Pitchfork Fest in Review: Mac DeMarco, Angel Olsen, Trash Talk and More

Photo Credit: Leif Johnson

Angel Olsen

Jesus Criminy, it’s hot. Daughn Gibson noted as much in his 3:30 p.m. red stage slot. “It is hotter than a two-peckered goat today,” he intoned in his wry baritone. Sweatily, a slowly growing crowd agreed. The singer’s loop-based country tunes became meatier, more rocking versions of themselves courtesy of his on-point backing band, and Gibson’s stage presence was a thing to behold, even in the sweltering afternoon sun.

Over on the blue stage, Frankie Rose and her band plowed through great-sounding versions of tunes from last year’s Interstellar (plus a couple older jams). The shimmery new wave style that characterized that album was toned down in favor of a drier, more aggressive sound. During Rose’s last song, a sudden breeze began to whip the trees surrounding the stage. She departed, but not before declaring her intention of drinking “all the beers.”

Next up on the blue stage was Trash Talk, an Odd Future-affiliated brocore gang from Sacramento. Immediately upon first blast beat, a wild (and honest-to-god) circle pit engulfed the area in front of the stage. Bodies flew, including frontman Lee Spielman, who seemingly spent more time in and on top of the crowd than onstage.

Beach balls—not bodies—flew through the air during Mac DeMarco’s green stage set, a weird and ecstatic mixture of tunes from the very great 2 and from the great American songbook. Early on, DeMarco and crew launched into an abridged version of Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” (“That was a Sting song,” the singer joked afterwards), but by set’s end DeMarco’s affinity for MOR rock had been made abundantly clear. Bachman Turner Overdrive and “Enter Sandman” made appearances, and the crowd, drunk from the sun or other intoxicants, lapped it all up.

Angel Olsen is a national treasure. Her blend of sly headiness and raw emotion makes for a captivating experience on record, and Olsen captivated Friday’s blue stage crowd with songs from Half Way Home, her mighty and miraculous voice cutting sharply through the dying DeMarco noise from across the way and floating upwards to the trees, which, breeze firmly established, swayed and swooned in response.

Next up: Bjork.


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