Surprisingly, I enjoyed the people I saw on Day 2 (Tokyo Police Club and Archers of Loaf) more than Day 1 (Like Pioneers and Maritime). Part of that has to do with there being a lot more people there in the evening on Day 2, but I had been more psyched up for Day 1. TPC and AoL had great energy.
When the Portly Youth arrived outside The Hideout for the AV Club’s inaugural music festival, we were pretty confused. The Hideout was basically a shack, there were only about thirty people and we were standing pretty much in a cement wasteland located right next to the Chicago Department of Fleet Management. Unlike most of the other street festivals, AV Fest wasn’t a sprawling mess and lacked most of the arts & crafts crap that most other street festivals have in plagues. Besides a couple food trucks and a few beer tents, there really wasn’t anything else besides the one music stage. I felt a little price-gouged, but I appreciated the fest was geared towards music fans. However, while the lack of extraneous crap kept out the usual street festival crowd of people just there to buy overpriced Bud Lite and stand in your way, there wasn’t anything to do during all the down time. I’d suggest a comedian for next year to tell some yokes while bands set-up. But overall, though it was a bit awkward until people started showing up around 4, I think we were all quite pleased. Oh yeah, there was an insane number of portable toilets (always a plus).
Cloud Nothings (Rating: C+)
We got to AV Fest early in the day to catch Cloud Nothings set and it was most likely not worth it. I’ve really enjoyed everything the snotty pop-punk group has put out and was really looking forward to seeing them play songs from their debut self-titled album. CN main-man Dylan Baldi announced they were going to be playing songs of their newly recorded third album (wtf? didn’t they just put one out like a few months ago?). Okay, that’s fine. They started with a very long number that sounded like it would be the perfect set-closer: there were two separate, lengthy noise jams in there. Pretty awesome, as were a bunch of their new songs which seemed to be a lot more varied than the relatively straight-forward punch of Cloud Nothings. But there came a point where we all realized they weren’t going to play any “old” songs. A guy in the crowd shouted for them to play “Heartbeat” which Dylan Baldi tried to make a joke out why they weren’t going to play it and ended up sounding like an asshole. I mean Animal Collective does stuff like this all the time, but they at least play a couple of recognizable songs; you just can’t do that when you’re a young band, that’s how you lose fans. Maybe it was because they were only playing to fifty people and thought it was okay. I don’t know. However, they were a pretty solid live band and their drummer made a lot of goofy faces I enjoyed. I’d see them again when their new album comes out; hopefully they won’t be playing songs from the next one already.
Telekinesis (Rating: C-)
I’d never heard of this band before. Sitting on the curb and not watching them, I thought to myself “why do these guys exist?” They were a three-piece group who played standard indie pop with some alternative rock undercurrents. The singer/drummer had an annoying voice. There were some enjoyable parts, but it was painfully mediocre.
Maps & Atlases(Rating: B+)
I’ve seen these guys three times now and they’ve always been a dependable live band. Their latest album Perch Patchwork was a little toned down for me, but live Maps & Atlases still meld minds with their mix of folksy indie rock and Van Halen/math rock guitar tapping heroics. They mixed in some older songs too, so I was happy. Their frontman has a sweet beard.
Tokyo Police Club(Rating: A-)
I had kind of forgotten about Tokyo Police Club until I saw them last winter in Bloomington, Il. The sound was pretty shitty at the Castle Theater, but I enjoyed their set and subsequently started to consider their debut album Elephant Shell as a guilty pleasure rather than a disappointing follow-up to the stellar A Lesson in Crime EP. Whatever your feelings may be toward the quality of their albums, Tokyo Police Club are the perfect band for a festival. Their songs are short, filled with insatiably catchy choruses and each has a unique bit to it (a shoegaze guitar part, a quirky sample). Best of all: unlike most indie bands today, they actually look like they have fun onstage. They even move around a bit. Before their set I didn’t think Tokyo Police Club really had a place anymore in contemporary music. But there were a lot of people there who seemed very pleased.
Archers of Loaf(Rating: A-)
It’s hard to believe I’ve been privileged with seeing Archers of Loaf twice now. This time around they had a truncated set list and were lacking a basin of booze, but didn’t lack for enthusiasm. Between stomping around onstage, they cracked jokes and playfully made fun of themselves. The “I can’t believe I’m seeing Archers of Loaf right now” feeling wasn’t there this time, but I don’t think I could ever get sick of hearing “Web in Front” live. Another great set from these guys. It seems like they’ll be staying together for awhile longer, so see them if you haven’t already. I’m predicting a slot at Pitchfork next summer.
Tokyo Police Club played such a great show tonight at the A.V. Fest.
Only heard the last 3 songs of Telekinisis! but glad i saw them play Coasts of Carolina
Then Maps & Atlases came on and they played a good set and then Tokyo came on and welp, they just played a great set. i wished they closed with Citizens of Tomorrow but instead it was Your English Is Good which was also a good decision! haha