Outdoor summer festivals are bound to make a few bands grumpy. It’s hella hot, the sound kind of sucks, and most of these artists are onstage before they normally wake up. But this year, Pitchfork has more than its fair share of acts with recent, let’s call them, episodes. We offer a guide to which hipster is most likely to hissy fit.
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Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
Green stage; July 17, 4:15pm
Ariel Pink dresses like a vagrant. He releases lo-fi cassettes and sings with a mocking, lounge-singer voice that seems to hold his own songs in contempt. In short, he’s the last person we’d expect to be picky about sound quality. Yet at this year’s Coachella festival, Pink grew frustrated with the sound man and spent most of the show pouting with his back to the audience, picking at his thumb and smoking cigarettes. Days later, in Mexico City, he started to cry onstage while maniacally flicking a lighter. This guy is a caramel sitting on the dashboard in the sun. If he doesn’t have a meltdown, folks will feel slighted.
Red stage; July 17, 3:20pm
“Kill people! Burn shit! Fuck school!” goes Odd Future’s most popular and infamous refrain. This L.A. crew loves anarchy. Well, as long as it’s not flying toward their faces. During a May gig at Detroit’s Majestic Theater, rowdy fans lobbed bottles at the rappers. Frontman Tyler, the Creator, stopped the show, warning, “Next person that throws a bottle will get beat the fuck up.” Coward.
Green stage; July 17, 6:15pm
“The cool thing about me is that my onstage breakdowns have nothing to do with drugs,” Bradford Cox mumbled at Lollapalooza 2009. Don’t pat yourself on the back too hard, crankypants. In that instance, the Deerhunter singer’s pouting had to do with Snoop Dogg, who was loudly party-rocking on an adjacent stage and dwindling Deerhunter’s meager crowd. Cox is mercurial and sensitive, but that’s okay—that’s what fuels his sad and pretty songs. Though known to snap at an audience, the indie prophet will be preaching to his choir here. Plus, Snoop Dogg will be nowhere in sight. (Dammit.)
Blue stage; July 16, 4:45pm
Guided by Voices
After three-plus decades of fronting Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, Keith Morris has honed his chaos. Even at 55, the oldest man on the festival bill, the punk icon will shame the lesser-talented competition. He’ll be a whirlwind of dreadlocks, shooting off beads of sweat and agitprop. Okay, he won’t be all that unhinged. He’ll just seem that way in contrast to the stoned, apathetic chillwavers flooding the other stages.
Green stage; July 15, 6:25pm
Fifths, tall boys, cans. Grain liquor, light beer, imports. Guided by Voices suck down frightening amounts of alcohol onstage. It’s not unusual to see singer Bob Pollard pull on a tequila bottle or fish for brews from a cooler. Like a drunk uncle at a wedding, these hard-living Ohioans’ banter swerves from self-loathing to horny ramblings to incoherent boasting. Regrettable things might be said. But in their middle age, there’s just as much chance one of them might slump asleep with his pants around his ankles.
Red stage; July 15, 7:20pm
So sedate and sophisticated, the heavenly voiced folk singer seems out of place in this lineup of hotheads. We’re guessing Neko’s here at the insistence of the festival’s insurance or the suits at Lifeway Kefir dairy products, one of this year’s sponsors.