As the middle of July approaches, so does Pitchfork Music Festival. Pitchfork is one of the best music festivals in Chicago, but also in the Midwest. The festival is coming up on its 12th year and hasn't lost any stamina since its 1st. Some notable acts through the years include Sonic Youth, Band of Horses, Aesop Rock, Yoko Ono, Public Enemy, Bon Iver, Dinosaur Jr, The Flaming Lips, the list goes on and on, and that was just from the first few years.
Pitchfork doesn't fit just one genre of music like some other festivals attune to. It brings in acts to Chicago's Union Park that come from different backgrounds, sounds, and parts of the Earth. 2017 won't be lacking in any comparison to previous years, it'll be just as weird, just as glorious, and just as musically phenominal as before.
We introduce you to some of our favorite acts, listed side by side with local C-U acts that will be featured at PYGMALION as a sort of counterpart. So if you only know locals but have decided to check out Pitchfork this year you'll be able to use this guide to quickly find artists that are sync with your style. Adversely, if you aren't familiar with local acts at PYGMALION but know the bigger names at Pitchfork, you'll know who to see here in C-U.
FRIDAY, July 14th
Vince Staples, Green Stage, 4:00 p.m.
Staples isn't the first act of the day, but he definitely should be the first act you HAVE to see. It might be weird seeing him in the middle of the day, but I guarantee the same effect will be there as when he performed at Pygmalion last year.
Staples has been on the rise for a while now. His performance at Pygmalion 2016 absolutely blew the place up. His personality compared with his unique lyric choices really set him apart from other modern rappers. Unlike other rappers, he doesn’t drink or smoke, investing all of his time into his artistic visions. Just watch this interview and you’ll understand what I’m saying. He also recently released Big Fish Theory on June 23rd, so you know he’ll have a load of new songs for Pitchfork and a boosted confidence to really give you your moneys worth at his performance.
C-U Counterpart: CJ Run
Thurston Moore Group, Red Stage, 5:00 p.m.
Still kicking myself for missing the Thurston Moore Group when they played at The Accord in March, very saddening. If you're coming directly from the Vince Staples show, you're in for a world of change, but who cares, the world should be about change, right? Plus it's Thurston Moore yuh dingus.
Ambient is definitely one word that will come to mind as you listen to their set. It’s easy to spot the influences that pullover from Sonic Youth, but they still create their own sound, comparatively a bit more laid back and spacey. If their are any dads and moms in the crowd, especially the cooler ones, I guarantee this will be a bonding moment with their kids.
C-U Counterpart: ZXO
Frankie Cosmos, Blue Stage, 5:15 p.m.
Cosmos is one busy performer, as the bassist for Porches, always performing under different aliases, she now has her own backing band. She's had a handul of releases in the last few years, and really started touring. Within the last year, she released an all cover album, covering a range of different songs.
She carries the indie rock/pop type of sound and stays close to members of Porches, Aaron Maine carried over as her drummer. Her music is very ambient and relaxing, with deep messages that enhance the ambience. She remains very DIY and very abstract. This definitely isn't a set you'll want to miss.
C-U Counterpart: Sleeping Okami
LCD Soundsystem, Green Stage, 8:10 p.m.
If you're a fan of electronic/groovey type music and a person with ears, then I'm sure you've heard of LCD Soundsystem. This will be their second year performing at Pitchfork. Soundsystem has been around since 2002 and has played all over the world, so you know they know how to give an amazing performance.
They recently released a few songs that should get you even more excited for their set, especially since they haven't released anything in quite sometime. Soundsystem is definitely the perfect way to end the first night of Pitchfork.
C-U Couterpart: Snayl
Saturday, July 15th
Mitski, Blue Stage, 4:00 p.m.
Mitski has been arouond since 2012 and comes from the New York area. She's got a very relaxing, well composed style of music that really sets her apart from other artists. Her latest release, Puberty 2, has gotten very high reviews and featured on Pitchfork's Best New Music.
She's been touring with The Pixies lately, you really have to respect that combination. She's another artist that's very familiar with artsy side and continues to produce quality work, her set will definitely be something to marvel at.
Angel Olsen, Green Stage, 6:15 p.m.
Another Indie Folk/Rock artists that really blends well with a lot of acts at this years festival. Olsen has an older sound, possibly to do with her interest in the 30's and 50's as she was a foster child and taken in by much older parents growing up in these time periods. Knowing this, you can really hear something that reminds you of an older time.
Olsen was featured in many top tens after her release, My Woman, in 2016, which also won a Libera Award for Album of The Year, beating out the albums of Bon Iver and Radiohead. One could say 2016 definitely earned her a spot at Pitchfork.
C-U Counterpart: Dewclaw
A Tribe Called Quest, Green Stage, 8:30 p.m.
The second headliner of the festival, Pitchfork couldn't have landed a better act. A Tribe Called Quest has been since 1985 and recently brought hip hop back out of the shadows. Just by listening to the lyrics of some of their most well-known songs, one can only imagine how powerful their set will be, especially after landing the number one album in America.
If you aren't at this set, honestly I'm not sure what you're even doing at Pitchfork.
C-U Counterpart: Trouble Chasin'
Sunday, July 16th
NE-HI, Green Stage, 2:30 p.m.
The Accord introduced me to NE-HI and I’ve been hooked ever since. They have such a fun playing style (like a modern Beach Boys) making their songs really catchy/dancey and are located close to home in Chicago. They pair really well with bands like The Kickback, White Reaper, Whitney, Pine Grove, and Twin Peaks. They definitely deserve their place at Pitchfork this year, look forward to hearing some new songs from their latest release Offers.
C-U Counterpart: Sunjacket
Ride, Red Stage, 5:15 p.m.
Coming fresh off their most recent release, Weather Diaries, being only about one month old come Pitchfork. Ride is a very chill band that's been around in some form since the late 80's. They have a very shoegazey/dream pop type of sound, it would almost make more sense to schedule Ride right before LCD Soundsystem, but they fit on Sunday just as well.
The British rock band has been called one of the greatest shoegaze bands to ever exist, so there's no question as to why the band is at Pitchfork. Let Ride be the transition you need to make it through the final day of Pitchfork.
C-U Counterpart: Motes
Pinegrove, Blue Stage, 5:15 p.m.
The momentum will definitely start to pick up as Pinegrove takes the stage. They've been grabbing the attention of many alternative/folk/emo fans with their unique sound. Every member of the band comes from the Montclair, New Jersey area, some members playing together since 6th grade.
After releasing their last two albums Elsewhere and Cardinal, they've seen loads of exposure. You can really hear the personality of the band as you listen throught their songs, they're very genuine and thankful for their opportunity, and one can only imagine that they'll be a very fun band to watch perform, giving you that nice, warm feeling inside.
C-U Counterpart: The Bashful Youngens
American Football, Blue Stage, 7:45 p.m.
Do I really need to say anything about American Football? Long-time emo veterans from our very own Urbana, I'm sure you've seen the famous house album artwork.
The band finally released their second album, not very different from that of the first, but talking about completely different issues in life that take place after growing up for 20 years. American Football has been touring since their release of American Football, even playing here on campus at Foellinger Auditorium.
The band couldn't be placed in a more perfect spot at this years Pitchfork lineup.
C-U Counterpart: Winder
Solange, Green Stage, 8:30 p.m.
Like Soul/R&B? Then you're definitely going to enjoy the last headliner of the festival, Solange. Solange is the younger sister of Beyonce Knowles-Carter, once you see her set you'll see how obvious that is, simply based off her looks and voice.
Don't let that fact overshadow her talent, she definitely sets herself apart from Beyonce. She's had many hits and been in the spotlight plenty of times, there's definitely a reason she's headlining the last day of Pitchfork.
Stay for her set, be immersed in the soul, enjoy every second of it. Probably the best way to let the festival end, in a very relaxing matter.
C-U Counterpart: Crofton Coleman & The Amber Sky