Pitchfork Music Festival 2019: Day 2 in Review

Day two of Pitchfork Music Festival started with a similar sweltering heat wave like Friday’s uncomfortable atmosphere, but a sudden downpour and thunder strikes changed things up late in the day. Evacuations and muddy grounds be damned, the Pitchfork crowd were ready to take on all comers as long as they could see their favorite bands (Stereolab fans in particular were pretty loud about it).

Saturday had some incredible highlights throughout with the aforementioned Stereolab continuing their return to touring, local artists playing some fantastic sets, and iconic groups doing what they do best!

Be sure to check out our coverage of the rest of the weekend! Recaps of Day 1 are here and Day 3 are here !

Lala Lala
“I hope you stay really freaking hydrated. I myself am a hydration master. So don’t worry about me,” Lillie West of Chicago based Lala Lala told a sun soaked crowd as the second day of the festival commenced. West and a six piece band delivered a satisfying set of indie rock that slid from dreamy, harmony filled ballads to full bodied power pop anthems— complete with Clarence Clemons-esque sax breaks. On set closer “Destroyer,” (lead track on the band’s 2018 album The Lamb) Lala Lala gave a worthy sendoff, jamming through the slow burn rocker– the band also announced that their merch sales for the day would go to an organization helping people at the border find legal aid.– Matthew Nerber

Ric Wilson
Every Ric Wilson show I’ve been at has held an amazing party atmosphere and this early day set did not disappoint! Wilson has a natural charisma that is as infectious as it is energetic, even in the scorching heat. Jetting around the stage like a rocket, Wilson and his band were on fire throughout. Whether it was rapping along side Kweku Collins or making a Soul Train line in the middle of the crowd, this set was exactly what the Red Stage needed to kick off the day.
– Julian Ramirez

Cate Le Bon
My first exposure to Cate Le Bon was when she opened for Warpaint nearly five years ago and since then I’ve been hooked on her music. Since then she has released two albums that have really pushed her creative voice forward, resulting in a set that few could match this week. Every movement Le Bon made on stage was commanding and graceful, easily matching her deep etheral voice, stellar guitar work, and her backing band’s top notch performance.
– Julian Ramirez

The Evacuation & Kurt Vile
As word of the evacuation trickled over to the media tent, man began yelling in our general direction, telling us the storm was north of us and wouldn’t even hit us. As if by design, mere seconds after this tantrum the rain started to fall and everyone left the grounds seeking shelter.  Unfortunately, one of the casualties of this weekend’s weather was Kurt Vile’s set. It fell right in the middle of the evacuation and time restrictions meant it was cancelled entirely.
– Julian Ramirez

I made the slight miscalculation and drft a little far from the festival grounds during the evacuation and missed the first few moments of Stereolab’s set. However what I was able to catch of the the UK band first US festival outing (they played Thalia Hall the night before) since their return was mesmerizing. Stereolab’s sounds relies on the audience being entranced by their ever building rhythmic pop songs and were never in danger of losing the crowd’s attention. Lætitia Sadier handled most of the talking and led the group through a satisfying set.
– Julian Ramirez

Belle and Sebastian
“The rock and roll gods have smiled. The rain has come and washed the clouds away, and now it’s quite palatable,” Stuart Murdoch announced to the crowd, a few songs into Belle and Sebastian’s Saturday night set. The classic indie pop coolness of the Scottish born band was perfect relief from the heat and rain delays that plagued the festival’s earlier line-up. Performing the entirety of If You’re Feeling Sinister, the band displayed a generous excitement– it was a real joy watching them relish in the sturdiness of almost 25 year old songs. Murdoch’s voice sounded as whimsical and effortless as it does on record, his playful poetry was front and center on each number– some of the busier numbers, especially earlier in the set, were a little muddled instrument wise, with the bass controlling the sound, drowning those beautiful strings. But quieter songs, like the heartbreaking “Fox in the Snow” were rendered with exquisite finesse– and “Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying” and the record’s title track turned into rousing crowd sing-a-longs. Murdoch and co sped through the record so quickly that the band returned for a quick two song encore– dance anthem “Party Line” and The Life Pursuit‘s “The Blues Are Still Blue.”
– Matthew Nerber

Belle and Sebastian were my first concert, so I’m a little biased when I was this beautiful experience. I mouthed lyrics throughout and grooved my way through the more dancey tunes. Definitely a personal highlight of the festival.
– Julian Ramirez

The Isely Brothers
In the weeks leading up to the festival I heard a lot of criticism about the Isley Brother’s headlining spot at Pitchfork, essentially writing them off as a casino/Ravinia band. I would like to think that their performance proved most of these naysayers wrong. Believe it or not, it’s okay to have fun at a festival and the Isely Brothers definitely delivered on that front. After a few songs I almost remarked to a friend, “They’re really getting the hits out of the way huh?” before remembering that they’re all hits. “Fight the Power”, “That Lady”, “Between the Sheets”, and “Footsteps in the Dark” kicked off the 17 song set that featured a few lines of other famous tracks from friends of the Iselys throughout. Every song had the crowd dancing as they got a glimpse at the history of music that the Isely Brothers represent. As Ronald Isley reminisced about his glory days, doing dance moves he couldn’t fathom now, you could help but feel still feel honored and over joyed to see him Ernie Isley performing and commanding the middle day of Pitchfork now.
– Julian Ramirez

Julian Ramirez
Julian Ramirez