At risk of continuing to blow smoke up Pitchfork’s butt, one of the best aspects of their music festival was their promotion of the after-parties. That’s the thing about day festivals such as Outside Lands and Lollapalooza, what the heck do you do after the shows end before 11:00 pm? We’ll Pitchfork cleverly teamed up with several venues throughout the city of Chicago to put their artists in various locations allowing the savvy festival goers to enjoy a taste of the city’s famous nightlife.
On Friday night Mac, Tom, and myself watched Purity Ring titillate a crowd of young hipsters at the more hidden Blue Stage at p4k. As soon as Megan and Corin played the last notes of their headlining set, we bolted for the train to get back to the hostel where we were staying to shower up and head out on the town. Our goal was to get to Schubas Tavern, a beautiful Chicago bar and concert venue in a converted Tied House for Schiltz Brewing Company to see Purity Ring for a second time in less than 5 hours. We arrived via taxi just in time for the band’s second song. Mac and I remained in the bar area and enjoyed listening to the same exact set from the festival while Tom ventured into the hot hazy back room. When the crowd began to file out it was clear that Purity Ring had made many new fans at the festival. People who were discovering them for the fist time were now singing their praises. Megan and Corin stayed after to greet their new fans and as usual Megan was as welcoming as she is grateful. Both members are humbly accepting deserved accolades.
Bars in Chicago get to last-call shortly before 2:00 am on Fridays and 3:00 am on Saturdays. As this point was rapidly approaching, the bar tenders began shouting and randomly giving everyone in the bar who wanted one, a free cheeseburger! Sent strait from the heavens to soak up the Schlitz in our tired stomachs. Walking home, I thought to myself that Schubas Tavern dusted me with history similarly to how many old places in Buffalo do as well.
The next day we thought all morning at breakfast about which after-show to attend on Saturday night. Our options were Chromatics with Baio (from Vampire Weekend) DJ set, Ty Segall with The Men, Father John Misty, Hot Chip DJ set, or Danny Brown with Corin (from Purity Ring) DJ sets at a Tumblr party. Needless to say we had to toss around this decision through our different tastes. But when we found out that everything was sold out except for Chromatics, and the Tumblr party, though it was free would be impossible to get into, we had no choice. Chromatics it was. I was vaguely familiar with their music prior to seeing them at p4k. I knew the one song from the Drive Soundtrack and a few others. We watched only a few songs at the festival that day, knowing we would see them later. It was apparent that they were having difficulties. The band members seemed to be having issues with the monitors, and possibly each other and their relaxed demeanor may have been interpreted as lackadaisical.
After the festival concerts ended on Saturday, we again went back and showered up to take on the Chicago night. The venue that they played at is called Lincoln Hall, and just so happens to be owned by the same people as Schubas, the Schuba brothers. The concert hall just so happened to be in convenient walking distance from where we were staying, so it was nice to arrive somewhere not seating like a pig due to the overwhelming heat. Lincoln Hall is a very cool venue. Similar to the Town Ballroom in that the concert hall is accessed by going through the bar, but it fits just a few less people. The hall has surprisingly tall ceilings and a balcony that wraps around three sides of the room. When we stepped down onto the dancefloor, we looked up to see Chris Baio of Vampire Weekend spinning some comfortable house to the anticipating crowd below. We were feeling pretty good. The dancefloor was cool and ready as Baio cycled through an array of Indie-Dance tunes.
Chromatics came on with a much better attitude; their swagger came across much better in a club-like setting, and the crowd’s positive feedback encouraged the performers. Lead singer Ruth Radelet got my juices flowing as I sipped Svedka and felt right at home up in the club.
After the show we mingled with members of the Cults, and Ducktails/Real Estate member Matt Mondanile outside while smoking. Last call fell on us unsuspecting Buffalonians again so we stumbled next door to the Taqueria for a drunken feast of epic proportions.
We may have not even known about either of these after-parties if it weren’t for the festival helping to put them on themselves. There were even parties on Sunday night which we had intended to attend, but had no energy for. To me it’s just kind of cool that they facilitated these. Outside Lands did have their own late shows, but the choices were not diverse, nor did they give the viewer the chance to explore and dig-in to the culture of the city they were in. The Pitchfork after-shows were not an afterthought. The full feature performances were special and unique.