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  • Eileen Meslar
  • Thanks for the Reader shout-out, guy at Pitchfork Festival!

Friday was a total wash for me, but I made it to Union Park on Saturday, the continuing protests of my lower back notwithstanding (yay, old-man problems). I wore my Dragged Into Sunlight T-shirt, because I’m exactly the kind of contrarian turd who enjoys attending the flagship festival of the world’s biggest indie-rock website while decked out in the most noisome metal gear I own. (Under the band’s barely readable logo, this shirt pictures the bloodied head of a corpse that’s been impaled through the mouth with a crucifix.)

My impractical choice of festival wear made me solar-oven siblings with Savages, who dressed entirely in black in the full afternoon sun. It always irritates me when I turn out to like a heavily hyped band (as I think I mentioned, I’m a contrarian turd), but I loved them—though the phoning-it-in festival soundman apparently had no idea that Fay Milton’s drum set included a floor tom, which she was essentially playing in vain, they were tight, anguished, and muscular. Sure, every sound Savages use has a clear precedent in early-80s British postpunk, but familiar moves acquire new life when executed with intensity and heart. I mean, people still like fucking, and that shit’s been done to death.

Next for me were Swans. I’ve seen them four times now since their 2010 reunion, and at every show they’ve proved just how toweringly huge one chord can be. I suppose you could say their sets are a little samey, but as far as I’m concerned that’s like complaining, “Jeez, guys, every time you play, you summon the same sky-darkening ancient god!”

At the other end of the spectrum, I also watched Low, whose lovely, quietly intense music had a hard time competing with the yammering crowd (and, late in their set, Solange’s beats from across the park). But they played two of my favorites from The Great Destroyer (“Monkey” and “Pissing”), which are just the thing for breaking out in goose bumps on a balmy evening. Better yet, it didn’t start raining till after Belle & Sebastian went on. (Oh, come on. I have a Dragged Into Sunlight shirt. You didn’t honestly expect me to like Belle & Sebastian.)

After the jump, the rest of the Reader‘s Pitchfork-going contingent weigh in on their Saturdays: