K.Flay Piqniq 2017

In the perpetually male-dominated world of rock and roll, it seems that women are often relegated to the land of pop, no matter what genre dominates their sound. With two hip-hop infused, alternative albums under her belt, Kristine Flaherty, AKA K.Flay, is breaking through all barriers and charting new territory to redefine what it means to be a rock superstar.

On Saturday, May 20, K.Flay stepped on to the Saint Xavier University Stage at WKQX Piqniq – which was held at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park – and got right down to the business of performing for a hometown crowd. She delivered her “Every Where Is Some Where” hit “Hollywood Forever” early in her set. Stormy weather – which was predicted in the forecast – was no match for her “Black Wave” as the sun peaked through the clouds and shined down on the ensuing mosh pit. “It can get a little wild on this one,” K.Flay said before launching into the gnarly synth sounds at the top of the track.

Throughout Piqniq, WKQX’s on-air personalities, including Marconi, Kevin and everyone’s favorite Lockout lady, Lauren O’Neil (below), made announcements, thanked sponsors and encouraged fans not to drink and drive. K.Flay shared a similar sober sentiment before breaking into “High Enough,” saying, “Sometimes it’s fun to have a beer and sometimes you don’t even need it. This song is about those times.” Elsewhere in her early afternoon set, she dedicated “Can’t Sleep” to her mom before closing things out with her addictive, industrial, 2016 mega-hit, “Blood in the Cut.”

K.Flay’s sound is almost undefinable as she wields her perfectly-raspy flow into an all-encompassing swirl of rock complete with noisy guitars and heavy-hitting drums. Along with the occasional mosh pit, one of the side effects of her soul-penetrative songs is the sudden need to find a sturdy pair of shoulders to lift you up further into the infectious atmosphere. As her set went on, more and more fans popped up over the crowd to better connect with the rising star that is K.Flay.

Earlier in the event, Lucky Boys Confusion, Warpaint and Joywave set the scene for a fantastic day of music on the SXU Stage, which was headlined by Sum 41 in the early evening. The Main Stage featured Highly Suspect, Stabbing Westward, Jimmy Eat World and Bleachers – who inspired an impromptu flash mob dance party in the lawn – before The 1975 thrilled fans who had been waiting for hours and hours at the rails for Matty Healy and company to headline Piqniq 2017.

K.Flay has plans to tour throughout the summer and she will be back here in Chicago on Oct. 18 opening up for Imagine Dragons and Grouplove at the United Center. Visit Kflay.com for the latest news and to pick-up tickets to see her live.

Laurie Fanelli

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...