Pitchfork Music Festival – Union Park – Chicago, IL – 7-15-2016 – Day One

Hello, beautiful readers. How are you? How’d your morning/day/night go? Well, ain’t it how it always goes?

Well, anyways, I’m glad your reading this on your smartphone, laptop, PC, Mac, or a public library computer…or maybe even that dreaded internet cafe with bad decorations.

Anyways, I guess I just wanted to give you a snapshot (not to be confused with a Snapchat because these letters would self destruct in villainous seconds) of the Pitchfork Music Festival. 

The eleventh annual event arrived at Union Park with a dreaded drizzly start. But that’s nothing a rain poncho or an overly saturated flannel shirt couldn’t deter. 

So, this year, in the age of Buzzfeed countdown orientated articles, I decided to countdown the top four acts of my biased mind at the Pitchfork Music Festival that might even engage you to go out and listen, watch, or follow them at your own discretion. 

So, let’s get right down to it (in a no, purposely Buzzfeed, particular order):

Whitney:

With the break of sunshine late in a largely cloudy and misty set, Whitney proved to be a lighthearted but sonically diversive set to start the afternoon. A trumpet and mini string backing band will always brighten things up. 

Recommended listening:

Twin Peaks:

Chicago’s very own hosted a sizeable and raucous crowd to their garage rock set. This is the type of band you can crack open your tall boys at any barbecue and say hey wanna hear some new rock and roll? 

Recommended listening:

Carly Rae Jepsen:

My goodness. What’s the word for ethereal pop-yness? Michael-Jackson? Madonna? Sorry, but this Canadian gift of an artist (looking sternly at you Beiber) cannot be overlooked as just the girl who blew up on FM radio a few years ago with her international hit “Call Me Maybe.” (And don’t deny you didn’t sing along to this very song on your way to buy groceries a few years ago either). Friends, she’s actually the real deal. Pure pop at its finest.

Recommended listening:

Beach House: Turn the lights down low…way low. Now go ahead and grab your favorite drink. Take your time. No rush. I’m not going anywhere. Maybe take a puff of your favorite (disclaimer: not recommended) cigar, cigarette, or medicinal prescription while you’re at it. Pretty good isn’t it? 

Its honestly the only way to describe Beach House’s headlining performance. Mellow is an understatement. For you Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fans their rendition of The Korgis/and more likely known Beck’s version of “Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” could not have been more fitting for their set. 

Recommended listening:

So, as couples kissed and friends hugged, the night ended in a much needed sign of peace and love that is always (and sadly) desperately needed in our always chaotic world. Let’s hope this continues, no?

Day two just around the corner…

Pitchfork Music Festival – Union Park – Chicago, IL – 7-19-2014 (Day Two)

Dia dos. As I began the cross the street onto Ogden Ave, the faint buzz of bass could be felt underneath my worn out pair of Adidas. Another gorgeous day in the city of Chicago welcomed another throng of music fans at Union Park. My legs were weaker compared to Day One, but I was ready to keep the good vibes going. The prospect of a nice cold beer in my hand also provided me brief motivation (and that’s mainly because of you Goose Island…you serve some damn fine beer).

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First up was Chicago’s own Twin Peaks who brought on their youthful energy into every song they played. But more importantly…they actually did rock. Between the crowd surfing and a smashed guitar being thrown into the crowd (no one got hurt, by the way), Twin Peaks couldn’t have started the day any better.

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Brooklyn rapper, Ka, brought his DIY mentality and poignant lyrics to a contemplative crowd. Briefly talking about how his love-hate relationship with summer, due to losing some people he knew back home, his message was certainly applicable to Chicago’s serious problem with violence. I suppose there’s always room for rumination, even at a music festival.

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First cello and clarinet sighting at Pitchfork?

Circulatory System brought their psychedelic rock to a receptive crowd. As wafts of smoke raised up in the air, the diverse range of instruments created sounds not usually reserved at music festivals. It sounded weird and heavy so pulling that sound off was impressive.

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UK band, Wild Beasts played to an adoring fan base as the band played a fair portion from their critically acclaimed new album Present Tense. Lead singer Hayden Thorpe quipped that they were not use to the sunshine or the beautiful people (since they’re from England). Way to make Chicago blush Wild Beast. Also, thumbs up on the use of a violin bow by guitarist Ben Little (I’m happy to see it continue).

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The synth-heavy beats coupled with Lorely Rodriguez’s dreamy-pop vocals encompasses her solo project Empress Of. Her crooning voice brought many smiles and plenty of interpretive dancing.

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Cloud Nothings played a high energy set as they blasted their brand of punk rock to a willing and able crowd. It was also appropriate to realize there were no clouds in the the sky as they began playing.

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Five or four keyboards in front of him?

Mas Ysa looked to be exhausted as he put all his energy into his EDM-driven set.

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Pusha T had a fashionably late start, which the crowd eventually forgave as they began to rap along to his uptempo set. The biggest pop from the crowd came from his Kanye West collaboration “Mercy.”

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tUnE-yArDs (that’s cap sensitive by the way) set was just…weird frenetic fun. The amount of sequins worn was also notably impressive. World beats blended with electronica flares couldn’t have sounded better on a Saturday afternoon. It was definitely one of the best sets, atmospherically, of the weekend.

Alas, readers…I had to attend a wedding shortly after the tUnE-yArDs’ set. So, St. Vincent (if you can read these) please come back to Chicago soon! No Danny Brown or Neutral Milk Hotel recaps either, unfortunately.

Stay tune for day three and my final impressions of the Pitchfork Music Festival weekend.