Pickathon, the annual Happy Valley hoedown, is back with a stellar line-up of acts over three days of tree-lined musical shenanigans. Read on for our—hotly contested—day-by-day guide.
It really is worth arriving early for set-up this year, if only to hear local supergroup Chanti Darling, whose live show—our columnist Casey Jarman describes “synchronized dance moves, booming house beats, catchy synth melodies, and buckets of sweat” —is fast becoming a thing of legend. Find them at midnight at the Galaxy Barn.
It’s all going off today, starting from with some midday velvety R&B via Blossom, through the sweet harmonics of the folksy Joseph sisters. Sample all you fancy, then direct yourself with purpose to the Woods Stage in the late afternoon to catch the stark beats and haunting vocals of French-Cuban twin sisters Ibeyi. What better place to hear what they call their “contemporary negro spirituals” than in this magical setting?
Catch what you can en route, but make sure you’re at the Mountain Stage by the time Montreal rockers Wolf Parade take the stage, chest-thumpingly back after a five-year hiatus. We're pretty pleased about their return.
Follow that with some sophisticated surf rock, via La Luz, who take to the Treeline stage at 9:50 p.m. This Seattle quartet calls their style “surf noir,” which seems fitting for our Northwest climes—beachy but raw, pairing sunny sounds with some darker subject matter, informed no doubt by their brush with death after a high-speed car crash in 2013 that destroyed their tour bus.
Then it's back to the Woods Stage for Yo La Tengo, because they’re here, and they’ve been doing their low-key, intimate melody making for over 30 years now. Added to which, they’ll probably throw in a kick-ass cover or two. Plus, it’s Friday, and...
Get an early buzz of soft, minimalist Scandinavian sweetness from My Bubba at the Lucky Barn. It’s the perfect kind of close, harmonic softness to ease you into the day.
Catch some of local rapper Myke Bogan’s vocal throwdowns, or sway to some kicking country with Mount Moriah, but don’t be late for Alvvays’s Wood Stage appearance, where you can expect some catchy, clever indie pop from this Canadian quintet. And try getting this out of your head afterwards...
Run, don't walk, back to the Galaxy Barn for the rest of Detroit post-punkers Protomartyr's Galaxy Barn set. It's time to sweat it up a little.
And while you’re there, you should stay for the funk revolution, brought to you by Boulevards.
Get the evening started with some epic electronica from Dan Deacon, but be warned: he’s known to expect some serious audience participation. Come ready.
Then it’s folk-indie-rockers Fruit Bats at the Galaxy Barn, the kind of band made for Pickathon, with a mix of feet-tapping banjo brilliance and smart lyrical overlays. Get stomping.
You weren’t going to miss the intensely mellow sounds of Beach House, were you? But then there’s the Jeff Tweedy scheduling conflict. So here’s a thought: Give Beach House a good 40 minutes at the Mountain Stage...
...and then hightail it back to the Woods Stage to catch the end of the Wilco frontman’s second Pickathon show.
Course, if you'd rather choose for yourself, there's always this handy Pickathon playlist for a sampling of some of the musical treats on offer over the weekend. Knock yourself out!
Pickathon runs August 5–7 at Pendarvis Farm.