TV on the Radio, HEALTH closed out a strong Pitchfork Festival - Reverb

Live review: Pitchfork Music Festival Day 3, featuring TV on the Radio, HEALTH, Deerhunter, Cut Copy and others

Chicago – There was something undeniable and special about TV on the Radio closing out the 2011 Pitchfork Music Festival with a surprisingly dead-on take on Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” on Sunday night. You could say that Pitchfork is the little music festival with the big heart, but that’s too easy.

Especially in a year where Coachella is plotting two identical events on back-to-back weekends next April, Pitchfork is a small festival. And that size (and middle-of-town proximity) does bring with it fewer headaches.

But Pitchfork is where TV on the Radio can headline in 2011 and it makes sense. They preach quality over quantity, and while that’s defined differently to everyone, they hit more than they miss.

And that’s how we got here — TVOTR’s triumphant, rock ’n’ roll moment headlining the last night of Pitchfork. They threw down “Staring at the Sun” and “Wolf Like Me” like the mammoth indie rock anthems they are, and the group’s unapologetic enthusiasm was infectious. The crowd stretched well past the soundboard, and even though the wind often the sound away, it was still a defining moment. For the festival. For the band. For all of us.

Day 3 turned out to be the fest’s most appealing day, even if it was the least musically diverse of the three days. Deerhunter played an afternoon set that included “Little Kids” and almost made you forget about the sweltering heat/humidity. Toro y Moi brought its funky, bassy, harmony-filled indie rock.

Cut Copy outshone the sun as it set to the west with a feel-good set that jumped from “Feel the Love” to “Lights and Music.” The band’s new jam “Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution” invigorated the crowd with its big beats.

Across the field, the Blue Stage was running late with HEALTH’s soundcheck. But you could still hear Cut Copy’s ’80s revisionism – until the L.A. noise band finally got going. HEALTH is more accustomed to warehouse non-stages than large-scale festival platforms, but the band still stirred up the crowd with noise that was occasionally melodic and artfully perverse.

HEALTH’s memorable madness coupled with TVOTR’s focused set made for a strong ending to a solid festival. And as a Pitchfork first-timer this year, I’m already looking forward to a return visit next summer.

Click here for a full photo gallery and review of Day 2.

Click here for Day 1.

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Ricardo Baca is the founder and executive editor of Reverb, the co-founder of The UMS and an award-winning critic and journalist at The Denver Post.

Reverb polls editor Joe Murphy is a web developer in the Denver Post newsroom. He also heads up the Denver Bicycle Water Balloon Jousting League (DBWBJL). You can find him on twitter at @denverpostjoe.

  • Dannohodad

    RB, what’s with all the butt shots?  Obviously, we can all agree that number 67 is our fav, but yeah…just curious.  

    • http://www.denvereverb.com Ricardo Baca

      Yeah, our photog had the idea to include them in his last photo essay. I’m a fan of the statue, personally. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SXA6ZJIVSY6TEZBKSFJQV4I72U Jimbo

    Didn’t Joe Murphy have improper relations with young boys in Chicago?