Well, the wait is finally over. Music festival season has officially started in Chicago. Pitchfork Music Festival arguably provides one of the most eclectic lineups out of the four major music festivals in the city. And yes, inevitably you’ll probably hear, “Who are these guys?” But, that’s the beauty of these festivals, you get to hear bands that you would normally would never get the chance to see or hear.
Day one started a little frantic as I was running late for the festival. Greeted by long lines to enter the park, I could hear the faint voice of Sharon Van Etten saying hello to a jubilant Pitchfork crowd. It luckily didn’t take long before I was able to get in. As soon as my nostrils took a whiff of sativa in the breezy air I knew I was officially at a music festival.
Sharon Van Etten, supporting her new album Are We There, played a fantastic set with the backdrop of perfect weather to warm up the crowd. Bouncing from folk, country, and some heavy power chords, Sharon realistically got everyone’s attention with her stirring smoky voice. The majority in the crowd were tapping their feet and bobbing their heads right along to her folksy set. Still, the biggest cheer came during the heavy and melodic “Serpents” off her critically acclaimed album Tramp. Great set.
As an aside, in order to get “beverages” at Pitchfork…please have your 2048 game app and plenty of patience because you’re going to wait in line for a long time.
Now, don’t let the picture above fool you (there were four lines somewhere inside this picture). I was a mile away from the “beverage ticket” stand (well, sort of). And make sure you get in the proper line since there’s a cash only and credit only line. People were waiting in line so long that when they finally got to purchase tickets they were waking away with wheelbarrows full of them (trying to avoid any more standing-in-line blues for the rest of the weekend). After that you have to stand in line to get a wristband, which finally gives you the privilege of standing in line for a beer (Franz Kafka would be proud to see this well-oiled machine run).
But once that fun ended, Pitchfork sponsor Goose Island provided some excellent beer to the festivities.
Nearly every hour, Goose Island taps a new keg for the beer drinking masses to consume. The Sharon Van Etten collaborated Kölsch style beer, aptly named (SVE), was also phenomenal. Thumbs up on this Pitchfork. Well done.
Finally, we have 312 and the always solid Green Line beer was being sold by the stages.
Sza, part of Kendrick Lamar’s growing posse, played an ultra mellow set that was more than fine with the crowd. Sza showed off her soulful voice and the crowd swayed right along with her.
Meanwhile, Sun Kil Moon played on a sun-drenched stage to a responsive but respectful crowd. As waves of reverb overtook their song “I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same,” the names of Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones made me instantly think of those interesting fantasy sequences.
Giorgio Moroder, one of the founding fathers of EDM, DJ’d a heavy set of Donna Summer songs, which most people definitely grooved along to.
He nicely ended his set with Blondie’s “Call Me” to prep up the crowd for:
What can really be said about Beck that already hasn’t? The guy is eclectic and he constantly outputs good music. But talk about a lively set…Beck and his band were in perpetual motion. Jumping, diving, running into each other, falling down, the pace was frenetic to start as they opened up with “Devil’s Haircut.”
Familiar tape in Chicago.
The band mellowed things down a bit with Beck’s more emotive songs at the halfway point. “Blue Moon,” off the new album Morning Phase, sounded powerful live, but they kicked everyone back into gear towards the end with “E-Pro” from Beck’s Guero album.
They capped off the show with “Where It’s At?,” which quickly became a perfect crowd sing-along sign-off to cap off a gorgeous night of weather and music.
Day Two coming shortly.