After a year away, WRBB makes a triumphant return to Chicago for an electric Pitchfork Music Festival.
Friday starts off strong with Chicago-based rockers Melkbelly, as well as sets by the rising guitarist Lucy Dacus and the introspective acoustic soundings of the venerable Julie Byrne. A slurry of innovative and forward-thinking rap subsumes the middle of the day—Open Mike Eagle, Saba, Syd, and newcomer Tierra Whack look to fill Union Park with an exciting variety of sounds and textures. The night then caps with indie stalwarts such as Big Thief, Courtney Barnett, and Tame Impala. Opening day will have a little bit of everything, easing the audience into the jam-packed weekend of inventive and thought-provoking performances.
Saturday will be the lighter of the three-day fest, as the roster includes a host of electronic and R&B artists no sane person would ever miss. The dynamic Zola Jesus lines up against Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and jazz-tinged Nilufer Yanya. Moses Sumney, Blood Orange (with LP4 on the way) and the legendary Raphael Saadiq. Saturday also sees a reunion for groundbreaking British experimental rock band This Heat, as well as much anticipated sets from Kelela and Fleet Foxes. Expect Saturday to break barriers, destroy preconceptions, and just be a real good time.
Wrapping up, Sunday provides Pitchfork to showcase the bubbling talent pool of Chicago rap and hip hop artists, featuring Nnamdi Ogbonnaya off-kilter experimental rap, Ravyn Lenae and her insanely groovy Crush EP, Noname’s infectiously savvy wordplay, and Smino’s unique flow. Also gracing the stage is forever-fav Japanese Breakfast, Chaka Khan in the flesh, and an (expected) performance by the Ms. Lauryn Hill, performing Miseducation in full for the album’s 30 anniversary. The day is booming, and we have high hopes our weekend will see the appropriate send off as we hop back on the El.
Aside from the mounds of music we are about to experience, WRBB is set on highlighting Pitchfork’s many other amenities for concert-goers, including the Chirp 107.1FM Record Fair (featuring direct sales from labels like Sub Pop, Secretly Group, and more), Renegade Craft Fair, and a partnership with RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) to raise awareness for sexual violence and support survivors.
Look out for further coverage as we head downtown!