[Photo Credit: Laura Brown] On Friday, the first day of the annual Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago's Union Park, both the lighter-than-usual crowd and the weather, cooler than usual, made for a nice day and night of music. Both those factors are expected to change, as the heat moves in and the lineups get more attractive for fans of indie rock, hip-hop, and electronic music. As evening fell in the park, on the red stage Neko Case, who has deep roots in Chicago and was joined onstage by local darling Kelly Hogan, fought for sound dominance with UK newcomer James Blake on the blue stage. Standing in line for beer, equidistant from the two stages, it seemed, surprisingly, Neko was winning. While James Blake's U.S. debut at SxSW earlier this year went over well, he opted for a series of increasingly sparse and beat-starved songs on Friday, before breaking out "CMYK," the dubstep tune that brought him early acclaim. I assume he would have played "Limit To Your Love" and "The Wilhelm Scream" next, but I moved over to the main stage to get in position for Animal Collective. (But was that Four Tet's Kieran Hebden standing backstage for Blake's set.) Animal Collective at Pitchfork - sounds like a match made in heaven. Judging by the crowd's décollage of polite society fashion - cut-off shirts, face paint - they were here for the Maryland co-op too. The band of brothers - once three, now four again - Dave Porter, Noah Lennox, Brian Weitz, and Josh Dibbs waited nervously in the wings while crew members hurried around the group's visual statement, a stage that looked like what might have resulted if... Sign In to Keep Reading
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