P4K – Sunday’s High Notes

by Andrew Goldberg

P4K – Sunday’s High Notes

Although we’ll be providing a more thorough review post-festival, tune in at the end of every day for our P4k High Notes feature to get a rundown of what we’re loving at the festival!

Hear! Hear! (Our favorite sets of the day)

On Sunday, I was absolutely floored at the quality of each and every set. I knew that each artist would bring their A game, but something about this specific collection of artists made the third day of Pitchfork one of the most musically rewarding experiences in recent memory. If I had narrow it to one, I might be inclined to pick avant garde saxophonist Colin Stetson. After doing session work for the top of the indie crop (LCD, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver), Stetson has made a good name as a solo performer for his hypnotic and almost meditative approach to drone sax. As a wonderful free-jazz and experimental hybrid, his masterful use of frequency left me speechless at the set’s end. -Andrew

It’s almost shocking when a headline artist delivers a thought provoking set teeming with musical prowess and performing ability but Solange delivered these all in spades. It was refreshing to see a headliner who has clearly thought out their set in the most minute detail. It was no small feat that every movement on stage was choreographed by the artist and her selections for a wide berth of instrumentalists and vocalists were decadent. She is truly earning her name as a performance artist, playing with freedom and control in a blend of the visual and sonic. Her message and music was well received by a crowd collectively and effectively choosing to embrace our cultural evolution which Solange embodies so wonderfully. The weekend featured several other performers Solange has collaborated with and her music was the perfect choice to cap off a festival littered with cross influence and utilization of techniques across genre. -Kara

Dropping the Mic (The Day’s let downs)

Like I said, I wasn’t truly let down by any of the acts today, although I will say that I found Chicago-based Ne-Hi’s set to be a bit flat. Their combination of post punk and shimmering guitar lines sounds immaculate recorded, but the real mistake here was having them on the Green Stage, the largest of the three. Their sound isn’t meant to fill a hall; combined with the outside atmosphere, Ne-Hi would have been better suited in a scaled down setting. -Andrew

This is an especially difficult category for a day absolutely packed to the brim with considerable talent coupled with expert execution. I will take a cop out and say that I was mildly heartbroken to hear that the Avalanches were unable to perform. If you know me at all you know that I have a healthy dose of respect for any sample heavy artists so the cancellation hit home. I was pleasantly surprised when Jamila Woods was bumped up to the Green Stage due to their absence and delivered a set absolutely deserving of the slot. The Avalanches’ tradition of evading Pitchfork continues but on completely valid terms, with yesterday’s cancellation being due to an illness in Spankrock’s family. Nothing but well wishes going out to them. -Kara

Ear Candy (what a treat! our unexpected loves)

I admit to not being entirely sold on Solange. 2016 produced a lot of album I hold dear and believe to be on par or better than A Seat at the Table, but her live show is a spectacle that I wasn’t prepared for. The music, although emotionally intense and highly groove-infused, was not the main focus. Couple with this was Solange’s carefully structured choreography, which was at times both graceful and furiously grand. I found myself given all sides of the stages, all angles, and all depths equal attention, just waiting to see what was planned at the next downbeat. -Andrew

I was already pretty familiar with the other artists performing on Sunday but wasn’t particularly sure what to expect from Colin Stetson’s live set. I’m happy to report I was absolutely thrilled at what I did hear. I won’t bore you by echoing all of Andrew’s points so here’s my hot take – while I was incredibly sad to hear that Pinegrove would not be joined by keyboardist/vocalist Nandi Rose Plunkett at Pitchfork as she is touring as her solo project, Half Waif, with Saturday’s performer Mitski, I was thrilled at how the boys performed despite her absence. A lot of Pinegrove’s live set banks on gorgeously full arrangements, with a decent amount of the more complex harmonies provided by Plunkett. Though the absence could be detected by seasoned ears, I was ecstatic to see them pull off their set with the same level of excellence they usually bring. A happy (belated) birthday to drummer Zack Levine! – Kara

Foodie Fights (the best of food/drink for Friday)

At this point in the weekend, Kara and I weren’t really focusing on eating as much as we were enduring the final shoots despite minimal sleep. When we did refuel though, the Chicago staple of Billy Goat’s burgers were enough to keep up on the right track. –Andrew

P.S. dat bread doe… – Kara

*Bonus Crowd Eavesdropping*

“Solange is basically Beyonce for people who know about music.”

Pics of the most visually decadent sets!

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