After a rain-delayed Saturday, the sun was back out shining bright on the final day of the Pitchfork Music Festival! No more hanging around Union Park with no music playing or standing outside the Cobra Lounge fence catching the tiniest glimpse of some live music through the gaps. Instead we got some of that loudness thanks to the amazing Soul Glo and an extra set was added to the day as Palm got the chance to play their last Chicago show at the Blue Stage.
Producer and DJ Chicago-based Ariel Zetina Kicked off the final day of Pitchfork on the Green Stage with a truly mesmerizing and jubilant set. Zetina showed off some complex hypnotic sounds. Her prominent house style flooded the festival with a feeling that felt so organic for Chicago. Ariel also brought more than a few guests; she had backup dancers and some friends to perform with her. It felt like a mini festival within her set. It was a colorful spectacle that only a lucky few were able to witness. There couldn’t have been a more ideal way to commence the last day of the festival on such a high note.
– Andrew Lagunas
Experimental pop duo Jockstrap played a highly anticipated and energetic set on the Red Stage on Sunday afternoon; which was the most perfect surprise Pitchfork Music Festival may have witnessed all weekend. With their quirky yet bold sound, Jockstrap took the crowd on a journey of sounds. Singer Georgia Ellery’s vocals beautifully crescendoed in and out throughout the drowning bass on “Jennifer B” that had all of my organs vibrating. The duo performed an extended remixed version of the song that has become an earworm for me. Jockstrap is just getting started and they successfully captivated many new fans’ attention at the festival.
– Andrew Lagunas
Much like The Armed last year, Soul Glo brought the noise to the Blue Stage with a massively entertaining set! Based out of Philadelphia, Soul Glo’s noisy wall of punk was a welcome highlight of the day as the crowd indulged into a little bit (by which i mean quite a a lot) of moshing as the quartet jammed out. Guitarist Ruben Polo’s intensity in particular fueled the crowd’s rowdiness while vocalist Pierce Jordan’s voice cut through the madness.
– Julian Ramirez
Taking the Blue Stage for a good old midafternoon indie rock set was Illuminati Hotties, fronted by Sarah Tudzin. The band immediately drew a huge crowd that were all there to let loose to some feel good punk-influenced jams. Tudzin beautifully pairs punk elements with an indie pop twist, which came to fruition on stage beautifully. Her passionate performance left the crowd in pure bliss.
– Andrew Lagunas
One of my more controversial music journalism opinions is that there are certain artists and performances that cannot adequately be reviewed or critiqued from the sidelines. Performances where the friction of the crowd is essential context to the experience, and proximity to the pit is a required credential. JPEGMAFIA is one of those artists. The “stand in the back with their arms crossed” crowd may have been heavily catered to this year (Big Thief, The Smile, Bon Iver as headliners), but Peggy proved that Pitchfork (or “Condé Nast Festival” as he appropriately called it) still has something for the kids. And this generation of kids, just like every generation before them, likes to jump around to loud music that would upset their parents. Despite my sore legs and, by this crowd’s standards, old age (26), I joined them near the front to attempt to once again view a festival through teenage eyes.
Fresh off the release of the delightfully bombastic and eccentrically experimental Scaring The Hoes, a collaborative album with fellow alt-rap provocateur Danny Brown, JPEGMAFIA delivered an invigorated and inspired performance. Highlights included Peggy running through the median barrier separating the crowd during “Hazard Duty Pay,” the circle pit during “Baby I’m Bleeding,” and a performance of extra-deep cut “Rainbow Six,” from his breakout 2018 album Veteran. There were some slight technical difficulties right as the set was gaining momentum; however that momentum was quickly gained back with the live Chicago debut of Scaring The Hoes hits like “Steppa Pig,” “Garbage Pail Kids,” and “Burfict!” The only real disappointment of the set was the lack of Danny Brown’s presence, which was heavily felt on the Scaring The Hoes tracks. While JPEGMAFIA performed Brown’s verses well, so much of the energy of those songs comes from the variation and interplay between the two emcees’ voices. That being said, neither JPEGMAFIA or Pitchfork ever hinted that Brown would be there, so this falls more in the category of personal disappointment based on unrealistic expectations rather than a legitimate critique of the performance. Either way, Peggy’s futuristic, boundary-breaking production absolutely shined in the festival environment, encouraging mass movement with its frenetic and aggressive energy. If the sharp synths don’t leave your ears ringing and the rumbling sub-bass doesn’t vibrate your entire body, then what’s the point?
– Aviv Hart
Headlining the Blue Stage this year was the inimitable Mdou Moctar. Having seen them last year at Thalia Hall, I knew just how special one of their shows are. North and West African sounds fill their songs while front-man Mahamadou Souleymane completely astounded with some deft Tuareg guitar shredding. Their shows are a nonstop jam that will have you dancing and clapping along to the groove. I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to close out the Blue Stage this year.
– Julian Ramirez