By the time I got through the entrance, Real Estate was about half way through their performance. It was a real solid set from a band I've seen a few times before in the past. Personally, it really set the mood for the rest of the day. After it was over, I headed over to the B stage for Kurt Vile. The KV set was one I had earmarked as necessary to see. After seeing him last summer in Brooklyn, I kind of knew that he would own an outdoor stage show and he did. With a full band in tow that even featured some harp action, KV really held it down. I feel like he is still slept on for some reason, but that might just be me. The last time I saw him, he introduced "Freeway" as the number one song on the billboard charts because at the time in certain circles that song was being passed around as some shit that had to be heard. There was no preface for it this time around, but it still appeared to be widely dug by the crowd.
When it ended, it was time to catch as much of Titus Andronicus as humanly possible. If I had missed them again, it would have been the sixth time. The streak ended at five missed opportunities and I managed to see one of the best acts of the day. The sound pouring out of the speakers was terrific, and it reminded me how much I have been enjoying the new album. For lack of better phrasing, it was pure fun seeing them perform. I'm not going to lie, but it made me feel a little giddy on the inside. This was also the point in the day where I realized that it was wickedly hot out, and that it wasn't going to be cooling off any time soon.
I remained in the sun because Raekwon was due up next, and there was no way I was missing that. I had already racked up enough bamma points for the weekend. The DJ was having issues with the sound system, which was unfortunate but also reminded me of '08 when Rae and Ghostface's set was marred by similar issues. Obviously, once it got going it was dope. Undeniable. That dude really knows how to work a crowd. It was all about loving hip hop, real hip hop, and sharing that passion for it. Put your hands in the air for hip hop. I felt like Rae was basically saying fuck the hipsters, and their indifferent attitudes and crossed arms. Rae wanted an audience that was fully committed, not one that was merely appreciative.
At this point, I was in dire need of shade and the B stage had some that was up for grabs. I saw Why?, and that was cool. Someone had recommended them to me years ago, but I never got around to listening to more than a few songs of theirs. To me, it had a very earnest, workman-like quality to it. They wanted it to sound good so they put in the proper effort to make it happen. The lyrics border on absurd, but it's different so I was down. There was also seemed to be some xylophone work going on at times.
I hung around for Bear in Heaven, another band I have read about but never really listened to extensively. I was talking to the cats next to me, and they said that Bear in Heaven was kind of hard to describe. One dude said it was, "kind of depressing, but in an awesome way." I took that as encouraging sign that this would be something right up my alley. I ended up really digging it. It was one of those deals where the sounds are all layered on top of one another. At one point, there were these small kids playing tag and running around. It looked as if they were dancing. It was pretty wild to witness.
Dutifully, I went to go see Panda Bear. It was interesting, and I think I heard some new songs. I'm hesitant to say too much because it was performed live and it was only him on the stage, but at times it still worked. There was some sort of accompanying video that went along with it. There was a shark eating a cow, and people making out and undressing on a roller coaster. At one point, there was a negative transparency of stomach that appeared to be exploding. Whatever song was playing then was tight. There's no denying that the whole performance bordered more on the art side than the music side, but at the same time it didn't deter me from wanting to buy Tomboy when it comes out. It'll probably sound even better with headphones. Watching the crowd reactions was such a trip, though. You could tell that mostly everybody held a certain degree of reverence for Panda Bear, so they didn't want to be too reactionary but at the same time it seemed like most of the crowd was totally confused by what was going on stage.
I ducked out towards the end because there was part of me that had to see Freddie Gibbs. After being in Gary on Thursday, I felt like I owed it to myself to check it out. That man didn't disappoint either. In the two days that I've been here walking around, I've heard several people remark that everything about P4K fest is fake and that all the people here are fake and this and that and the other. They might be right, but let me tell you one thing. Gibbs is real. He's really not playing around when he's talking about his life experiences. He's from a terrifyingly downtrodden area where people get killed so he's going to talk about it. He likes to smoke grass to forget about all the killings so he's going to talk about that too. Admittedly, it was pretty humorous watching people flee from the scene. I guess they were expecting something else, and not a set dedicated to the "killas" and the "smokers".
LCD Soundsystem closed the night down, and would you believe they were incredible. I was totally knocked back on my heels by it. James Murphy had me feeling like I was ten feet tall. So much so, that I was actually dancing. Well, I don't know if others would call it dancing but for me it was pretty close.