Bitchpork Music Festival Review: Saturday (7.16.11)

Bitchpork is an annual Chicago music festival that occurs the same weekend as Pitchfork. It’s been held in warehouses around the city, and usually features a large number of local bands in addition to a handful from around the country. Occasionally larger bands make their way through; Lightning Bolt performed under a pseudonym last year. This year the festival kept up with Pitchfork and added a third full day of bands and performances.

The second day of Bitchpork Festival 2011 kicked off with a handful of veteran acts, much buzzed about bands, and Animal Collective.

First up, Brooklyn freak folk outfit A Cloud Becomes Your Hand. Though the pitch-distorted violin and marimba fused together to create polychromatic musical pieces, the drums and bass were buried deep in a muddy mix. We overheard audience members agreeing that this was not “a live band” and they simply could not recreate live the magic of their latest record. Grade: C-


Next, noise drone act Brain Paw. Two slightly aging former metalheads made squealing and squelching noises with guitars, a toy keytar, and at one point one of them played two recorders at once. While the audience appreciated the first half of their piece “Untitled Improvisation #338,” many were understandably disappointed that Brain Paw refused to play the second more complex half of that movement. Grade: D+

Between sets, a performance group took the stage and entertained the audience with food smashing, fantasy battles, and blackface sadomasochism. But you know, we’ve all seen Gallagher, Game of Thrones, and Forbidden Zone. There’s nothing especially new on offer here. In the end, we simply didn’t feel much more aware that we have Sexual Issues with our mothers, and that seemed like the whole point. Grade: D-


A musical venture called Ono blended falsetto vocals, trippy textures and some jam-band excursions into a thoroughly pleasant, pastoral set, but stuck to one amiable tempo for the most part. Before it was too late, they cut loose, doubled the pace and finally achieved lift-off. Next time, don’t wait so long, guys. The old man in the wedding dress sang “My girl loved me so much it made her daddy angry” and then pulled off his veil. Grade: B

We heard LA natives Castle Freak from the alley behind the venue, and they sounded as loud as a band should sound from the alley. There we spoke with the author of I Hate William Howard Taft about living the Writing Lifestyle. “When I make something good, it freaks me out and I can’t make anything else for a while,” she told us. She also admitted to belonging to the demographic of people who are “bored at work and generally sad.” Grade: B-

Then we voyaged over to the side stage to see what sludge noise punk-rockers Mayor Daley were up to. To our dismay, they were subpar and lacked the same driving power and tenacity they possessed during their 2010 Bitchpork set. Maybe it was where we were standing or that after 20 years, Daley is no longer the mayor of Chicago. But, sound/ political issues or not, a good band should be able to make you feel at least something with their set, no matter where you’re standing or who is in office. Grade: C+

Chandeliers is true DIY. In fact, they recorded their first album with a handheld recorder and released it on cassette tape. This time around they used a more traditional means – a production studio in Oakland, CA. Chandeliers told NPR’s All Things Considered “We love to see how we can stretch using limitation to its farthest reaches of musicality.” They certainly did that at Bitchpork. Chandeliers used a ukulele and drum beats and looped it all under their own sky high vocals to create polychromatic musical pieces. Their vocals shouted above flute-like keys and slightly afro-pop feel on chorus, lifted by lightness of looped noises. Grade: A-

There was a firebreather/ dancer in the alley. She was short and deformed in the face. She did a good job both fire dancing and fire breathing. Some people walked in front of her while she was performing, and later she complained about them getting in the way and disrupting her show. She seemed excited and happy to be there with people and breathing fire and dancing with fire. NO GRADE

The disappointment of the evening had to be Fat Worm of Error’s lack of Giant Worm Costumes, which had been a staple in the veteran noise band’s stage performances. That coupled with the restriction of roof access gave the proceedings a somber air. The host opened the set with the story, “So I’m Down in Wal-Mart, Sucking my Dad’s Pussy” and fans waited for the hip hop jester trio to start. One mischievous, albeit timely fan, led the charge screaming “I say Harry, you say Potter!” and all the other fans followed suit laughing as we all shouted back and forth. Grade: A-

The culmination of the evening had to be Mahjongg’s final set. They opened with a contemplative piece, then swung quickly into banging lo-fi dance territory. To close their set, Mahjongg thanked the various sponsors they’ve had through the years, including a major beer corporation and a car manufacturer. Vocalist Hunter Husar described a new model of Luxury Van as a “breakthrough in restructuring your travel spaces” and “the next step forward for bold restraint.” The lights burst and he spoke evenly into the darkness. He said, “You can either have a child or be a child, you can either have a child or be a child.” From behind the recreated Price is Right set, women emerged holding babies. The babies wore what looked like hearing protection meant for the shooting range. RIP+ TC mark

images – Daniel Evans

More From Thought Catalog

  • EP

    I’d never heard of this until now. Favorite part: NO GRADE.

  • ANG

    Great job. Much better than the dude who wrote those Pitchfork Festival Reviews. It’s a shame because I like those bands better but I appreciate this entry.

  • cecile

    I totes wanna go for the next Bitchpork fest! Are vegans allowed?

    • Guest

       ha!

    • Guest

       ha!

  • http://www.candicepayne.com Candice

    I heard about this and thought it was something I should probably care about and maybe check out, but then completely failed to bother to care about it, and then also completely failed to bother to check it out. Reading this, am not really sure how I feel about my decision or lack thereof. But I think, overall, I’m okay with it, maybe. Seems like one of those things I would go to so I could pretty quickly say to everyone “okay, let’s leave now”. Also I think I’ve become simultaneously agoraphobic and claustrophobic. I think the alley sounds like it might have been fun, though.

    • Faasdfd

      cool story bro

    • Faasdfd

      cool story bro

      • http://www.candicepayne.com Candice

        Oh, don’t sarcasm me. Unnecessary. I know it ain’t.

      • Cursethewind

        No it isn’t!

      • Cursethewind

        No it isn’t!

    • Cursethewind

      Candice–this article does not even remotely inform one about what Bitchpork offered.  Not only did you miss a fantastic experience, but you have relied on this liar’s plagiarism to inform you.  Mortville is one of the most fabulous underground venues that Chicago has to offer.  

  • BRO

    From Chicago Tribune’s review of Day 2 of Pitchfork:

    1:45 p.m. Woods blends falsetto vocals, trippy textures and some jam-band excursions into a thoroughly pleasant, pastoral set, but sticks to one amiable tempo for the most part. Before it’s too late, they cut loose, double the pace and finally achieve lift-off. Next time, don’t wait so long, guys. (GK) 
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-07-16/entertainment/chi-greg-kot-reviews-day-2-of-the-pitchfork-music-festival-2011-20110716_1_arvo-part-main-stage-mixer

    From this:

    A musical venture called Ono blended falsetto vocals, trippy textures and some jam-band excursions into a thoroughly pleasant, pastoral set, but stuck to one amiable tempo for the most part. Before it was too late, they cut loose, doubled the pace and finally achieved lift-off. Next time, don’t wait so long, guys. The old man in the wedding dress sang “My girl loved me so much it made her daddy angry” and then pulled off his veil. Grade: B

    NOT COOL

    • Anonymous

      WHAT THE FUCK?!? YOU plagiarizer!!

      NOT COOL, NOT COOL

    • ANG

      oh snap.

      shit’s bout to go down.

    • RAH

      This whole thing is a huge satire.  Making of music criticism, from the Tribune to even the Pitchfork article here.  Chill out. 

      • Cursethewind

        I think NOT: c/p straight from “about:”

        “Thought Catalog is a place for relevant and relatable non-fiction and thought. Here’s why you should be reading.1. Thought Catalog is illuminating and informative.2. The site is well-designed and clutter-free.3. TC contributors are smart. They’re at the vanguard of their respective fields and have published everywhere from The Paris Review to Maxim.4. We’re nobrow and nonpartisan. We don’t take any of this or ourselves too seriously. Culture is our politics.5. Reading Thought Catalog will probably make you more interesting. You’re going to find out about stuff here you won’t see in the mainstream media. Thought Catalog will open new perspectives.6. We’re avant-now. But our mission is also archival. We plan on sticking around for a longtime.7. Our content is always vetted and (most of the time) edited.8. We’re generous. We’re positive. We’re friendly. We prefer to focus on the good than the bad. We’re more celebratory than critical.9. Important conversations happen here.10. In a small way, you’re supporting the future of journalism.”Since when was plagiarism considered journalism?  Reminds me of Fox News or somethin’…

      • Cursethewind

        not friendly, not positive, not smart, not TRUE.  period.

    • RAH

      This whole thing is a huge satire.  Making of music criticism, from the Tribune to even the Pitchfork article here.  Chill out. 

    • Cursethewind

      I was wonderin’—we are so NOT trippy textures/jam-band excursions.  We are noise, noise gospel.  There were very few falsetto vocals–would not describe us as pleasant, pastoral (??!!HUH??) and he doesn’t even know we were doing a minute man song mashed up with one of our own. (S)He didn’t mention Prince either–so I think (s)he wasn’t even there. Poser.

      Thanks for clearing that up!

  • ChocolateOtter

    I liked the part where he plagiarized. Oh wait, except, I didn’t. 
    I was into it before I knew that. Why was this allowed? It’s not even ironic.

  • http://everythingsimultaneously.blogspot.com kristin

    please stop posting anything re: music/music criticism/music review. 

    plus i was at this show. it was raw, bitch. 

    • Anonymous

      oh well yeah. Thats because he plagiarized.. so yeah

  • Guest

    So, how long are we going to pretend this is a real thing?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1183680010 Samuel Walker

    Fat Worm of Error played at our house not too long ago, they were great. (and they wore their worm costumes!)

  • lololol

    this is really great because almost none of the info is true and the fat worm of error review is about wigger mom’s intro to fat worm of error

  • Uhnonnymus

    The actual Bitchpork had some good bands, though. You should have written about that instead of a joke article making fun of a joke festival making fun of a real festival.

  • Uhnonnymus

    The actual Bitchpork had some good bands, though. You should have written about that instead of a joke article making fun of a joke festival making fun of a real festival.

  • Uhnonnymus

    The actual Bitchpork had some good bands, though. You should have written about that instead of a joke article making fun of a joke festival making fun of a real festival.

  • guest

    “Definition of rock journalism:  People who can’t write, doing interviews with people who can’t think, in order to prepare articles for people who can’t read”  (Zappa).

    it’s as if this reviewer wanted biiitchpork to be pitchfork.  ono is not a pop band, so they can have slow songs. mayor daley has a different lineup than they did last year, so that’s probably why they sounded different.  did you expect fat worm of error to wear costumes in that kind of heat?  i think you went to the wrong fest, dude.  or at least you had the wrong attitude.

  • guest

    “Definition of rock journalism:  People who can’t write, doing interviews with people who can’t think, in order to prepare articles for people who can’t read”  (Zappa).

    it’s as if this reviewer wanted biiitchpork to be pitchfork.  ono is not a pop band, so they can have slow songs. mayor daley has a different lineup than they did last year, so that’s probably why they sounded different.  did you expect fat worm of error to wear costumes in that kind of heat?  i think you went to the wrong fest, dude.  or at least you had the wrong attitude.

    • guest

      also, way to miss Lechuguillas’ set.  they were one of the best bands that day.

  • http://twitter.com/GONZOCHICAGOGO GONZO CHICAGO

    lechuguillas ruled. what about the laychig00ulaz?!  surely, you forgot their A+. BITCHPORK III TEASER TRAILER IS LIVE………..http://vimeo.com/26660815

  • KILLA

    OMG whoever wrote this should be given a poision ass raping from my grandpa thom…. you are fucking stupid and lame as hell…. is it true that it is allowed for people to be only critics???… just totally suck at life and not do a damn thing and just talk shit about everything else that people actually do… you truly sound like a reject from vice…. and that is a terribly sad thing….. I really wish I knew who the fuck you were so I could fucking shoot you in the face….. and YES THAT IS A THREAT….. PLEASE I will make an email account at KILLDUMCRITIX555@YAHOO.COM…. FUCKING WRITE ME…. you are a fool…. do something… i really wanna know your background…. it does not matter if i was or was not in any of these bands…. and if i was i would want to be judged badly…. but you’re just stupid…. why am i even reading this????.  cuz as I was perusing shit on f book it came up…..  You are gay….. and dumb….. and I would rip your fucking larynx out if I saw you and rape you like a little lamb….. YOU ARE THE REASON PEOPLE STOP DOING THINGS!!!!. BECAUSE THEY PUT ALL THEIR FUCKING ENERGY INTO A PROJECT AND SOME DUMB ONLOOKER DECIDES TO BE A DOUCHE ONLINE….. AND THAT’S ALL THEY SEE…..  It’s a FUCKING SHAME!!!!.  Do you KNOW how MUCH WENT into this festival????.  YOU COULD NEVER FUCKING DO ANYTHING CLOSE IF YOU SPENT YOUR WHOLE PATHETHIC LIFE…..  Seriously….. This is not NYC….. THIS IS WHY I LIVE IN CHICAGO AND NOT IN NYC!!!!.  CUZ OF YOUR ASS….. GO MOVE THERE OR IF YOU LIVE THERE STAY THERE…..  I SWEAR PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE WRITE ME AT MY EMAIL AND ITS ON SUCKA…… FUCK YOUR FACE!!!!.

  • meghan mccarville

    OMG AND JESUS I JUST CAN’T STOP…. OK…. TALKING ABOUT “SEXUAL ISSUES WITH OUR MOTHERS????” JESUS!!!!.  IT WAS WRITTEN BY A GIRL WHOOOO OBVIOUSLY HAS SEXUAL ISSUES WITH HER FATHER!!!!!…..   You SERIOUSLY DID go to the wrong festival!!!!…..  YOU’RE ONE OF THE ONLY REASONS I’VE EVER ENCOUNTERED AGAINST FREE SPEECH!!!!……!  SERIOUSLY YOU’RE FUCKING BORING. and a big pile of garbage…..  I ALWAYS LIKE TO FAIL BUT PLEASE MAKE THE REASONS MORE TRUE…. NOW YOU HAVE MY EMAIL…. WRITE ME BACK YOU DUMB BOZO!!!!.   WHAT THE FUCK IS SO WRONG WITH TAKING THINGS FROM FORBIDDEN ZONE, PINK FLAMINGO’S, SNOW WHITE, AND OTHERS….. NOTHING!!!!.   AND IT’S NOT JUST WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT US THAT MAKES ME WANNA BARF IN MY BRA….. IT’S LIKE EVERYTHING YOU SAID ABOUT EVERYONE!!!!.   GOOOOOOO FUKKKKK YOURSELF……. I HOPE YOU WAKE UP TO A BLACK MAN TAKING OFF HIS WEDDING DRESS AND THEN STICKING HIS DICK IN YOUR MOUTH….. EVERY NIGHT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE….. GO GET AN ENEMA BEFORE YOU START WRITING CUZ YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  • Guest

    anyone else linked here from john’s twitter? his webcomic used to be really good.

    • Cursethewind

      perhaps he has gotten lazy

  • Cursethewind

    this publication should be called “OTHER PEOPLE”S THOUGHTS CATALOG”

    the female is the only one who used falsetto–it’s like the writer saw the picture of the wedding dress and assumed he could use the Kot piece like his own cock piece, covering up his lack of balls to be there.  Sad for him, Ono moved people to tears and was asked for an encore…no mention of this.

  • I Hear A New World

    I understand that the author is attempting to be humorous and a little naughty, but many of the acts at Bitchpork work hard and deserve more than this. If you were there, and thought any of the bands sucked, it’s your right to say so, but most of these bands have little (if any) publicity and deserve more than your post-modern sass.

    • http://twitter.com/GONZOCHICAGOGO GONZO CHICAGO

      i guess he failed at his mission.  it’s a joke.  he hoped everyone thought this was funny.  most of the text is ripped straight from pitchfork reviews, and the rest he “tried to emulate that writing style”.  he also said his favorite diy spot is ol mo’ville, and that he used to lived across the street.   i can agree with you on your end of things, though, if this were real.  hopefully the video we make will do the bands in this festival justice.  i think it will : http://vimeo.com/26660815

      • RAH

        People got it.  

      • I Hear A New World

        No man, I got it, the piece just doesn’t work.

  • http://twitter.com/GONZOCHICAGOGO GONZO CHICAGO

    ya’ll are getting played so hard.

  • GETFUCKED

    you are a fucking joke. go kill yourself or get a real job.

  • GETFUCKED

    you are a fucking joke. go kill yourself or get a real job.

  • henry

    bell shaped curve is old school WHO ARE YOU? don’t you get it — wasn’t there a ballgame or tourist trap you could have gone to? why are you writing? 

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