Pitchfork Music Festival 2007: Saturday

15,000 dirty hipsters, 2,700 shutter actuations, 39 bands, 1 free Chipotle burrito, and a fistful of business cards later, the dusty hipster-meet that is the Pitchfork Music Festival has come and gone for 2007. As always, Chicago was a blast, with great food and friends, though the ever-elusive Chicago-style hotdog remained just out of reach.

I've just finished up images from Saturday, the first full day of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and the first day I covered of the event.

pitchfork_2007_saturday.jpg

My first day of coverage started off with a breezy day – perfect weather aside from the wind (or was it the Mastodon fans?) whipping up dust at the Connector stage. Despite the threat of isolated thunderstorms forcasted the day before, a partial cloud cover was the extent of the menacing weather.

The Twilight Sad

Glasgow Scotland's The Twilight Sad started off the day with a solid set. Clouds and noon-day sun kept the band in open shade on the smaller main stage, which made for an easy start to the festival.

The Twilight Sad @ Pitchfork 2007

The Twilight Sad @ Pitchfork 2007

Califone

Chicago-based group Califone opened the day on the main stage, playing to an entheusiastic and growing crowd, with legions of fans already camping out for the later acts. Only the second band that day, I left the pit a little early during Califone's set and was rewarded by a free, albeit cold, Chipotle burrito in the press tent.

Califone @ Pitchfork 2007

Voxtrot

Voxtrot, hailing from Austin, kept things rolling with an upbeat set. In a change from last year, the Connector stage featured stage lighting from the back throughout the day, rather than only at night. I thought this switch provided a nice bit of interest; at the very least, the lights were another element to use in composition.

Voxtrot @ Pitchfork 2007

Grizzly Bear

On the main stage, Grizzly Bear's mellow set provided a little calm before the storm of Battles. After slight technical difficulties with the mic on the clarinet, GB went full speed ahead into the soft jams. As much as I enjoy Grizzly Bear, aside from Califone, this set was one of the more lackluster performances to photograph.

Grizzly Bear @ Pitchfork 2007

Grizzly Bear @ Pitchfork 2007

Battles

One of the clear favorites going into the festival, and certainly after, Battles brought the math beats – and the rock – to Union Park on Sunday. The super-tight musicianship of their debut album translated into a high-energy performance, with a particularly fierce display by drummer John Stanier.

Battles @ Pitchfork 2007

Battles @ Pitchfork 2007

Iron & Wine

Sam Beam's Iron & Wine played to a large crowd at the Aluminum stage, just as the light was starting to sweeten up in the late afternoon. The set, more engaging than when I saw Iron & Wine play with Calexico in late 2005, was solid and satisfying, even given the questional fit with the festival's vibe.

Iron & Wine @ Pitchfork 2007

Iron & Wine @ Pitchfork 2007

Mastodon

As Mastodon ripped into their set from the opening lines of double bass, fans wasted no time kicking up dust from the baseball diamond over which the Connector stage lay, much to the displeasure of photogs in the pit. Weather-sealing is a good thing. Still, despite frequent lens changes between and during sets, the D2x and lenses did a great job at keeping the dust at bay, with no visible dust spots occuring during thte festival.

Mastodon @ Pitchfork 2007

Mastodon @ Pitchfork 2007

Clipse

Continuing the spiral into the last few acts warmly started by Iron & Wine and Mastodon, the hip hop duo Clipse put on a particularly well received performance on the Aluminum stage.

Clipse @ Pitchfork 2007

Clipse @ Pitchfork 2007

Cat Power

Cat Power, performing with the Dirty Delta Blues band, put on a pleasing set that was only slightly marred by sound issues, which seemed to plague the festival over the entire weekend.

Cat Power @ Pitchfork 2007

Cat Power @ Pitchfork 2007

Yoko Ono

Just as Girl Talk was closing things down at the Balance stage, Yoko Ono wound up the day at the Aluminum stage, howling and yelping before her tight backing band and a throng of dedicated fans.

Yoko Ono @ Pitchfork 2007

Yoko Ono @ Pitchfork 2007

You can see the complete sets from Saturday on Flickr here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/toddowyoung/collections/72157600901514035/

I'll be following up with images from Sunday as well as a report on gear.

My Camera DSLR and Lenses for Concert Photography

Nikon D850:
I use two Nikon D850 for my live music photography. A true do-it-all DSLR with amazing AF, fast response, and no shortage of resolution.
nikon-24-70mm-f28-lens-squareNikon 24-70mm f/2.8:
For most gigs, the 24-70mm is my go-to lens. Exceptional image quality at wide apertures and super-functional range.
Nikon-70-200-squareNikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR:
A perfect pair to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, I can basically shoot any job with the midrange and this lens. Superb image quality.
nikon-14-24mm-f28-lens-squareNikon 14-24mm f/2.8:
Ultra-wide perspective, ridiculously sharp even wide open at f/2.8. I love using this lens up-close and personal, where it excels.
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