Arts Desk

The Dismemberment Plan Reunion Now Going (at Least) Until July 16

Maybe this reunion can keep going forever. Four days after the lineup for The Roots Picnic was announced when Questlove made good on his plan to get Travis Morrison and company to play his crew's annual one-day festival in Philadelphia on June 4, The Dismemberment Plan became one of the first acts announced for this year's Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.

Pitchfork, which this year runs from July 15 to 17 in its familiar Union Park venue in the West Loop, will offer D-Plan an audience of close to 20,000 when they play on the festival's second day. (Presumably they'll play second-to-last; Fleet Foxes is listed as the Saturday headliner.) But Pitchfork isn't the no-name alternative festival it was when it debuted in 2006. It's still nowhere near the gluttonous cacophony that Lollapalooza is, but it is a major stop in its own right with a growing corporate organ. Last year's installment featured Heineken replacing Goose Island as the beer supplier, along with an air-conditioned tent sponsored by American Express.

It's still a coup for D-Plan, but at this stage the Pitchfork Music Festival has its plusses and drawbacks:

The Good:

  • Big audience. Union Park can hold close to 20,000 people when configured for Pitchfork.
  • Killer line-up. Other acts announced today by Pitchfork include Animal Collective, James Blake, TV on the Radio, OFWGKTA, and Destroyer. The full line-up will feature about 40 acts, most of whom appear to have performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at some point in the last six months.
  • Concessions are historically reasonable. I've never paid more than $2 for a bottle of water or $5 for a cup of beer at Pitchfork, and on hotter days they've halved the price for the water. Food vendors are local businesses, and the all-important portable toilets are generally plentiful.
  • A sunny summer day in Chicago has two settings. One is warm, breezy, and altogether lovely.

The Bad:

  • You can't rush the stage at a festival. It took a matter of seconds to ascend from the floor of the 9:30 Club to Joe Easley's drum kit in January. At Pitchfork D-Plan enthusiasts will find metal barricades, a photographers' pit, and a garrison of security guards (some of whom will be off-duty cops) between themselves and the band. And the stage is at least 8 feet off the ground. The upshot is that the guys will seem awfully lonely during "The Ice of Boston."
  • Pitchfork ain't cheap like it used to be. Back in the day (2006), the Pitchfork Music Festival was a two-day affair that cost $30 for the entire weekend. This year the three-day affair will set you back $110, still less than half the price of a Lollapalooza pass, but not exactly a small purchase.
  • Indie rock has outgrown its thrift-store-bought britches. Twilight Saga soundtracks? Caribbean cruises? Corporate-sponsored festivals? As one jaded indie-rock chronicler just said to me, "I'm going to only hardcore shows from now on."
  • A sunny summer day in Chicago has two settings. The other is oppressively humid and hot as balls.

But if you must, you can get your tickets here. It's $45 for a single day—D-Plan plays Saturday, July 16—and $110 for the whole thing.

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