Jul 24, 2008, 11:51AM

Sweating Bodies For Pitchfork

An pair of intrepid Midwesterners forged a trail to Chicago for last weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival. As they say, if you want an idea of the music, make a playlist. But if you want an idea of the people, read this article. What band does a "free spirit" want to see? How does a random spritzer dude find meaning in cooling down strangers? Wade into the irony and find out the answers.

Make no mistake, it was quite hot at the Pitchfork Music Festival. The threat of heatstroke? High. But that wasn't the most pressing danger of the weekend. Any time a field is flooded with indie music fans, there's a pronounced risk of total irony overload.

See, what separates the roughly 18,000 kids that make up the Pitchfork crowd from the Woodstock and Monterey Pop hippies of yore is that style and conviction are different entities. When Grateful Dead fans have dreadlocks, they believe in them. But when indie kids wear flower-pattern rain boots and cereal-box-prize-style plastic sunglasses, they're in on the joke.

That's not to say that every man sporting tight jogging shorts and bangs is an overly self-aware jerk. But while A&E was at the festival, we did risk having our minds iron-ilated and we did our best to scan the entire spectrum of hip-strosity.

So don't feel bad if you missed out on the festival, just put on a playlist that starts with some Dodos and ends with some Les Savy Fav, get yourself a dripping cone full of soy ice cream and pretend these characters are right next to you, getting loaded on Sparks alcoholic energy drinks.

The "Accidentally Fashionable"

A sage, beehive-coifed man with a beer once said, "Kids these days go out of their way to look like nerds."

Whether that's true or not, there are always indie kids who follow a style creed along the lines of "to follow a style creed takes too much effort, so I go with my gut." Usually, they end up getting a bit too nostalgic of clothes that remind them of Drew Barrymore circa the "E.T." days, or hats that, ironically, make them look like truck drivers.

You might find this person wearing ruby-slipper-colored Doc Marten boots and mermaid dresses, no doubt typing on their Blackberry and smoking an American Spirit.

The Insufferably Hip

The foot soldier of the Pitchfork attendee ranks is the private-college-educated, vintage-T-shirt-wearing and perpetually ironic male. They'll spout off dismissive and irreverent critiques of mainstream culture and condescend from their oh-so-safe perch. Despite being a festival of exclusively independent bands, they'll only vouch their allegiance to the lesser-knowns, giving them infinite credibility.

It's a cyclical approach, because when a band like F--k Buttons gets too big, they'll be hucked into the same pile as a David Letterman guest (The Hold Steady). But hey - they're too gosh darn hip to care.


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