Another day, another unforgettable live music experience – the second day of the Pitchfork Music Festival featured pitch perfect weather and flawless performances from stage to stage. While day one of the Chicago-based celebration of music was decidedly dreamy, day two featured a variety of acts treating fans to everything from old-school hip-hop to modern noise rock to the utterly undefinable.
Savages stole the show on Saturday afternoon, kicking-off their Green Stage performance with their ferocious “Adore Life” track, “I Need Something New.” Lead singer Jehnny Beth used every inch of the stage to connect with fans. With the energy and beauty of a wild horse that refuses to be tamed, she was somehow able to plug into each and every member of the audience while making it feel like she was singing just for you.
Earlier in the day, another talented woman, Jenny Hval, kept fans on the edge with an artful set comprised of beautiful nightmares. There were wigs, masks, capes, costumes and giant inflatables on display during what proved to be a wholly unique interpretive musical experience like no other. Backed by her DJ/synthmaster and two highly-integrated dancers, Hval patiently performed a number of tracks including “Female Vampire” from her new album “Blood Bitch,” which comes out this September.
The recently-reunited hip hop trio Digable Planets took the Main Stage a little after 3 p.m. on Saturday, their iconic beats and wisdom-filled flow provided the cool vibes needed by fans roasting in the summer sun. The Brooklyn-based group, made up of Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler, Mary Ann “Ladybug Mecca” Vieira and Craig “Doodlebug” Irving, delivered a handful of chill tracks, including tight renditions of “Pacifics (Sdtrk ‘N.Y. Is Red Hot’)” and “It’s Good to be Here,” trading verses over the mellow jazzy rhythms of a full backing band. Butler spent a good deal of the set posted up behind a sampler, while Irving roamed more freely about the stage, breaking from song to routinely address the crowd about the state of the world.
“We’ve gotta stop gun violence and respect all cultures,” he said. Vieira commanded the audience with a cool and casual confidence that helped kick things into high gear during the group’s highly-anticipated closing number, “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat).”
For his 2015 album “Carrie & Lowell,” Sufjan Stevens drew from personal tragedy to create a musical and emotional masterpiece. One year later, he has transformed his live show from a stripped down, tear-inducing set to an epic celebration of life and song. His Saturday night, festival-closing performance – which included balloon art, a smashed banjo, and larger than life renditions of Stevens’ contemplative hits – was nothing short of joyful.
Donning hyper-colored pants and a pair of massive feathered wings, Stevens led his backing band through a crowd-pleasing version of “Seven Swans” at the start of the show. After sharing that he’d been touring the world playing songs about loneliness and death, the singer-songwriter promised to keep things upbeat – and he kept his word. He showed his love for The Windy City with rousing renditions of “Come On! Feel The Illinoise!” and “Chicago.” “Fourth of July” and “All Of Me Wants All of You” also proved to be crowd pleasers. Most pleasantly surprising was his final song choice, an extra fun and funky cover of the late, great Prince’s “Kiss,” led by fellow Pitchfork performer, Moses Sumney.
Elsewhere in Union Park, Brian Wilson played The Beach Boys’ seminal album “Pet Sounds” from cover to cover on the Red Stage – a set which included a special appearance by John and Joan Cusack – while BJ the Chicago Kid and ANDERSON.Paak kept fans moving at the Blue Stage. Carly Rae Jepsen made a special appearance during Blood Orange’s dance party of an afternoon show, and Super Furry Animals gave indie fans everything they could have asked for and more.
Day two of Pitchfork was exactly what you hope a music festival to be, a wide-ranging collection of great music performed by consummate artists from the past, present and future. Check out photos from Saturday above and keep it here at Rebellious Magazine for more coverage.