Photo: Clayton Hauck

You really can’t lose when you’re playing an iconic album from start to finish at Pitchfork. Reuniting 90s acts for a feedback-riddled trip down nostalgia lane has become the fest’s bread and butter. Judging by the reaction to the Deal sisters' set, the formula still works.

“We put out an album 20 years ago called Last Splash and we’re playing it from beginning to end. Thanks for celebrating with us,” singer-guitarist Kim Deal chirped. It’s a pretty humble statement given that “Cannonball” is one of the most recognized alterna earworms from the early 90s—right up there with “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” 

First off, Kim Deal is hilarious. Between a couple of awkward restarts, drops of the f-bomb and insightful anecdotes, the cherry-faced vet couldn’t have been more charming. “I love her,” was echoed no less than four times by the various folks surrounding me.

Was the set perfect? Absolutely not. It was sloppy, even. There were sound issues throughout and Kim’s vocals were hushed to the point of inaudible a couple of times. But it delivered on something perhaps more important than mechanics: The spirit of an era that so many fashion houses and teenage bloggers attempt to emulate today. Nostalgia and charisma get high marks at this fest. By that criteria, the band definitely delivered.