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July 31, 2014 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2014-07-31
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Thursday, July 31, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Indie's most
influential
tastemakers put on
Chicago bash
By JOHN LYNCH
MgnagingArts Editor
Before I heard any band play
at Pitchfork Music Festival 2014,
I took one lap around Chicago's
Union Park and already knew that
I was in for a weekend of bizarre
sights, sounds and tastes.
Lining the boundaries of the
festival grounds were countless
food options - stands giving out
free Twinkies, next to stands
giving out free goat milk ice
cream bars, next to stands selling
Philly Cheesesteaks for nine dol-
lars. There were grown men and
women walking around holding
pink tickets (Pitchfork's currency
for alcoholic beverages), looking
like children at the prize coun-
ter of a Chuck-E-Cheese. There

Thursday, July 31, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Bittersweet final performance

was a typewriter next to a board
called Missed Connections, where
romantic festival-goers had begun
to advertise their anonymous
affection for one another, typing
up and posting sweet messages
such as "dear friend, i am gypsy
that likes to get wild in the back of
the church van. now listen close,
I have euros. i will trade them for
a good roll in the hay. xoxo, sonia
the lioness."
And, of course, there was the
music and everything that came
with it: 3 stages, 43 acts, one jam-
packed Union Park and countless
moments of crowd-induced claus-
trophobia.
Saturday began with a perfor-
mance from Twin Peaks, a young
Chicago band whose lead singer
was wheelchair-bound with a
cast on his leg and whose music
sounded like a distant cousin of
Elvis Costello circa My Aim Is
True. Halfway through the set,
the band's bassist acknowledged
a fan-made sign that said "Thank
You, BasedGod" - marking the
first of many appearances by the

physically absent, yet somehow
ever-present Lil B.
Later, Pusha T showed up 35
minutes late to his set, of course
prompting the crowd to chant
"We want BasedGod" repeatedly
while they waited. Unfazed, Pusha
came on stage and ran through a
15 minute-long slew of featured
verses from Kanye West songs
and tracks from My Name Is My
Name, boasting "Greatest rapper
alive, I know who's living!" and
signingoffby shouting"BasedGod
my dick!"
I saw St. Vincent do her best
impression of an android rock star
before leaving early to check out
FKA Twigs, a rising enigmatic
R&B star, who slithered around
the stage and told the crowd, "I
didn't go to university, so I'm in
the university of life."
The most notable performances
of the day, however, were Detroit
rapper Danny Brown, who
showed up on time and really got
the crowd moving (re: moshing)
with energetic tracks from his
most recent album, "Old," and

Neutral Milk Hotel. Jeff Mag-
num's still-crisp and powerful
voice led the band as they closed
off the night by playing almost all
of "In The Aeroplane Over The
Sea," and since they had requested
that there be no recording of any
kind during the set, the jumbo-
trons next to the stage were black
and all I could see was a mostly
bearded band that looked eerily
like the cast of Duck Dynasty, but
nonetheless, I was quite content.
On Sunday, I realized that I
could use my press pass to get into
the pit for the first three songs of
each act, so I used this to my advan-
tage and got close-up to Deafheav-
en, a shoe-gazey metal band that
shifted between subtle instrumen-
tal lulls and screaming, thundering
breakdowns from their seemingly
demonic lead singer.
The highlight of the day, and
probably the festival, for me was
Earl Sweatshirt, who had previ-
ously stated that he was canceling
all of his summer festivals due to
mental health reasons, but none-
theless showed up and provided

Pitchfork with some much needed
comic relief. In addition to being
perhaps the best performing rap-
per at the festival, he was also the
most entertaining. Earl came out
to Journey's "Don't Stop Believ-
ing," attempted to get a reaction
out of a dude with a "dress shirt
and aviators" that he insisted on
calling "Brent," and questioned
the crowd about whether or not
Chicago had a weird historic meat
district.
The festival closed out with
Kendrick Lamar, who I have now
seen four times and continue to be
incredibly disappointed by. His
live band was fantastic, but he still
struggled to command the crowd,
forcing us to repeat the words of
his choruses until every last per-
son became disinterested. I had
tried to get into the pit again for
the first three songs and somehow
got escorted to the area behind
the stage, where I ran into Young
Chop, a famous Chicago produc-
er, and then proceeded to cap my
weekend at Pitchfork off with a
celebratory free Twinkie.

'A Most Wanted
Man' features
everything that made
Hoffman great
By AKSHAY SETH
ManagingArts Editor
The worst part about sitting
through Philip Seymour Hoff-
man's last major performance is
how quickly one
realizes that the
genius actor was
at the peak of his AMost
career in those
final months Wanted
leading up to his Man
death. Playing
aging German Liusgate
spymaster Gun- State Theatre,
ther Bachmann, Raveand
he tackles the Quality16
role with the
familiar, grim
insight we've come to expect.
He stares off in pensive thought.
He drags away on cigarette after
cigarette, mutters a terse "good"
to convey any sense of approval,
and when the time finally comes,
uses that bulking frame to prop
up those moments of outraged
physicality - a physicality which
so often transforms his portray-
als into such memorable tests of
strength.
What's uniquely apparent from

Anton Corbijn's "A Most Wanted
Man" is the way it can be viewed
as a darker carbon copy of the
kind of characters Hoffman has
been bringing to life his entire
career. Gunther Bachmann is
a tortured man. Partly because
of the horrors he has witnessed
in his tenure astan intelligence
officer in the post-9/11 West, but
mostly because he's acutely aware
he represents a fading way of
doing business, an idealism that's
no longer permissible in a world
of suicide bombers and electronic
espionage. So it becomes clear
minutes after Isaa Karpov, a half-
Russian, half-Chechen Muslim
with past ties to terrorist organi-
zations, shows up on the streets of
urban Hamburg that things won't
end well for anyone involved.
But Bachmann doesn't turn
away. Karpov, the only son of
a dead Russian crime lord, has
arrived in Germany to claim a 10
million Euro inheritance left in
his name. To get here, he's had
to escape Turkish and then Rus-
sian prisons, both places where
he faced brutal torture for his
involvement with extremist reli-
gious sects, the specific natures
of which are left unexplained.
The first people he reaches out
to are an innocent family living
in a quiet Muslim neighborhood
that in turn makes further con-
tact with a young lawyer (Rachel
McAdams, "Sherlock Holmes")
who then tries to help Karpov

secure his wealth with the help
of a shady banker (Willem Dafoe,
"Out of the Furnace").
Here, Bachmann steps in
with his team of black ops offi-
cers tasked with singling out and
eliminating possible threats akin
to Mohammed Atta, an al-Qaida
affiliate who orchestrated the 9/il
attacks from the safety of Ham-
burg. The veteran German spy
eventually hopes to use Karpov's
wealth to draw out a terrorist
financing cell headed by an out-
wardly moderate Muslim intel-
lectual, though his team's efforts
are closely monitored a group of
American officials. This melange
of departmental politics and its
diluted arguments about jurisdic-
tion serve to inflate the ultimate
question we're meant to consider:
is all the planning, chasing Cor-
bijn uses to tighten his thriller
at all significant in the grander
scheme of things? Are Bach-
mann's labored efforts, further
emphasized through Hoffman's
labored, brooding performance,
at all relevant?
As Bachmann iterates in a cru-
cial scene, it is all, at the end of
the day "to make the world a safer
place. Whatever that takes." The
real answer, of course, is much
simpler. The Americans always
win. In the film's powerhouse
final act, Hoffman again uses
those that outraged physical-
ity to convey helpless rage. It's an
empty, hollow scream of anger

more human than the trails of icy
formalism flowing through the
rest of the movie, and above all, a
reminder why the late actor will
always be remembered as a man
who only opted for roles which
pushed him to explore new depths
through the darkest of characters.
Like many of the other people
Hoffman brought to life, Gunther
Bachmann's only real flaw is that
he's naive enough to think the
world is willing to accommodate
his desires. In "Capote" and "Boo-

gie Nights," it was unattainable
love. In "Before the Devil Knows
You're Dead," it was the freedom
wealth and power can afford. In
"25th Hour," itwassex. In"A Most
Wanted Man," it's some sort of
confirmation that what he's doing
will have weight in the world.
And it does - the man Bachmann
seeks is wanted, hunted by his
peers. But the cruel irony, and this
film's brilliance, is in realizing it's
for the wrong reasons, always for
the wrong reasons.

Shabazz Palaces' stellar 'Lese Majesty'
New Hip-Hop album Digable Planets, the group's masterful 2011 debut slow-building ambient drone on and you're carried inexorably
Butler helped album Black Up, following a path the track "Dawn in Luxor," lead- along the album's 18 tracks until
brings an exciting, open Hip Hop up paved with samples stretched to . ing into an exposition of space- you emerge, accompanied by the
to a whole new their breaking point, hauntingly age metaphysics that would sound of dripping water, at the
unique sound realm of sonic M minimalist rhythmic arrange- seem perfectly at home in a Sun end of the closer "Sonic Myth
possibilities by ments and echo-laden verses Ra monologue: "The light hath Map For The Trip Back."
By ADAM DEPOLLO fusing jazz and Shabazz filled with stream-of-conscious- names, just like the heavens and While the production on Lese
OnlineArts Editor rap into a style Palaces ness imagery and challenging the stars / Reclaim us to further Majesty - provided by Catherine
that would even- aphorisms. along the spaceways." Snatches Harris White of THEESatisfac-
After the 1995 dissolution of tually give rise Sub Pop Shabazz Palaces' latest release of cryptic imagery evoke ancient tion, Erik Blood and Thadillac
the innovative alternative hip- to a number of Lese Majesty - an anglicization of African kingdoms and drug- - is consistently stunning, listen-
hop group Digable Planets, Ish- influential art- a French term referring to offense induced ecstasy within the same ers hoping for the sharp imagery
mael Butler, known as 'Butterfly' ists, ranging from J Dilla and Mos given to a royal - retains some of line. Lustrous melodies reminis- and innovative rhyme schemes
in the trio, largely disappeared Def to Flying Lotus and even Ken- the elements that made Black Up cent of Indian ragas float over of Black Up will likely be disap-
from the music industry until his drick Lamar. so innovative, but is altogether a pounding bass drums and cavern- pointed by a number of individual
triumphant return as the leader of As leader of Shabazz Palaces, different animal. ous, droning synthesizers. The tracks on this new release. But-
the Seattle-based outfit Shabazz Butler once again took Hip Hop The new LP opens its first beat flows effortlessly into the ler's lyrics occasionally become
Palaces in 2009. As a member of down an entirely new path on suite, 'The Phasing Shift,' with a next song, "Forerunner Foray," See PALACES, Page 8

LEFT: Detroit-based rapper Danny Brown perfoms on Saturday, July 19th at Pitchfork Music Festival 2014. RIGHT: Festivalgoers relax at Chicago's Union Park, where the festival was held.

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