Pygmalion 2011 Highlights
Published: Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 13:09
After an exhaustingly exciting five-day stretch, the 2011 Pygmalion Music Festival has come to an end. Each year, Pygmalion brings in popular indie acts while also showcasing talents from the local area. This was the seventh year for the festival, which has continued to grow stronger in both attendance and lineup with each year.
The festival began with a psychedelic touch last Wednesday night at the Canopy Club. Opening the show were two psychedelic rock duos: local favorites Common Loon and Portland based Viva Voce. Headlining the night were Explosions in the Sky, a legendary instrumental post-rock group from Texas. They hypnotized the packed venue for ninety minutes, emotionally submerging themselves deep into the music as well.
The next night at the Canopy Club began in the void room with Easter, the project of local musician Kyle Lang, equipped with a full band. The high-energy show was performed to a criminally small audience, appropriately ending with the trombonist crowd surfing. Opening up the main stage were Ava Luna, a seven-piece pop group from New York, whose catchy set encouraged the audience to dance along. They were followed by Bachelorette, the electronic pop project of New Zealand songwriter Annabel Alpers.
Afterward was Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who would perfectly fit in a playlist with the classic psychedelic rock bands of the 60s and 70s. Back in the void room were the enchanting indie rock band Youth Lagoon, who should have been performing on the main stage, as their audience expanded outside of the venue doors. Finishing up the night was Toro y Moi, whose upbeat pop vibes turned the front of the venue into a dance floor.
Friday continued the theme of easily danceable pop music with Midnight Magic, Washed Out, and Cut Copy. The disco sounds of Midnight Magic prepared the early comers for a crazy night, as Ernest Greene's extremely addictive Washed Out kept them dancing afterward. Later, Cut Copy took the stage with their synth-heavy arrangements and falsetto melodies. The dancing intensified even further throughout the night with the late show headlined by the Hood Internet, who truly brought out the "club" in Canopy Club.
Meanwhile, indie rockers the Luyas and folk rock group the Dodoshad the Channing-Murray Foundation packed to the brim, leaving a line of anxious people outside, extending to the street. Luckily, everyone waiting could be admitted in time to see the Dodos.
The Polyvinyl 15 Year Anniversary Show was at the Highdive Saturday, and featured a lineup full of big-name acts on the label. Signaling the beginning of the long show was the jangly, frantic guitar riffs of math-rock group Joan Of Arc. Next up was the highly energetic Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, who got the crowd moving with their fun, upbeat style of pop-infused alternative rock. Asobi Seksukept the pop vibes flowing with their unique dreamy, almost shoegaze style.
Up next was Owen, whose one-man performance settled the crowd down to near silence. Fans slightly swayed to the raw, emotionally crushing songs of Mike Kinsella. Strongly contrasting this performance was electronica group STRFKR, who reanimated the crowd back into a dancing frenzy. Bringing the crowd back down were the dark, avant-garde sounds of Xiu Xiu, mesmerizing the audience with an array of different instruments and effects.
Japandroidscame on afterward, pumping up the crowd with their rapturous garage rock. The eccentric Deerhoof followed, performing a happy style of art rock fuelled by pop-influenced female vocal melodies and drumming that can only be described as a mix between violent and jazzy, all done on a three-piece kit. Headlining the event were local indie legends Braid, who have recently reunited after breaking up in 1999. They demonstrated that they are just as wild, fun, and fierce as they were back in the 90s.
Shortly after Braid's performance, two local alternative rock bands were coincidentally having CD release shows in downtown Champaign. That's No Moon were at the Cowboy Monkey while The Dirty Feathers were at Mike N Molly's.
The final day of Pygmalion took place at the Highdive, featuring inde pop act The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, or as vocalist and guitarist Kip Berman announced themselves, The "Champains" of Being Pure at Heart. Opening for them were their tour mates Big Troubles, who were reminiscent of early 90s alternative shoegaze, as well as local favorites Elsinore.
The Pygmalion Music Festival is an incredible display of Champaign-Urbana's thriving music scene. It will be surprising to see how the festival continues to grow in the future.