**Quotes from artists contain explicit material, young children avert your eyes please**
As you walk westward towards Union Park the heavy bass of Pitchfork Music festival emanates down the city streets as a pinpoint compass, letting you know you’re heading in the right direction. When you finally get inside the wooded park – full of vendors, a market and music – the Sears Tower (okay the Willis Tower) can been seen poking out from the top of the Green Stage. This past weekend was Pitchfork’s 10th anniversary. Ten years of great music being played in a city known for music. Ten years of amazing performances.
What can really set performances apart is the banter that makes up the in between. What would otherwise be silence as they switch out guitars or re-tune is filled with interesting, funny, or insightful soundbites to their personality.
“Smoking is f*cking disgusting and is hard to stop once you start so be wise” –Mac DeMarco
Ever since Mac played at Culture Shock in 2014 WIUX has kept their music in it’s heart. While Mac was chain smoking in between his lo-fi set that included favourites like “Ode to Viceroy” and “Cooking Up Something Good” from the album 2 the above words of wisdom were dispersed by his band mates. His Friday afternoon spot was visible and audible by those camping out for the Friday night headliner, Wilco. So the hardcore Wilco fans might have been confused by the excited pronouncement from Mac that Thom Yorke of Radiohead, was going to be the headliner that evening. Whether Mac actually believed that or not is up to deliberation, but it gave a chunk of the audience a hoot.
“We are way to British for this sunshine sh*t” – CHVRCHES
While it was noticeably toasty during their Friday evening set, what really warmed things up was the friction from dancing that engulfed a large part of the audience. The adorable, enthusiastic and talented electropop vocalist Lauren Mayberry also imparted a similar warning as the DeMarco bandmates, calling Mac out for littering cigarettes all about the stage “Tons of f*cking cigarettes, that’s disgusting, it’s bad for you, it’s bad for you guys”. Their performance included a single from their upcoming album Every Open Eye which is set to be released in September.
“You’re beautiful when you’re wet” – Kurt Vile and the Violators
Kurt Vile and The Violators’ set was shortened to only three songs due to the torrential downpour on Saturday during the late afternoon, forcing Pitchfork to close down until the rain subsided, making Kurt’s comment both apt and hilarious. Despite playing for a short while, the music was spectacular, especially the beautiful live rendition of “Walking on a Pretty Day” from their album Walking on a Pretty Daze.
“Sometimes I have a quarrel with Pitchfork, sometimes I wish they gave us 0.5 more” – Future Islands
Since Pitchfork is notoriously picky in their album reviews, there are more than a handful of bands probably feeling exactly as Samuel Herring articulated. Whatever score Pitchfork gave the American synth-pop group, there was a good reason Future Islands were part of this year’s festivities.
“I like these trees, beautiful days, that’s it that’s my stage banter” – Bully
Blunt and a little meta lead vocalist Alicia Bognanno was stoked to be performing at Pitchfork saying “F*cking awesome holy sh*t this is so cool f*ck yeah”. But honestly everyone packed into the wooded grove of the Blue Stage to see them tear through tracks from their debut album Feels Like were just as stoked.
“Have you been to Australia? You can lie, I don’t care” – Courtney Barnett
Courtney shredded through her stream Sunday afternoon set, which was hot enough for this Australian to mention “This is the second time I’ve worn shorts on stage, I don’t know if you should feel lucky”. I will leave it up to someone else to decide if her clothing choice made us lucky, but the audience was lucky to hear Barnett jump through the highlights of her album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.
“I’m gonna take a sip of water….. Okay back to f*cking sh*t up” – Run the Jewels
The giddy mosh pits where everyone couldn’t help but end up drenched in sweat that wasn’t necessarily their own was a key ingredient to the vivacity of the audience. WIUX gave their album Run the Jewels 2 a rare 7/7 and their live show did it justice. While they didn’t perform anything from their kickstarter album Meow the Jewels, that was to be expected. Despite the aggressive tone in their music, both Killer Mike and El-P seem to be sweeties, just like their video giving advice to teenage girls in the “Ask a Grown Man” series could have predicted (If you haven’t seen the video they give great advice on love). They even reminded the audience to put on some sunscreen after declaring “One, congrats to the Blackhawks Two we gonna burn this city mother*cking down.”
“We don’t want nobody here who ain’t here” – Chance the Rapper and The Social Experiment
The show was the biggest visual spectacle of the weekend, with the intel lights programmed into intricate designs, home movies and cartoons projected on the back ground, and the Social Experiment highlighted on huge risers so that they could be seen far back in the audience. Chance also played songs from the group Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment including “Sunday Candy.” He kept referring to Chicago as “The Crib,” where everyone in the audience belonged, there was no need to be worried or pretend because everyone was home. He was positive, kind, and inviting. Having the audience become part of a symbiotic relationship that grew in energy.