FKA twigs at Pitchfork
Pitchfork 2016 Day Three

Weather threats loomed throughout most of the third and final day of the Pitchfork Music Festival, but somehow blue skies prevailed, adding to the perfection of the closing night of the Chicago-based event. Breathtaking performance art, throwback R&B sounds and a refreshing resurgence of jazz set the tone for a very sexy Sunday.

FKA twigs‘ headlining set was no doubt the highlight of the night. Presented as a dramatic, sexual, theatrical, musical extravaganza of epic proportions, the entire performance had fans’ eyes and ears glued to the Green Stage from start to finish. The artist, who was born Tahliah Debrett Barnett, brought a top-tier visual performance to Union Park with a set list of fan favorites including “Two Weeks,” “Video Girl” and “Pendulum” — the lattermost, which culminated with twigs serenading the crowd with her beautifully delicate vocals, bathed in an aura of red with white strobe lights striking down from overhead. Supported by statuesque male backup dancers and with her long, golden locks, twigs commanded the stage with the magnetism of an otherworldly Khaleesi.

In an era where artist mystique has all but disappeared, thanks to the oversharing nature of social media, the British songstress remains a beacon of art and wonder. Her set opener “Water Me” unveiled slowly and delicately captivating die-hard fans and those falling in love with twigs for the very first time. It was an absolute emotional highlight of the entire festival, vocally exquisite and without distraction.

Earlier in the day, the Blue Stage performance by songstress Empress Of included a nonstop set of upbeat tracks oftentimes juxtaposed with experimental synth sounds and her uncompromising trademark raw lyrical style. While opener “Water Water” had fans mildly bobbing and swaying, closer “How Do You Do It” turned much of the crowd into an all-out dance party. NAO also kept things fun – and funky – with her sweet, wide-ranging vocals impressing on tracks like “Fool to Love” and “Bad Blood.”

The day may have belonged to the ladies, but the men also delivered unbelievably entertaining performances throughout Union Park. Miguel had the type of energy and charisma that made fans feel completely comfortable to dance like no one was looking. His seductive set included his biggest hits, but the R&B superstar also took time out to acknowledge the ongoing epidemic of young black men tragically being shot and killed, encouraging fans to get out there and provoke change using more than a hashtag.

Kamasi Washington and his incredible band had fans engulfed in a wall of sound embellished with soaring, improvised solos. The band leader let his tenor sax do most of the talking for him, but his message of the power of bebop was received loud and clear. Washington wasn’t the only performer bringing back jazz, Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat took to the Blue Stage for an early evening set of funky jazz fusion on Sunday night, wowing audiences with his six string bass and extremely fast fingers.

Jeremih’s birthday set featured a ton of guest artists including a much buzzed-about appearance by his fellow Chicago compadre Chance the Rapper. Holy Ghost!, Homme and Neon Indian also played fantastic sets on the final day of the fest. Check out photos from Pitchfork day three above and make sure to relive day one and day two with our Rebellious recaps.

Laurie Fanelli is a Chicago-based writer and photographer who specializes in live entertainment coverage. She is at home at major music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and, of course, Lollapalooza and...

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