TVD Live: Pitchfork Music Festival, 9/10

1:15 PM: Aaaaand Pitchfork Music Festival ’21 is officially underway! If there’s a festival worthy of early arrival, it’s Pitchfork. There is always at least one musical act that surprises you, and in this case, it’s the first set of the weekend. NYC Hip hop duo Armand Hammer (Elucid and Billy Woods, who requested no photos of his face) whip through tracks from their latest excellent release (produced by The Alchemist), this year’s Haram.

1:27 PM: There’s a new addition to the Pitchfork campus here at Union Park and it’s the DoorDash member area. Along with band interviews all weekend long, they’re serving seats, shade and—most importantly—free bites from some of Chicago’s best restaurants. Today, it’s Avec and Dove’s Luncheonette.

2:00 PM: Dogleg have my early vote for one of the best sets of the weekend. They’re pumped to be here and proving it with some impressive theatrics: cartwheels, somersaults, and headbanging of course. The crowd is coming alive.

2:15 PM: I could spend some serious money and the Flagstock Poster Fair, but then I’d have to carry the posters around with me for the rest of the day. It’s the only thing saving my bank account.

2:20 PM: The Chirp Record Fair is small but mighty this year and Pitchforkers are wasting no time to peruse the stacks.

2:47 PM: The crowd is filling in for Chicago’s own Dehd. The trio had one of my favorite albums of 2020, Flower of Devotion and it’s sounding just as great live.

3:06 PM: Where is DJ Nate?! So far he’s 21 minutes late for a 45-minute set.

3:43 PM: Singer Frances Quinlan’s voice shines during Hop Along’s set at the Red Stage. The sun soaked crowd is happily dancing along.

3:51 PM: Pitchfork is truly a festival that prides itself on showcasing Chicago. Aside from always including several local bands in the lineup, they even have local musicians working on the crew—many of whom have played Pitchfork in previous years. I spot Twin Peaks’ and Grapetooth’s Clay Frankel, Spencer and Sammy Tweedy, and Liam Kazar (who released his debut album this year).

4:08 PM: I’m not used to seeing people reading at festivals, but at Pitchfork I expect it. Right off the bat, I see several readers.

5:10 PM: black midi has stolen Friday. They arrived with their own props—a green velvet couch, a clothing rack filled with options, a copy of Miles Davis’ autobiography—and leave with everyone’s respect after a scintillating set. Their music is serious but their presence is playful, making for a perfect balance.

5:24 PM: Siblings Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger (and Oak Park natives) are back after a decade-long hiatus. The Fiery Furnaces don’t seem to have missed a step musically, and their stoicism helps to seduce the crowd.

6:30 PM: Some music is made for golden hour and Animal Collective’s is really working perfectly to set the mood right now.

7:43 PM: Big Thief is making people weep, quite literally. If you know their music, you know why.

8:05 PM: From where I’m sitting, Big Thief and Yaeji’s sound is overlapping and it sounds like a “Masterpiece” remix. Honestly, it’s good.

8:28 PM: Here come the shrieks in anticipation for Phoebe Bridgers.

8:47 PM: As she takes the stage, Phoebe Bridgers is stunned at the Great Lake of a crowd reaching for her. I watch her take the moment in through my lens. It’s been a phenomenal couple years for her, the release of her 2020 album Punisher to critical acclaim being one of the reasons. And now here she is: an indie darling headlining the country’s premiere indie music fest.

ARMAND HAMMER

DOGLEG

DEHD

HOP ALONG

BLACK MIDI

FIERY FURNACES

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE

BIG THIEF

PHOEBE BRIDGERS

PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL, 9/10/21

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