Its not just a hippie fest. Its not!... Oh, who am I kidding.
  • It's not just a hippie fest. It's not!... Oh, who am I kidding.
The first full day of Pickathon kicked off yesterday with a good amount of summer heat—although it won't have a patch on today—and some excellent music. I missed Thee Oh Sees' set in the barn, which everyone seems to be talking about, but I did catch the Barr Brothers on the Twilight Stage, who were moved up a slot to cover for some tardy Los Cojolites, who got held up at the border. The Barrs killed it. Yes, there's a harpist in the group, and yes, the drummer plays a bicycle wheel, but the Montreal band synthesizes both American and African blues (and a lot of other styles) into something that's without comparison. They arrived dazed, directly off the plane, but that seemed to work for them, as their set was dizzy, loose, and raggedly perfect. It was the best musical thing I saw yesterday, and maybe all year.

Not that there weren't other highlights out on Pendarvis Farm: Typhoon premiered songs off their new album, which they recorded a couple months ago at one of the barns on the property, and sounded excellent. And Southeast Engine—a band previously unfamiliar to me—found truth in classic Rust Belt rock 'n' roll. (They also covered fellow Ohioans Guided by Voices' "Tractor Rape Train.") Blitzen Trapper, after a lengthy sound check, blew away the Woods stage with a full volume set that was their homecoming after a long tour, and Laura Gibson, as ever, was magnificent in her endearingly low-key way.

It's dusty and dry out there. I ended up with filthy feet, which'll make you feel like even more of a hippie, and this morning I have some very dark stuff in my throat and nose. As soon as I can breath properly I'll be back for more. Maybe I'll go train-robber style and wear a kerchief over my face; you're bound to see odder things at Pickathon anyway.