Pitchfork 2014 Preview

20140714-131126-47486954.jpgJust a week after returning from Toronto to cover the new Urban Roots Festival we’re gearing up for one of the biggest fests in the world, Pitchfork. I’ve never been to this festival, but the people I’ve talked to that have all gave it good marks. With the polar vortex once again sharing that cold Canadian weather with us, there’s no reason we shouldn’t have a blast. There are a ton of great artists playing this year-probably the best overall lineup I’ve seen since I started paying attention. Yes, Neutral Milk Hotel are playing Saturday night right after St. Vincent, but the party starts way before that.

The reason I got tickets for this year, in all honesty, is to see Beck. I haven’t seen him live and he doesn’t tour as much as he used to-at least not in the Midwest. So, for the price of one ticket to see Justin Timberlake I got a three-day pass. No arguments here. All three days are packed with awesome bands to see. Here are the ones I’m most excited about.

Obviously Beck on Friday, but he doesn’t play until 8:30! What to do until then? Well, Neneh Cherry is on the same stage as Beck, just four hours earlier at 4:35. Scoff if you must, but Cherry has come a long way since “Buffalo Stance” (though I admit I WILL be disappointed if she doesn’t play that). She’s far deeper into soul, jazz, and funk now, and her last album, The Cherry Thing, was really cool.

After that we get Sun Kill Moon, another in a great string of projects from Mark Kozelek. He’s a fantastic songwriter as you probably already know, and he plays Chicago quite a bit so I hope people don’t skip this performance because he’ll be back in Chicago anyway.

And just like that it’s time for Beck. I doubt I need to say anything here. His new album is great, easily in my top 5 so far this year. It is a slower record, though, so I hope he doesn’t play too much off of that one and opts for more Midnite Vultures-style jams.

Somehow that isn’t the whole festival and there are still two more days of music. Holy cow Saturday is a juggernaut of amazingness. It’s an early start, with Chicago’s own Twin Peaks going on at 1pm. I’m skipping that one in favor of seeing Circulatory System at 1:55. Another band I’ve listened to but never seen live. One of two Elephant 6 groups appearing on this day.

Then we’ve got Cloud Nothings, a band that’s been on the cusp of greatness for years. They haven’t broken through to the mainstream just yet, but they have a huge following and I expect a good crowd to show up for their 3:30 set.

I’ll probably have to cut Cloud Nothings short, though, because at 4:15 Pusha T goes on and I’m not missing this. Pusha T, as well as a couple other rappers on the P4k bill this year, have really set off a bit of a hip-hop renaissance for me. My Name Is My Name made my top 50 albums last year, and I have no doubts that his new record, King Push, will be even better.

We’ll move on from flows to bows for tUnE-yArDs set. I wasn’t a huge fan of her debut record, but Nikki Nack has me rethinking my views. I really dig the vibe of that one, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the live set she puts on, so color me excited for this one.

After a little food break, it’ll be time for St. Vincent and Neutral Milk Hotel to finish off the night. Nothing more to say here.

Sunday brings the most diverse group of bands to P4k, with Mutual Benefit and Perfect Pussy kicking things off early.

Those two bands are completely different from one another, but the dynamic shifts even more sharply with Schoolboy Q and Earl Sweatshirt playing opposite one another in the middle of the day.

There are slight overlaps on most of these sets, plus Dum Dum Girls going on in between all of them.

The headliner is the new prince of hip-hop (unless you ask anyone in Chicago, in which case it’s Chance) Kendrick Lamar. He’s done work with Pusha T AND Schoolboy Q, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some special guests during this set (and maybe Drake can stop in too-his tour with Lil Wayne doesn’t start til August).

And that’s it. Hopefully everything goes off without a hitch and no one else has to cancel like Death Grips.

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