Pitchfork Music Festival 2011, Saturday: Zola Jesus
And the Best Dressed award goes to: Nika Rosa Danilova, aka Zola Jesus, who was swathed in metallic folds that cascaded around her tiny frame to create a red-carpet worthy frock. She knew it, too, pausing nonchalantly to pose for an on-stage photographer and crooning into the crowd as she daintily clutched the cloth that surrounded her. Given all of the Siouxsie Sioux comparisons, I think most people, as did I, expected something super goth from this show. What we got instead was a sprite-like lady, who seems to be primed for pop stardom, with the voice of a warrior parading and prancing across the stage, repeatedly thanking the fans (Lady Gaga, anyone?), and explaining how much she loves them and how she wouldn't be at the fest without them. The gay boys, of whom there were many, loved this and happily bopped along as Danilova reached longingly at them amid stage skipping and spine-tingling vocal explosions. Some of the best set moments were those when it was just the voice of Jesus soaring through the crowd like the blackbird perched atop the head of the violinist, just before the synths and electronic drums caught up with her. I loved the violin, which only accented one song, and wanted more. It wasn't until the end of the set that Danilova stopped to ask, "How is everyone doing?," a question met with an explosion of whoops and hollers. To this she replied with coy delight "Me too" before ending the set by grabbing a set of drum sticks and freaking out on a cymbal. And since we're handing out awards, Best Dancer goes to the super fanboy in the American Flag T-shirt and Los Angeles Dodgers hat who, very sincerely, bounced and shook and flailed throughout the entire set. Congratulations sir, you deserve it.