The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

DFA1979 & Wrens Fly High At Intonation

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 18, 2005 6:35PM

2005_07_wrens.jpgMuch print will be spilled here over the next few days on the Intonation Fest but that seems only fair. Really, the folks over at Pitchfork did a great job. We’ve already given you an overview and enough photos to keep you busy through your lunch hour but now we reckon we’ll give you a sampling of our personal highlights from each day.

Saturday was pleasant and filled with an amazing amount of Indie goodwill – we accidentally cut in line to get our tickets and we didn’t even realize it because everyone was so durn polite – and this was all well and good. These sorts of vibes are a lovely way to while away a Saturday. Just ask the hackey-sackers that seem to have sprouted out of the ground next to the crew tossing a Frisbee around. As a matter of fact by the end of the day this whole feel-good vibe was really starting to get to us. Luckily Death From Above 1979 hit the stage just in time to save us from too many dreamy smiles.

We were skeptical of whether this duo could pull off the live show with the same intensity of their albums and this fear ran deep as the group has been followed around by a batch of wildly mixed live reviews. Luckily the naysayers were wrong and the Indie kids were alright as these two Canucks bashed out fuzzed out guitar/bass runs punctuated by primally simplistic beats and impassioned yelps. The crowd ate it up as the majority of the field they were stomping upon turned into a dust storm straight out of biblical times. Faces grew grimaced. Teeth gnashed. Tear trails sped down faces to scrape caverns in the dirt.

It was pretty rockin’. No wonder Tortoise seemed like a snooze right after a display like that.

Saturday’s highlight was a lot less apocalyptic and a whole lot more joyous. By now Chicagoist had settled into the sunny festival vibe and saw no need for an antidote along the same lines as the previous day’s sonic warlords. Instead we sat by the side of the stage as The Wrens bashed out a set of their impassioned pop with the glee that only folks who have been given the redemption of a third act can convincingly convey. These middle-aged guys from New Jersey were all smiles and were riding high on the wave of rapturous appreciation tossed their way by the crowd. At one point they even brought about half a dozen audience members onstage to beat out their own rhythms along to the music on the floor and as the band cut out all that was heard was the clickety-clack of a half-dozen amateur rhythmists and even our jaded, cynical, music-snob hearts grew three sizes larger. In the one truly anti-Indie move of the day, The WRens even came back out to do an encore...and no one sneered or grew snarky because we were all just so glad to see the physical manifestation of the hope that true music lovers hold close. It kind of summed up the whole Intonation Fest for us, actually. When something really and truly is all about the music everything surrounding it just sort of works itself out.