Pygmalion: Poster Children Show They Haven’t Skipped a Beat

poster-children-3Check back with Ghost Track throughout the weekend for updates on The Pygmalion Festival happening in Champaign-Urbana this weekend. You can check out our report from Friday here:

Poster Children’s return to the stage couldn’t have really gone better. The four-piece group immediately jumped into their set without any adjustment buffer. Just like that, 9-plus years away from the band and they played as well as they would if they were in the midst of a 3-month tour. They did poke fun at their age now, though. “We need a potty break or something,” bassist Rose Marshack said, after doing her signature spin a few times through the first few songs of the set.

Wolf Parade followed up with a quick set, riddled with sound issues. The Canadian band was struggling with the people doing sound and at one point directly said to the crowd, “I think it’s all off.” At one point there was about 15 seconds of screeching that caused the band to make more jokes about going def, plus the drums were incredibly louder than everything else on stage throughout the entire set. The band powered through, though, playing a few new songs but mostly sticking to tracks off earlier records like Apologies to the Queen Mary.

Mother Nature was a little bit of a let down, but still put on an entertaining show. It might be the fact that the hip-hop group has continued raising the bar time and time again and that this set wasn’t much we haven’t seen before, leaving me feeling like it wasn’t something special (which a Mother Nature show always is). The message stays true and was the most important thing said into a microphone throughout the entire festival, but the live band didn’t add anything to Mother Nature’s performance other than a shrug of spectacle that was quickly passed over. The live band felt like Mother Nature’s attempt at raising the bar another level, but it just didn’t happen. That might have had a lot to do with the fact they didn’t get to go through a formidable soundcheck, though. Wolf Parade kept making comments about the sound bleeding over in between songs and that seemed to shut things down on the other stage until their set was over.

The late night shows were great for those who were able to see them. AJJ put on one of the best sets of the weekend, largely because of the crowd being so behind them from the start and everyone being packed into the tiny stage area in the back of Memphis on Main. Kowabunga! Kid put on a short, but sweet set over at Exile on Main St. that played well with the local crowd and was really one of the first times people in the Champaign-Urbana scene got the chance to see them with good sound.

Friday takeaways:
– Poster Children put on one of the best Pygmalion sets I’ve seen in recent years at the festival. Hopefully they stick around more than the few dates they have booked the rest of the year.
– An intoxicated young man started doing the “Thriller” dance to Wolf Parade and it was way more entertaining than you’d think.
– Another highlight at this year’s Pygmalion is watching people dressed up in costumes like they’re going to Coachella and then finding themselves awkwardly standing in a barren parking lot with a mostly mellowed crowd.
– Damn, the clothes racks at Exile on Main St. really make watching shows weird. At least for a full-band punk set.
– Is Rose Marshack one of the best bassists in Champaign-Urbana history? At least the past few decades that we keep track of? Her all-around stage presence is fantastic.
– Sorry Elsinore, I was still at work when you started playing.

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