Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pitchfork Music Festival: Day 1 (The Sonic Ryan Edition)

July 13, 2007

Union Park

Chicago, IL

After a day of train rides, walking, getting lost, playing in the Museum of Science and Industry (including an Omnimax movie about Mummies!), more walking, trains, getting lost, trains, a free sample of chocolate raspberry flavored iced coffee, pot brownies, getting lost, and more trains, let me tell you it was a fucking relief to finally make it to the baseball fields that host the now seemingly annual Pitchfork Music Festival. It was about 6:30 in the evening, and Slint had apparently just started, but before I get too carried away, let me introduce you to some of my friends:

Jenna - Also known as girlfriend, as she is my girlfriend. At 5'2", and maybe 105lbs, she's easily the smallest one in the group. But don't be fooled, as she's a feisty one, and a pretty one. Likes chocolate and cheese, and I don't mean the Ween album.

James - My current roommate and good friend. He's leaving for Japan soon, so this trip was extra special because there are fewer and fewer days of James-time left. At over 6' he's the tallest one, and he's a big fan of Iron and Wine.

Nicole - Also known as fellow blogger Beckon the Wonderland. She's the smart and creative type, with a nearly finished manuscript to back it up. Check for her on the bestseller list in the coming years, if this blog doesn't make her famous first.

Chad - Nicole's husband, our good friend, and an all around great guy. He's easily the quietest one of the bunch, but everything he says carries so much weight. Rarely does he say anything without thinking about it first, and is the type of guy who would bring video games on a car trip and let me play them.

We walked into the festival grounds, and my head was spinning due to some extremely potent pot brownies. In all honesty, I was beginning to have a hard time with the feeling, as I was getting really stoned, but haven't been a regular pot smoker for some time now. I was also getting a bad case of paranoia. Not the kind of paranoia that allows me to believe that I'm going to be arrested, I haven't experienced that since high school. Instead, my paranoia is the kind that gives me an overall feeling of anxiety, where I feel claustrophobic or like my chest is caving in. As a result, I had to keep moving, as movement and motion seemed to be the only surefire way to distract me from the mental discomfort I was facing. Unfortunately, that meant that Slint would have to go by the wayside, but since I was the only one interested in seeing them no one else seemed to mind. Besides, it gave us a chance to do other productive tasks, like scope out the grounds and get familiar with the place we would be spending the better part of our weekend at. It gave me an opportunity to say hello to some Lawrence chaps that I knew. It also gave some others time do take some more drugs.

Slint finished not long after sneaking a peek in the tent that hosted the record fair, which, by the way, was decent. One vendor had some great prices on new vinyl ($15 for Neon Bible when I paid over $20, $8 for 23, and so on), but aside from that vendor there seemed to be just the usual stuff for the usual price. As we settled into the grass, I felt a strange premonition, as if something was not right in the air. I couldn't put my finger on it exactly, and chalked it up to being as high as I was. GZA started soon after we took our seats, and suddenly the attitude and overall environment went to hell. James, who had been mixing drugs all afternoon like he was at Bonnaroo, started to experience either a bad acid trip, a panic attack, or a combination of both. Jenna also experienced a frightful moment where she nearly started hyperventilating. Luckily, I was able to compose myself enough to be the straight one, but Nicole really went above and beyond in helping those two. Her off the wall anecdotes, like how she was a Cadbury Egg, came completely out of nowhere but worked magically in helping out our two friends. James and Jenna were both able to snap out of it, for the most part at least, in time for Sonic Youth. We didn't have a great spot, and the sound was awfully quiet (a problem that plagued the entire festival), but seeing Sonic Youth was still an experience I'll never forget. If its details you're looking for, scroll down a bit, or click here.

When the notes ended we took the long walk back to Union Station. By then, everyone was back to normal again. Well, as normal as some of us can be on acid or pot brownies, but you get the idea. The night air was brisk and breezy, but it made me feel alive, and strangely happy. I fell in love that night, with the city of Chicago. I do every time I go, I know, and some day I hope to live there. Until then, I'm satisfied with the memories of the sky lights as we took that long walk to catch the train back home.

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