Pitchfork Music Festival Day 2
Hello from Chicago’s Union Park! You know the drill. Andrew Goldberg, Catu Berretta and Chris Triunfo will be reporting from Pitchfork Music Festival throughout the weekend. Be sure to check out WRBB’s socials for more content as well! Day 2 was an absolute treat. Here are our thoughts:
Chris: Yesterday, it was the heat. Today, the rain. Muddy shoes, heavy clothes and the near death of a camera still proved to be worth it. Pitchfork’s second day brought the charm. The day started with the best it had to offer, but by no means did it get worse. The bar was set high and it remained. Chicago native Ric Wilson shined through his early slot, proving he deserves so much more. After Wilson, CHAI melted brains with a set that was as fun as it was perfectly engineered. None other than CHAI would be able to draw such a large crowd so early on at a music festival. A brief lull accompanied the midday sun, when Jay Som and Cate Le Bon gave fans forgettable sets.
Then, Parquet Courts hit the stage. No, scratch that – they body slammed it. As the storm clouds slowly crept towards Union Park, Parquet Courts delivered a set that can only be described by the sight of Sean Yeaton head banging furiously. Tragically, an electric storm pushed us out of the festival and into the great unknown of the west loop. It also gave Kurt Vile and Amber Mark the boot from the fest. But with arms fully extended, Freddie Gibbs welcomed fans back into the park with his masterful lyricism and chants of “Fuck the police.” Like Pusha T’s performance yesterday, Gibbs’ professionalism was apparent. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand. At the same time on the other side of the park, Stereolab was performing the soundtrack to one of your wildest dreams. At one point, I found the sweet spot of Union Park. Take ten steps east and you have the dulcet synth sounds of France’s best pop group. Take twenty to the west, and Freddie Gibbs’ energy begins to penetrate you, until you find yourself in the middle of a crowd, moshing carelessly.
The rest of the night was mud-filled and humid, but also worth it. Belle & Sebastian gave Chicago a warm hug with their set, and The Isley Brothers HEADLINED and kicked ass. Yes, it’s 2019. Jeremih was the most forgetful performance so far. But we’ll see if anyone else can set the bar lower tomorrow. Regardless, day 2 was one for the books. Let’s hope the rain is gone for good.
Highlight: Ric Wilson
Andrew: With thunderstorms perpetually brewing on the horizon, Saturday’s much anticipated lineup went across without missing a beat. Picking up the steam from Friday’s eccentric and electric atmosphere, the second day of Pitchfork Music Festival balanced dynamic newcomers with heavy-hitting, veteran artists for a day full of enchanting performances. With the trademark eclectic scheduling, each act brought new perspectives on artistry, educating a very attentive crowd on the goings on of ambient synth work to Chicago’s bubbling hip-hop scene.
Ric Wilson—a rising rookie amidst the legacy of breakout Chicago rappers—brought forth one of the most danceable, joy-filled performances of the festival. With a remarkable feat of hometown heroics, Wilson invited the Lane Tech High School marching band up for a round of songs, enlivening an already ripe dance floor so early in the day. Perhaps the most convincing argument made for Wilson’s success was his knack for crowd engagement, directing the previously tepid crowd to join in to break the “world record” for soul train-ing, jumping into each side of the audience for a truly heartwarming and enveloping experience. All the way from Japan, CHAI won over the hot and humid attendees with smiles, coordinated outfits (and dance routines!), as well as an extremely tight-knit live sound—the band proved to be more than just a collection of aesthetic aficionados.
Later, mid-career stunners like Cate Le Bon and Parquet Courts had people at full attention, drifting and weaving through their respective catalogues, as hit after hit played on the Union Park grounds before a sudden and all encompassing rain delay. Set back an hour and some change, the festival had to unfortunately skip on Philly’s Kurt Vile and New York’s Amber Mark. The return of interspace kraut-rockers Stereolab, back from their 11-year live hiatus, brought there A-game, as Laetitia Sadier and company revived one of the more, arguably, influential bands of this century. With Freddie Gibbs and none other than the Isley Brothers rounding out the night, Saturday capped a session chocked full of quality, inimitable performances whose value far outweighed getting drenched from the rain.
Worst: Kurt Vile only on the side of the stage and not performing
Catu: Ric Wilson kicks off the day with an immensely fun set: bringing out a full marching band and coordinating two soul trains at either side of the pit. He’s incredibly playful and the whole experience is one filled with joy and dancing. CHAI follows and manages to maintain the high spirits, presenting another super fun set. The day is going pretty brilliantly until I discover that Tirzah has been cancelled and instead replaces by Bitchin Bajas. Despite my disappointment, I’ll admit the alternate set performs with a single-minded focus. Not really my cup of tea but a worthy replacement nevertheless. An enchanting performance by Cate Le Bon is more than enough to make up for it. However, hands down, the absolute greatest set of the day and possibly all weekend is Parquet Courts. In general, Pitchfork has had incredible sound: everything has sounded crisp and beautifully engineered. But I quite definitely transcend during their set. The chemistry, the intensity, the way the instruments played against each other in a frenzy of feeling. I mosh, I pit, I throw my body against others with a manic energy that seems to overcome everyone in the crowd. The performance itself is one of a kind. Unfortunately, it’s cut short as a storm rushes in and we find ourselves running down Ashland Avenue as rain pours down. We seek shelter from the rain in Great Central Brewing Company, where a baby in overalls smiles at me so I have no complaints. Fortunately it passes quickly and we return to see Freddie Gibs absolutely kill it on stage. I leave to catch the end of Belle and Sebastian. They sound like a campier version of The Smiths. While their sound is tight and the crowd seems to love them, I sit in the back utterly unmoved. The day finishes off with The Isley Brothers, who present an explosive set to a jam-packed crowd. Overall, Day 2 of Pitchfork has my full support. Every set was incredibly tight and every band, even if I wasn’t a fan, was clearly talented and magnetic performers.
Highlight: Parquet Courts
Lowlight: Tirzah being cancelled
Photos by Chris Triunfo and Andrew Goldberg: