American Football caps off Pygmalion Festival

The lineup of performances toplay for Sunday was definitely in favor for the hardcore and expressive “emo” fan. With the Bay Area-band Deafheaven, setting the nightly tone with screams that could be heard from a mile away, fans that were not as exposed to metal as the rest of the crowd were in for a treat.

After Saturday’s lineup, the atmosphere at the beginning of Sunday definitely had a change in scenery. With the majority of the attendees in all black, it became clear that Sunday’s lineup was carefully selected to include bands of the hardcore genre.

Deafheaven, who can be described as black metal combined with post-metal, had a large Pygmalion following. The crowd appeared in tempo with every head nod and the occasional longhaired head banger. Vocalist George Clarke seemed to exceed the octal limits of male vocal chords whilst being supported by an extremely talented band, performing calm and smooth segments that transformed into stratospheric tempos.

Following Deafheaven, I worked my way over to the righthand stage where Maserati went on at 7:45 p.m. As an audience member who has barely any exposure to metal, the vocal-less band was a nice change of pace from the previous performances earlier in the day. This post-rock, psychedelic band definitely showed similarities to the prior nights performance by Tycho. I was pleasantly surprised by the Georgia-native band.

As Maserati continued their set, more and more audience members flooded the area where American Football would soon be taking the stage at 9 p.m.

Finally, it was time for the headliner Pygmalion had been waiting for. The fifteen year long hiatus was broken and the first chord resonated through the crowd. Native to the Champaign-Urbana area, the band’s set seemed emotional. Observing the crowd, some fans had watery eyes whereas others sang every word to every song.

The trio played their self-titled album, “American Football,” and pulled in the crowd with every word. The trumpet player brought even more emotion with melodic lines that emphasized the meaning behind their lyrics that were, at one point, their muse for expressive teenage feelings.

Having a low-maintenance stage setup, it was clear this performance was all about the music. This was a performance that had almost every fan intertwined with the lyrics, rather than getting distracted by visual projections or lightshows that might surround the stage.

As their set came to an end and the outdoor portion of the festival closed up shop, the end-of-festival-blues came over fans faces. Ending the outside portion of the last night of the 10th annual Pygmalion Festival, American Football flooded the crowd with the tightest sense of community felt thus far. Pygmalion could not have chosen a more appropriate performance to end a cornerstone year in the festivals history.

Frances is a sophomore in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]