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Pitchfork Music Festival Preview: Five Acts To Catch

By ; July 16, 2010 at 4:05 PM 

It’s here! The Pitchfork Music Festival is taking over Chicago’s Union Park this weekend (July 16th-18th). There’s 45 artists performing over the course of three days, but here are the five that you should be sure not to miss.

The Tallest Man On Earth – Friday, 4:00 – Connector Stage

Sweden’s raspy voiced troubadour Kristian Matsson, AKA the Tallest Man On Earth, is one of must see acts of the Pitchfork Music Festival’s Friday bill. Folk is possibly the least represented genre at the fest, so make sure to catch Matsson. He’s an absolute treasure. He wins the audience over with tenderness and emotion rather than theatrics, which will come as a breath of fresh air, especially with Robyn on the same bill. Expect songs from 2008’s Shallow Grave and 2010’s even better The Wild Hunt. Smart money has the Tallest Man On Earth being one of the most satisfying performances of the entire festival.

Modest Mouse – Friday, 8:30 – Aluminum Stage

Pitchfork definitely brought the star power this year, which probably explains the price hike. Modest Mouse has always been a band that just isn’t as good live as they should be, and their headlining performance Friday will probably be no different. However, they still can be enjoyable, and given that it’s been three years since their last release it can be reasonably expected that they’ll be digging into the richer parts of their catalog (full album performance of The Moon & Antarctica maybe, or is that too much to ask?). At the very least, it can’t be argued that they’re a true headliner, which is something that the Pitchfork Music Festival has struggled with in recent years.

LCD Soundsystem – Saturday, 8:30 – Aluminum Stage

It’s long been my assertion that dance music is criminally under-appreciated in Chicago. Thankfully, the fine people at Pitchfork have brought in LCD Soundsystem as the Saturday headliner to rectify the situation. Even after a full day of a very good lineup, expect the crowd to be wild for James Murphy and his live band. Fresh off another great album, Murphy and company look to give Pavement a run for best in show. There will be no shortage of electronic hits (and probably ecstasy). Along with Panda Bear, Saturday night looks to have the most crowd dancing of the weekend. LCD alone justifies the price of admission.

St. Vincent – Sunday, 5:15 – Connector Stage

Touring behind the massive critical success of 2009’s Actor, Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, will be one of the must see acts on the bill for Sunday Pavement day. While she’s mostly known for that stealthy voice, St. Vincent will also impress on her guitar. Fans of melodic songcraft and distortion (so basically anyone coming for Pavement) should find something to enjoy in her set. While Annie’s studio releases sound slick and sharp, she’s a different creature in concert. Her live performances have a dirty garage rock feel to them, and she absolutely shines. Expect a heavy dose of Actor with bits of 2007’s Marry Me and perhaps even a Jackson Browne cover.

Pavement – Sunday, 8:30 – Aluminum Stage

The daddy of them all. After a decade long hiatus, the reformed Pavement is undoubtedly the biggest attraction of the entire Pitchfork Music Festival. Chicago’s appetite for Pavement is damn near insatiable, as all the tickets for Sunday and all the three day passes have sold out. Frankly, there’s nothing I can tell you about Pavement that most of you don’t already know: Malkmus and company will be bringing their lo-fi melodic noise to Chicago for the first time in over a decade, and that’s truly a gift to the ears. While it’s unlikely Pavement will be as potent live as our memories tell us, a splendid time is guaranteed for all. As for what they will play that’s just about anybody’s guess, though Pavement first timers can rest comfortably knowing “Cut Your Hair” will make an appearance.

Check out the full schedule and line-up for the festival here and be sure to check back over the next few days for our extensive coverage of the festival.

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