Sunday, July 17, 2005

Day one of the Intonation festival is in the books, and I'm sort of amazed at how much fun I'm having. Last night, I got way, way too drunk at the pre-festival meet-and-greet, all the Pitchfork writers who could make it awkwardly introducing ourselves to each other, trying to get drunk enough fast enough to keep it from seeming weird, partying with dudes you only know as pixelized names and still managing to become fast friends by the end of the night. Today, poison still coursing through my veins, walked two miles to the festival and saw a park surrounded by fences with pale indie kids lined up around the block both ways. This is the cheese moment: I'm certainly not the dude who built Pitchfork, who turned it into the cultural force that could bring 15 thousand kids into this park, but I'm a part of it, and right now I'm proud. To stand in front of the stage barrier, to look behind me and see this sea of humanity, hands waving in the air - it was amazing, and I'm still buzzing. Walking straight past the fence, drinking free weird microsodas in the insanely huge and shady backstage area, nobody asking me what the fuck I was doing there: pretty great. Also great: the Go Team. The sound was muddy, and they need to not have so many guitars, but this band just emanates total joy and goodwill, hooks whirling out of control, chanting along with the goofy party cheerleader stuff becoming the only possible course of action. That band is a force. Also perfect: the Broken Social Scene, a band I've never bothered to notice, playing the ideal set for the middle of the afternoon, warm gushy fuzzy guitary indie-pop without the slightest hint of aggression, fifteen affable bearded guitarists onstage, a crowd that screamed for the opening drumbeats for songs I've never heard, it made me feel lucky to be there. Not everyone was great; I ignored Magnolia Electic Company and Prefuse because sometimes you need to trust your instincts. Tortoise was boring. I don't see the big deal about AC Newman. Four Tet sounded nice, but I can't imagine watching a dude play with his laptop for that long, standing out in the hot sun, surrounded by other people. Death From Above 1979 made a big show of cutting through the sunny dazed happy warmth of the day, and it wasn't something that needed to be cut through, which, along with the cloud of dust that the ensuing moshpit kicked up made breathing virtually impossible, made them look like total dickwads. But none of that matters because today I met Kalefa Sanneh. I saw Jean Grae and Will Oldham politely taking turns in the DJ tent, alternating dusty old soul with dusty old country. I saw Sean at the afterparty, dancing to Murphy Lee, crash into El-P. I'm feeling good.