On Friday, July 15, Union Park was the place to be in Chicago for day one of the Pitchfork Music Festival, as alternative legends, indie elite and rock stars on the cusp of superstardom converged on the Near West Side for the listening pleasure of all in attendance. Despite some afternoon drizzles, the evening emerged with blue skies and refreshing breezes that perfectly accompanied the cool soundtrack exuding from the speakers.
The night belonged to the dreamy duo known as Beach House, who closed out the Green Stage with a transformative set. From the moment Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally – backed by their touring band – struck their first chord, festival-goers were hypnotized with a rich tapestry of sound. Legrand’s vocals subtly bobbed and weaved in the waters of each composition delicately releasing waves of uninhibited emotion. Beautifully eerie tracks including “Levitation,” “10 Mile Stereo” and “Elegy to the Void” had fans mesmerized, lost in a collective day dream. Stage banter was kept to a minimum, but Legrand took time out to declare, “Peace to all of you,” at the top of the performance.
Earlier in the evening, festival-goers had no choice but to dance as pop princess turned indie-darling, Carly Rae Jepsen‘s, irresistible melodies drew fans to the Green Stage, a feat all the more impressive considering the high standards and discerning tastes of the alternative-loving crowd. “Anyone having ‘Boy Problems’?,” she asked midway through her set before breaking into the “Emotion” hit. Dev Hynes (AKA Blood Orange) joined the singer onstage to provide sultry guitar licks to the track, “All That,” which he wrote with Jepsen.
“Call Me Maybe” was dedicated to two little girls Jepsen met back stage, but the entire park was swept up in the infectious chorus. The single may have been considered a guilty pleasure when it was released back in 2012, but after a few short years it has evolved into guilt-free fun. At a festival like Pitchfork, pop can sound like a four-letter-word, but when done right, nothing creates unbridled happiness like a good hook.
The legendary Broken Social Scene – Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning and their ever-evolving lineup of Canadian musicians – are the perfect Pitchfork act. Bonafide legends in the alternative scene, BSS are the type of band that the love for which has the power to transform strangers in a crowd into musical soulmates out of the shared blissful experience of seeing them live. Kicking things off with the instrumental jam, “Pacific Theme,” which gradually evolved into an all-encompassing sonic experience, the Canadian rockers went on to deliver the must-see set of the day. After being introduced during “7/4 (Shoreline),” Stars musician Amy Millan – who has frequently toured with the group over the years – wowed with her powerful vocals. Drew encouraged U.S. voters to “do what’s right” in the upcoming election prior to breaking into “Fire Eye’d Boy” in honor of the political occasion.
Julia Holter – with her Lynchian compositions and haunting humor – and Chicago’s own Twin Peaks, who pulled in a massive afternoon crowd, also delivered stand-out sets, as did Whitney, Car Seat Headrest and Moses Sumney. Check out photos from day one of Pitchfork above and stay tuned to Rebellious Magazine for more coverage during the rest of the fest.