“But Pitchfork HATES music.”
That’s the first Twitter response I received when I mentioned I’d be hitting up the Pitchfork SXSW Showcase at Mohawk on Red River. I’m new to the music review game, and with “reviewing music” comes Pitchfork’s interpretation of how that should be done — chaotic, nearly-meaningless, dense paragraphs of colorful descriptions written from a point of view that seems impossibly educated, but might somehow be missing the point entirely.
Tuesday night’s showcase was, more specifically, my introduction to “Pitchfork people” … the people who wait in line all evening to stand perfectly still and listen to music. They smoke a lot of weed during the show, but you don’t really see them do it. They dance, or at least look like they’re ABOUT to dance, and that might as well be dancing. They herd into tightly packed shapes and look at you weird if you try to squeeze by. It’s weird, and a little off-putting, but honest in its way.
Oberlin College’s nigh-Google-proof Teengirl Fantasy, quite possibly the only act at SXSW who runs their official page through Angelfire, was the first act I saw. Honestly I didn’t know they were the act at first, I thought they were setting up the keyboards for someone and the house was playing something in the background. At one point I had a Deep Blue Something “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” moment where I was so bored I forgot music was playing at all. The teen girl’s fantasy must be to wander into the bathrooms because peeing in a local urinal is more exciting than what’s happening in front of her.
“Oh, right, Pitchfork hates music,” I thought. Nobody was moving. I jotted down a little note about how the whole thing was gonna be a wash.
That’s when STAR SLINGER showed up.
Star Slinger is a UK producer/DJ who looks like Hip Hop Harry Knowles and seems unassuming when he’s mentioning how his equipment isn’t working so he’s running the show on an iPad. Within a song or two you forget about the Teengirl Fantasy and start thinking about your own, nodding your head, moving your feet … and the best part is that the people around you, the heartless “Pitchfork People” who would chase Frankenstein and don’t want to enjoy the one thing they say they enjoy (according to Internet reputation) are doing the same thing.
By the time he broke into a remix of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony’s “Crossroads,” the drab vibe was gone. The building had filled up, people were always moving forward, the weed was held out right in front of you because nobody gave a sh*t. The people who were inside wandered out, and even the next act, the amazingly-named Mr. Muthaf**kin’ eXquire, stood on the side of the stage dancing along.
So the answer isn’t that Pitchfork hates music. Pitchfork just loves a lot of music, maybe too much, and they’re not afraid to show you everything that meets their criteria. Some of it will make you stand still, and some of it will make you dance like an idiot with a guy with “muthaf**kin” in his professional name.