Like most festivals with more than one stage, Pitchfork sometimes books two great acts to play overlapping sets, forcing fans to make a painful choice. Reader writers found quite a few of those conflicts on the fest’s schedule, and thought long and hard about who they’d go to see. These write-ups compare those decisions with the “winners” as determined by Pitchfork itself, via rounded averages of the ratings the site has given to each artist’s releases.
Friday, 7:15 PM, Blue Stage
Friday, 7:20 PM, Red Stage
On one hand you’ve got the slovenly, damaged postpunk of Iceage, which often devolves into a beaten-down monotony like the trudging slog of a chain gang; on the other, you’ve got the blinding synth-pop of Chvrches, which somehow feels darker and darker as its hypercharged colors shine brighter and brighter. How to choose? Depends. Do you want dusk to crumble away and leave you feeling wrecked, like you’ve squandered yet another day of your fleeting life? Or do you want to soak up the streaks of glowing pastels in the sky and appreciate an otherworldliness that you’re fully aware is a mirage? Iceage is gutsy and raw and always half an inch from careening awesomely off the rails—thanks in part to the desperate, reckless vocals of Elias Bender Rønnenfelt—but for me Chvrches’ thumping, glistening hooks are too much to walk away from. And if the breeze turns just right while front woman Lauren Mayberry drapes her ethereal vocals over an especially deep-digging synth line, the wallop of bass might be enough to swallow the clatter from the other stage.
Pitchfork’s call: Iceage, 8.5 > Chvrches, 8.1