This year Pygmalion Festival stayed true to its roots, featuring a hearty balance of local and touring acts. While in-between sets festival-goers could explore the latest technologies at the Tech fair, indulge in some arts and crafts at the Made Festival, or meet an array of authors at one of the many “lit crawls” happening during the weekend.
The festival reached its peak attendance Saturday with Run the Jewels leading the charge. However, that momentum was lost Sunday when there was a smaller crowd than there had been in years past. But despite the less-than-packed lot, the festival finished strong with Ride. Since the film award season is only a month away, I decided to hand out awards for this weekend. Some of these awards may be oddly specific to my experience, but, really, it wasn’t all that much more unique than anyone else’s.
Most Underrated Band: The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers
Other Nominees: Grandkids, Patrick Watson
The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers are a quintet from Los Angeles. According to their Facebook page, the band was formed after founding member Will Wadsworth wanted to host get-togethers that revolved around playing music. Once a consistent, core group was formed, the band took their act on the road, spreading the joy of music all around the country. Combining elements of folk, blues and gospel, the band showed us at Pygmalion how to enjoy music with a simple and good message. Moreover, you don’t have to be Christian to enjoy this band; you just have to love dancing to folk music.
Set That Most Captivated Me: Bully
Other Nominees: Hana
One of the great things about Pygmalion is that it is essentially just a couple regular shows happening in the same area at the same time, with lineups staggard advantageously. Bully headlined what would have been the late show Thursday night. Playing until 1:45 am, Bully kept the audience moshing until last call. Although, they probably benefited most by playing during one of the first nights of the festival. Originally, I planned on staying for a few songs and calling it an early night to rest up for the long weekend ahead, but at about three songs into the set, I didn’t want it to end. The premise of this award goes to the best band whose set I originally planned on leaving early but ended up staying because they were so good. Which brings me to my next award…
Set I Wish I Saw in Its Entirety: Grandkids
Other Nominees: Zola Jesus, Pujol
As anyone else at any other festival, I had to make sacrifices. It’s impossible to catch everything, but if you’re creative you can catch a lot. This means, though, that you have to cut some sets short, or completely. One of the most difficult things to do this weekend was to walk away from Grandkids’ set on Sunday night. If I could go back, I would definitely have planned around catching their whole set.
Most Likely to be as Big of a Bulls Fan as Me: The Drummer from NE-HI
Being born and raised in Chicago during the 90s, it’s only natural that I love the Chicago Bulls. And apparently so does the drummer from NE-HI. The new-wave garage band from Chicago played on Saturday at the Highdive Outdoor Annex.
Most Likely to Write the Next Rugrats Theme Song: Jorts
Following in the absurd footsteps of Devo, Jorts performed at Mike N Mollys Saturday night donning hazmat suits. To add to the spectacle, their whole set was being filmed, warped, and projected right behind them. At first, the audience was humble, but it didn’t take long at all for a crowd to form. By the end of their set, a filled venue was calling for more of their soft, 80s-style pop.
Most Likely to Disappoint the 14-Year-Old Me: Nick Diamonds
In early high school, my absolute favorite band was the Unicorns. Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone was the quintessential indie-pop album. However, it seemed like each and every project Nick Thorburn fronted afterward got more and more lackluster. Islands’ Return to the Sea being his only exceptional release outside of anything by The Unicorns.
The picture above says how the show went. Believe it or not, Arcade Fire used to open for that guy. Now, he tours under the monikor of Nick Diamonds, a tacky play on Neil Diamond. Both Thorburn and his bandmate played a most apathetic set, with less-than-mediocre music.
But why don’t you see how the rest of the weekend went for yourself! Check out Pygmalion 2015 in less-than-two-and-a-half minutes.