it toll, its the I-like-this-but-I'd-like-it-as-much-sitting-down-over-there syndrome.
The most intresting part of the whole event, not surprisingly, comes down to Os Mutantes, the final act. From someone who used to go to jam band shows in the past, I would say the atmosphere was almost identical. Devandra Banhart and a bandmate guested during a song. Guest artists are a total jamband trait. They teased While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Teasers are an even more obvious jam trait, while the song is also an indicator of it. Not to mention the abundance of soloing and basically generic super happy grooves being laid into. Then there was the crowd. It was really interesting to see a crowd so large who had been nodding along to Spoon minutes before get coaxed into a jumping, cheering excstatic mass of hippies. I liked the show a lot, but was it some kind of sign of the times? Was is some elaborate joke constructed by Ryan Schrieber? Was it just a misunderstanding of what would happen when the band reunited after such a long abscence? Would people have noticed if the band had suddenly morphed into String Cheese mid-song?
I'd always assumed that indie fans hated jam despite a few people I've met here and there who have the two types of music coexisting peacefully in their CD books. Maybe most of the people had never actually experienced the real energy that makes jam such a huge force in music and didn't recognize their sworn enemy when it hit. Whatever the reasons, people loved it.