Pitchfork 2023 Day 1 Recap

In my pre-Pitchfork post I talked about the joys of not showing up too early. Now that it’s over, I would like to say that leaving early is also really great. Fortunately the undercard provided a lot of great entertainment, especially Sunday.

I ended up getting to the fest a little earlier than I had hoped, because I wanted to catch Sen Morimoto who I haven’t seen in ages. His set was cool-plenty of energy to get the crowd moving at 2:30 in the afternoon. He worked in some new stuff, covered Cher, and showed a deep-felt appreciation for everyone that came out for his set.

There was a big block of time where I could wander around after Sen. I hit up the Doordash Backstage thing to see Michael Hadreas talk about making Perfume Genius records and then Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead/The Smile/PT Anderson pictures talk about composing and instruments and all the nerdy technical stuff he’s into. Both interviews were fun and informative.

The first big surprise for me was Nation Of Language‘s set. I had only heard a few songs, and from my pov, they sound better live. It’s synth pop with dark undertones that I liken to Interpol with some Gary Numan and Cocteau Twins vibes. They’ve been around since 2016, but somehow flew under my radar.

Perfume Genius putting on a great set was definitely not a surprise. I’ve seen them a handful of times and it’s always a great experience. I wasn’t a huge fan of Ugly Season, but everything else has been varying degrees of fantastic.

I had to dip out of Perfume Genius for a little bit to go see Chicago’s own Ric Wilson play the Blue Stage. He’s a great performer who uses the stage to broadcast good vibes out into the world. Brought a great backing band with him and just let loose. If you haven’t had a chance to catch him live, do so as soon as possible.

In 2022, Alvvays put out Blue Rev, considered by many, myself included, one of the best albums of the year. They closed out the Red Stage on Friday evening with a brilliant sunset performance that got everyone in the mood for the closer.

The Smile headlined Friday night, and they sounded really tight. I’m not the biggest fan of Radiohead or their newest offshoot, but it was interesting to listen to and they put everything they’ve got into their performance. Despite being rejected from the photo pit for this one, I was able to get fairly close and enjoy.