Veteran indie rock ruled the first day of the 2010 Pitchfork Music Festival, which kicked off its fifth year in Chicago's Union Park on Friday (July 16). As sweltering temperatures gave way to a cool summer night, the progressive rap and Swedish pop of the afternoon were followed by guitar-heavy sets from Modest Mouse and Broken Social Scene.
Modest Mouse fans hoping to sing along to "Float On" were instead treated to epic instrumental breakdowns on tracks like "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes" and "Dramamine." Frontman Isaac Brock maintained a high intensity on lighter fare like "Dashboard" and "Here It Comes," although he loosened up when conversing with the massive crowd.
"Hey, who wants to learn from my mistakes?" Brock asked the audience, before telling them that he had just bitten into a glow stick thrown from the crowd and that it had unfortunately tasted like "gnarly" chemicals. "I spit. It glowed. Weird!" Brock remarked, before launching another banjo-led jam.
The performance was preceded by Broken Social Scene's triumphant return to the Chicago, where it recorded its latest disc, "Forgiveness Rock Record." With a lineup that sometimes swelled to a dozen members, the Canadian collective played an hour of new material as well as fan favorites "7/4 (Shoreline)" and "Stars and Sons."
Wearing a revealing gray dress and black tights, Robyn strutted her stuff and pumped up the crowd earlier in the evening with a set of futuristic pop. The Swedish singer inspired flailing dance moves from the crowd during "Fembot" and "Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do" -- both from her new album "Body Talk Pt. 1." Robyn finished with a version of "Be Mine" that traded swelling strings for electronic blips, then blew a goodnight kiss to the adoring crowd on her way out.
The first day of the festival, which was expanded after featuring three to four bands in previous years, also included performances by alt-rap icon El-P, Brooklyn dance-punk group Liars and singer-songwriter The Tallest Man on Earth. Pitchfork unveiled its first-ever comedy stage with headliner Eugene Mirman, who cracked jokes about Sbarro and business cards.