As usual, the Pitchfork Festival programmers have delivered a diverse and fun lineup for music fans to applaud and criticize. It’s certainly a different kind of festival this year-less rock, more pop. I think it will be a fun festival regardless. This is what I recommend you see.
If you’re gonna get to Union Park early in an effort to beat the crowds, you’ll probably end up seeing Car Seat Headrest. I would not personally recommend this, but it is a good idea if you don’t dig waiting in line. What I would recommend is getting there early enough to see Chicago’s own Whitney perform songs off their debut LP A Lighthouse On The Lake at 4:15 on the Blue Stage.
I don’t know how many fans of Whitney are also fans of Julia Holter, but the first conflict of the fest happens pretty quickly as her set starts 10 minutes after theirs. What I would advise is to watch Whitney for about 25 minutes, head over to the Green Stage to see the end of Julia Holter, and then get over to the Red Stage for another local band, Twin Peaks. They start at 530 and will provide a really weird setup for the next act.
Carly Rae Jepsen is playing the Green Stage, in a move that still boggles my mind. A lot of my friends enjoyed her last record, So Emotional, with all it’s 80’s-influenced dance pop. I really, really, really, really, really, really didn’t care for it, but at 6:25 on Friday I’ll be there to see how she does in a live setting.
An hour later some other Canadiens called Broken Social Scene will play the Red Stage. This is probably the highlight of day one for me, so I’m excited as I have not seen them perform in a long, long time.
Beach House closes the night, and while I’m sure most of the people will be there, I could go either way. I’ve never been a big fan, but I do acknowledge that Thank Your Lucky Stars is their best work so far. I would be interested in at least hearing some of that live.
My Saturday starts a bit earlier than Friday, as two acts are playing sets back to back that I really want to catch. Royal Headache take the Blue Stage at 2:45 and then right after I’ll have to skedaddle to make it to the Red Stage for Digable Planets at 3:20. That should cleanse my palate for the rest of the day.
Savages put out one of my favorite records so far this year, so I want to see them at 4:15 on the Green Stage. I’ve never seen them perform, but I always hear good things about their live show. Back on the Red Stage is another artist with a great album out this year, Blood Orange. Freetown Sound is a real laid back, vibe-y record. I don’t know what that means for his set, but I can’t wait to find out.
After Blood Orange, Brian Wilson brings Pet Sounds to the same stage. I just saw Wilson last month in Boston with the Boston Pops. It wasn’t great, as the Symphony Hall isn’t really equipped to handle rock music. I’m hoping the openness of the outdoors and losing the orchestra will make the sound better. Also, I’ll get to hear “Hang Onto Your Ego” again, which is great.
Capping off the night is Sufjan Stevens. I’ve always found his work a tad pretentious, but he’ll probably be wearing wings so at least I’ll get some good pictures. Plus, the crowd is gonna go bananas when he plays “Chicago.”
Don’t stay out too late Saturday night, because Porches are on the Red Stage at 1:45. I saw them earlier this year at Bottom Lounge, and they put on a good show. There’s time for a quick lunch break after them, and then back to Red for saxophonist Kamasi Washington will play tracks from The Epic-unfortunately he only gets 45 minutes so he may only do a couple songs.
Sunday was a little weaker than the other days, so I had to fill in some stuff that I think is ok, but if I were buying single tickets, I wouldn’t pay to see. At 4:15 Holy Ghost plays the main stage. They’re fine. At 5:15 The Hotelier plays over on the Blue Stage. Also fine.
Things pick up at 6:15 with Jeremiah on the Green Stage. This performance sets the mood for the rest of the evening. At 6:45 Thundercat hits the Blue Stage to jam some funky jams from The Beyond and maybe play some of the hits on which he’s collaborated with other artists.
7:25 brings us Miguel over on the Red Stage. I’m actually kind of keen to see what he does. I watched his performance at Made In America a couple years ago via the live stream, and he seems to have a pretty good stage presence. That leads right into the final performance of the festival, FKA Twigs. She’s another artist whom, overall, I don’t regard as highly as other people. However, I do think her most recent EP is her best work so far, so there’s a chance she’ll grow on me. Her style and dance moves would be enough to get me over to the Green Stage anyway.
And then get home safe.