Surprises, Great Times and more from Pitchfork 2017

I had a great time at this year’s Pitchfork and if you weren’t there this year, here are a couple of great experiences that you missed:

Friday:

Vince Staples had a very minimalist set up as if it were a metaphor for his life outside of rap.  Staple’s flow was impeccable and he was able to rile the crowd up into a fervour with his hit “Norf Norf”.  The call and response that Staples had when he said “Norf side Long Beach”  “NORF SIDE LONG BEACH” was amazing.

There was a similar reaction to Danny Brown’s concert, where a surprising number of people were able to recite lines from each of his songs.  People within the crowd were so into the experience that they were imitating Brown’s distinct voice throughout the crowd.

Frankie Cosmos and Danny Brown, though vastly different artists, were both sporting their new extremely short haircuts. The main difference between the two concerts was the feeling of the concert.  Frankie Cosmos was able to mix rock tropes with her own style of sweet palatable vignettes that made the whole crowd sway together.

Here is one of the best experiences of this Pitchfork, LCD Soundsystem.  Waiting in the crowd, I felt a large sense of anticipation from the audience, where people either have been waiting a long time to see LCD or they knew what they were getting into because they have seen them many times before.  Otherwise, there was a hush throughout the crowd.

When the first guitar notes of “Yr City’s a Sucker” rang out there was a sense of awe of what was about to come, and when the wood blocks accompanied by the bass line joined, an all out dance party started.  Whether it was a hard rock song like “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” or “Movement” or softer sentimental songs like “New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down”, people were either moshing or swaying in awe respectively.  This was definitely one of the great highlights of my Pitchfork experience.

Saturday:

George Clinton was not what I expected.  Rather than playing the old standbys of his classical funk, he played a lot of hip-hop hits.  Clinton won over the crowd with their rendition of “Get Low” by Lil Jon, and the rest was just a jamming out rock show.

Angel Olsen has developed in a tremendous way throughout the years and her concert at Pitchfork was able to be the embodiment of all of her growth.  Olsen had a backing band that sounded more punk than indie-singer-songwriter.  She sauntered onto the stage and played most of her newest album My Woman.  Olsen was able to balance her newer rock oriented music with her previous softer music, which created a very intimate feeling rock show that was one of the most enjoyable of the weekend.

S U R V I V E, who is best known for the theme song for the hit show Stranger Things, was able to showcase their unique style of electronic music.  Their set was enchanting and was able to put the entire audience in a trance.  Everyone was dancing along to the deep sounds that are emblematic of S U R V I V E’s music.  Overall, this was a chill break from the craziness that would come next with A Tribe Called Quest.

A Tribe Called Quest was the coup de grace of Saturday’s events.  Tribe was able to combine their style of Conscious rap with the energy of the crowd very well.  They started off with a tribute to their fallen member Phife Dawg by saying that it was their first concert since he became deceased.  The concert was a very energetic with some touching moments of tribute to their fallen member.  At times, Phife Dawg’s  verses would play acapella throughout the sound system and ripple through the audience.  Even more emblematic of their loss came how the acapella verses were set up with a light shining on a microphone that was unaccompanied.  Overall, Tribe was able to channel their loss into a very energetic concert.

Sunday:

Joey Purp played on his Chicago roots during his show.  He was able to showcase how far he had come from being an up-and-comer from Chicago and he even was able to surprise the audience with a cameo appearance from Vic Mensa.

Due to a minor disappointment on Sunday (The Avalanches Cancelled last minute due to a family issue), I had some time to walk around in the market behind the festival.  In the market, there were posters of artists at the festival from past concerts that you may have missed, beautiful fan art of the artists themselves, T-Shirts and memorabilia for various artists, and Vinyl records of great albums from various record labels.  When I was walking around, I ended up buying three Vinyl records (Mac Demarco’s 2, Washed Out’s Paracosm, and Beach House’s Depression Cherry) and had a great time walking around the back with people who shared the same musical interests.

Nicolas Jaar was a strange concert experience.  At first, I was front row for this concert, but I had to move further back because of the solid wall of sound that blew me away.  Jaar appeared solo, surrounded by his array of instrumentation. Throughout the concert, Jaar was able to seamlessly blend the analogue with the digital and created a set that was not only sonically powerful but mesmerizing.

Solange was the last show of the festival and it did not disappoint.  Solange was able to connect her neo-soul style to a large group of audience members.  Not only was Solange great with her sonic style, but she also put on an avant-garde stage show.  All of the backup singers were dressed the same and were choreographed with stilted motions that would go along with the music itself.  The show was able to quell the more rowdy energy of the third day into a softer mood and had the entire crowd moving together in agreement.  Overall, the concert was a great cherry on top to what was a great Pitchfork.

This year of Pitchfork was amazing, it was a great experience, I will definitely not miss out for the next year.