TVD Live: Pitchfork Music Festival 2014, Sunday, 7/20

Throughout the weekend, I felt like I put the highest expectations on Sunday of the Pitchfork Music Festival. Sunday’s line up certainly had its fair share of heavy hitters and there was pressure to impress.

Would Grimes be able to come back from her less than stellar 2012 set at the Blue stage? Would Kendrick Lamar close out this year’s festival on a high note? Would anyone even bother to see any other rock bands after Annie Clark’s epic guitar shredding and Neutral Milk Hotel’s giant all-park sing along? Who knows? Who cares?! It was still a really amazing day.

Schoolboy Q I saw because well, I was curious if Kendrick would come out. He didn’t, but the show was still awesome. Schoolboy came strutting out in a signature bucket hat. His DJ did a good job of hyping up the crowd before he came on, so that was cool too.

I did not have high expectations for Earl Sweatshirt. The kid is not totally well—he canceled a large number of shows slated for this year due to “exhaustion” so he could focus on releasing his next album. I’ve got to admit it though, he was a lot of fun to see.

If you were in the mood to get silly on Sunday then I really hope you also made it to see Earl. He was totally making fun of the whole crowd—getting everyone hyped at the beginning of the set by doing a sing-a-long to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” It was a little weird, but it was funny.

There were way more young kids all around me at this show than any other, all rapping right along to every track. Earl Sweatshirt has a lot of confidence and he’s only 19? Maybe 20 years old? Despite canceling all the other shows on his tour, he still threw down at the Metro on Saturday and showed up on Sunday at the park, so I was also glad to support someone who seemed like they really wanted to be there too. He played a song he says he only does at shows, “when it’s time.” I am not one of the young, hip kids anymore so if you were there and could let me know what that means—that’d be great.

A festival is a great way to see new bands you had never heard before or are only vaguely familiar with. But every single time Grimes comes to Chicago, I am THERE. Grimes’ 2012 Pitchfork set at the Blue stage was strange and disappointing, especially because all of the other times I’ve seen her have been really fantastic and dance-party central. However, she’s been doing really well ever since then. So what if she produced a track Rihanna supposedly didn’t want? Grimes is way better off keeping “Go” for herself, in my opinion. Plus, it only made me look forward to new music she’s coming out with later this year!

Anyway, I was hearing the funniest commentary from people around me like, “this is what it sounds like to make clones of people!” Grimes’ music is what I call, very “bleepy bloopy,” if that makes any sense at all. And I’m pretty sure when Boucher was dancing around more than she was handling her instruments, synthesizers, and drum machines—she was lip syncing. She’s had problems in the past with her voice and being sick so, I think she just had to do what she needed to do.

Claire Boucher (Grimes) always has some weird set up with dancers and you can tell that she does whatever she can to improve the experience. This year there was a large, dark, silvery tapestry type thing hanging behind her and her dancers were dressed in sports bras and sneakers like they were about to have a street dance off. Also, I took some really weird notes during this set but I think unaltered they best describe my stream of consciousness during the set and what I was seeing…

“She’s singing in some weird, Lord of the Rings language and there’s all these atmospheric sounds like you’re flying through space. And she’s doing these monster screams and then all of a sudden you’re just dancing around to something really insane sounding. I’m not sure I can describe it. Like a roller coaster going through a haunted house type thing…”

And this one… “I just realized that my dream is to be a Grimes ribbon dancer.” So there you have it. My new career aspiration…

KENDRICK LAMAR! He was good. No, he was GREAT. Though the set felt a little short (he did come on about 20 minutes late) it was still badass. He set consisted of mostly songs from good kid m.A.A.d city, save for a cover of Tupac’s “Hail Mary,” and wrapped up the night with “A.D.H.D.” from his 2011 release  Section.80. It was certainly a satisfying way to end a jam-packed weekend.








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