TVD Live: Pitchfork Music Festival, 7/20–7/22

DAY ONE: Friday, July 20 | The Pitchfork Music Festival kicked off around 1:00PM on Friday afternoon at Union Park in Chicago. The forecast held a looming threat of rain all weekend, which most festival goers seemed to come prepared for.

The rain started to pour as The Curls, the first act of the festival, took to the Green Stage. We continued to trek back and forth throughout the afternoon with the rain always seeming to conveniently start right as each act would begin their set.

Lucy Dacus began her set a little early stating, “If it starts raining again we’re leaving because we’re not about to get electrocuted,” kicking off with her catchy track “Addictions.” I was looking forward to catching her set, and even more excited when I noticed on bass was Philly’s own Dominic Angelella filling in.

Continuing the fest with a diverse collection on female artists, Julie Byrne was the first act to open up the Blue Stage. Beginning her set seated and solo, she won over the crowd easily with her soothing Laura Marling vibes. Soon after she was joined on stage with a violinist, synth player, and harpist.

Pitchfork took an upbeat transition soon after as more hip hop artists took over the line-up, which included Tierra Whack, the infectious smiles of Saba, and crowd favourite Syd. Closing out the night we took a turn down under with Courtney Barnett (who I caught for the fifth time and I’m still never disappointed) and Tame Impala to close out night one. Tame Impala themselves didn’t disappoint as they filled the air with their infectious psychedelic sounds and actual confetti.

COURTNEY BARNETT

JULIE BYRNE

LUCY DACUS

MELKBELLY

NATURAL INFORMATION SOCIETY

OPEN MIKE EAGLE

SABA

SYD

TAME IMPALA

THE CURLS

TIERRA WHACK

DAY TWO: Saturday, July 21 | Day two of Pitchfork proved to be quite a diverse day for music with only one surprise—a brief rain shower.

Paul Cherry kicked things off on the Green Stage, transitioning into a smooth R&B infused set from Berhana on the Red Stage next door. The best part of the day was the continuous back to back sets by some powerful female musicians. Starting with Zola Jesus and her dark electronic goth pop, to Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s unique set integrating her electronic arrangements into a colorful graphics display on the sides of the stage.

London’s lovely Nilüfer Yanya serenaded us as well, followed by Circuit Des Yeux to close out the female fronted projects. As the evening started to kick in, so did the R&B segment of the line-up. It’s hard to choose a favorite among the flawless and amazing sets from Moses Sumney, legend Raphael Saadiq, and Blood Orange.

The day finished strong with one of my personal Philly favorites, The War on Drugs. Needless to say the sound of “Red Eyes” (one of the best songs of all time) filling the air during sunset was one of the highlights of Pitchfork for me.

BERHANA

BLOOD ORANGE

CIRCUIT DES YEUX

KELELA

MOSES SUMNEY

NILUFER YANYA

RAPHAEL SAADIQ

WAR ON DRUGS

ZOLA JESUS

DAY THREE: Sunday, July 22 | The final day of Pitchfork took an interesting turn to start things off. We finally had a rain free day, although the ominous clouds didn’t subside most of the day.

Set times were delayed as Lauryn Hill’s soundcheck cut into when the festival gates opened and start times. The whispers continued throughout the day if she’d still show and if so, how late she might be. For the record, she did show up after a 25 minute DJ set beforehand, and it was legendary.

Equally as legendary was, of course, the stellar performance from the queen, Chaka Khan. Even at 65, and possibly the oldest artist playing Pitchfork, she gave a flawless performance of all our classic favorites, and looked amazing doing it.

Headliners aside, there were still some amazing acts competing for attention on the final day of the festival. One of which was Chicago native Kweku Collins, who topped my festival favs. There was also DRAM, whose smile might be one of the most wholesome things I’ve seen.

Overall, 2018’s Pitchfork Festival didn’t disappoint. It clearly exhibits one of the most diverse line-ups among US festivals given genres, ethnicities, and gender. And in a world where it’s hard enough for female artists to be represented, it was especially refreshing to see so many amazing female artists in the spotlight. Well done, Pitchfork.

ALEX G

CHAKA KAHN

DRAM

IRREVERSIBLE ENTANGLEMENTS

KWEKU COLLINS

MS. LAURYN HILL

NNAMDI OGBONNAYA

NONAME

RAVYN LENAE

SMINO

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