VIDEO: Yoko Ono live at the Pitchfork Music Festival.

Love her or hate her, you all have to admit that you are a little intrigued by Yoko Ono.  It looks like the most mysterious of the Beatle-wives had a busy weekend rocking out with the indie kids, and tearing the house down by most accounts. 

I know that Yoko Ono does not rank very highly with most Beatle fans.  Sometimes I can’t blame casual fans for disliking her.  Her music is challenging, and that’s putting it mildly.  You have to give her credit though.  She is passionate, albeit weird.  But I guess that’s part of the reason that John loved her.  It’s hard to be a Yoko fan.  But it looks like a lot of folks had a good time enjoying the show over the weekend.  I can say that I am jealous.  I would love to see her perform in person.  We haven’t managed to track down a complete setlist, but I’m sure it will filter in. 

If any of you readers have any reports, please let us know.  If you were in attendance at the festival over the weekend, we’d love to here your reports in the comments too. 

  • Stereogum has posted photos of every performer at the Pitchfork festival.  There are lots of great Yoko pictures.

For now, enjoy the photos and videos.

Yoko Ono performing live at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park in Chicago on 7/14/07.

Yoko Ono performs “Mulberry” with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth (live at Pitchfork Music Festival July 14, 2007).

Here’s what we’ve read.

Yoko Ono did what Yoko Ono is known to do: She squawked, cackled, shrieked and quacked. In front of a generation of indie rock fans Saturday, and as the headliner of the Pitchfork Music Festival’s second day, Ono demonstrated that weirdness and political aptitude can still be a potent combination, even if you are 74-years-old.

Rock’s most famous widow performed a little over an hour Saturday, the second of three nights of the eclectic music festival held in Union Park, located in Chicago’s far West Loop neighborhood. She rarely performs live and in the beginning, it showed. Clad in all black and topped with a fedora, Ono was wobbly and unsure of herself as she fumbled with her lyric sheets and microphone. “We’re all in this together, right?” she asked the crowd.

Then she sang. Her wordless exaltations were startling, funny and confrontational. Then, as her set wore on — and backed by a four-piece rock band — the quirks of her voice and bravado of her performance grew in strength. She alternated between lyrics and sounds — “Open your heart” she sang before countering it with a menacing cackle. One song, very short, was presented as a prayer: “I miss you,” she intoned repeatedly, her voice filtered into a loop until it echoed around the park. Considering her history of loss, there was little mistaking who is was addressed to.

Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth joined Ono near the end. She and Moore provided a sound collage, recreating her memories of the bombing of Hiroshima when she was a child. As she moaned in the persona of a mother looking for a lost child, Moore pumped a harsh litany of sounds out of his guitar — mechanical noise, the ugly buzzing of airplanes.

Joined by the rest of the band, he and Ono launched into the familiar refrain she and John Lennon made famous during the Vietnam era — “War is over/if you want it.” With Moore delivering guitar histrionics — reminiscent of Lennon’s famous Central Park concert — the lyric became a tormenting rock jam that was powerful to experience and mighty in its message.

Two post-dinnertime acts greatly clashed with the rest of the lineup. Virginia hip-hop duo Clipse matched dark tales of street life steeped in machismo, violence and cocaine references with tense, ominous beats. Although brothers Malice and Pusha T traded rhymes like an old-school rhyme crew, theirs was not the “positive” sort of rap usually championed by alternative audiences.

Even further removed from the rest of the Pitchfork performers was Atlanta’s Mastodon. The quartet brought the thunder with a commanding set of progressive metal, blending straightforward thrash, lethargic doom, manic grindcore and lyrical Southern rock touches into one explosive, trickily cadenced package.

The afternoon brought Iron & Wine’s pleasant folk-pop, Sam Beam’s hushed, honeyed voice floating on the warm summer breeze. Battles’ bright guitars and electronics took the edge off the jerky polyrhythms of their danceable indie/jam/alien rock. Grizzly Bear’s earnest psychedelic panoramas brought to mind the Alan Parsons Project with cooler haircuts.

A smaller side stage mostly featured experimental jazz and electronic acts. This frequently packed corridor offered plenty of its own highlights, from Fujiya and Miyagi’s slinky disco/funk to the minimalist, lo-fi dream pop of Baltimore slowcore duo Beach House.

Source: Daily Herald

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7 Responses

  1. Ewwww… is all I have to say.

  2. YOKO IS LIVING HER LIFE!I THINK THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG IN THIS!JOHN WOULD APPRECIATED HER WAY OF ACTING,AND HER WAY OF LIVING!

  3. a long as she has fun……

  4. HEY AWC,I’M WAITING YOU!COME ON DON’T MAKE ME WAIT………MY BODY IS BURNING FOR YOU!I’LL WAITING YOU AT MIDNIGHT AT MY HOUSE..PLEASE COME….WE ‘LL HAVING SO MUCH FUN TOGETHER…….

  5. whatever….. whoever you are…….. veronica, i will never date you, ulla is still in my heart, ok…………..

  6. IT IS BOTH OF US…. JUST ANSWER MY EMAILS AND I WILL NO LONGER BOTHER ULLA. DO YOU STILL LOVE HER? HOW?

  7. this soap opera must end now, i am sorry for all the silly posts that i did here. it is all over now. the facts are this: 1. ulla is miss prym. 2. i pretended to be ulla on some posts here. 3. ulla also posted as me, she said all the bad things about him. 4. i posted as awc1967 to embarrass him, most of his posts are me. 5.ulla and awc1967 are only internet friends, but ulla wants more from him, but he is happily married and ulla has to accept that. 6. i was hoping he and i could be internet friends but he and ulla are that., so i will give them their space. 7. we all have sent angry emails to one another, but it has stopped a while back. 8. i am sorry for all this mess and from now on, i will post nice, thank you .

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