Pitchfork Music Festival | Record Player Workshop

In between musical sets at Pitchfork Fest we invited guests to our House of Vans Pop-Up Workshop, where they were able to build their very own record player, and hang out with the Vans crew. Here are some of our favorite crafty moments from the weekend.

Photos: @laurajunekirsch


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Performance of “Oxygen” at Pitchfork Music Festival 2013 in Chicago

I was at this show last year. It was the second time I saw Swans. They played the red stage at about 4:30pm on a Saturday that was about 85 or 90 degrees. (I’m visible in the bottom left corner from around 8:01-8:36.)

The consistency between eras and lineups of Swans is much more noticeable in their live performances. Take the bass line at the beginning of this song, for example. It repeats endlessly while the music builds around it. Now it’s not just a disgustingly simple drumbeat that drives the song, like it was back in 1987. The repeated elements are now more complex, and the band is so much tighter around them.

Seeing Swans now is appreciating a wonder of synchronization. All members of the band have their eyes on Gira, as he conducts everyone else on the stage. It seems like now the whole band is a complicated machine, with every small part working together to create a whole. I’ve seen Gira have a few talks with the bass player while onstage, probably because the bass lines are such an important part of the whole operation. I’ve also seen Gira yell, “Louder!” to the band as they start a song. He’s definitely the one in control, pulling all the disparate parts together and making sure they hit all at the same time. Watch around the 4:30 mark when the song stops for a moment and the crowd thinks it’s over, and the band starts playing again with impeccable timing.

I met one of my good friends, a young child named Joe in an emo band shirt, right before this show in the (mud) pit at Parquet Courts. He told me he wanted to see Savages, but I told him he’d rather see Swans, because I have this problem where I want everyone I know to experience and like them. He didn’t know much about Swans and had never listened to them, but for some reason agreed to come with me to the front row.

One of my favorite memories of the day is looking over every once in a while to see Joe staring at the stage with his mouth open, occasionally dropping the free water bottles Pitchfork volunteers were handing to him because he wasn’t paying attention to anything else but the band. I am still surprised that Swans in the middle of the day at an outdoor music festival worked as well as it did.


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