Rain drops weren’t the only thing making it misty during this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival which took over Union Park in Chicago on July 15-17. Many times throughout the three day event tears swelled in the eyes of fans – and appreciative artists – as The National and Mitski closed out the first two nights. When it came time for The Roots’ headlining set on Sunday, Questlove and company created a celebratory atmosphere that underlined the power of live music.
The Philadelphia crew kicked off their horn-heavy, guitar-laden show with a setlist full of original music and covers honoring funk, hip-hop, and R&B. After introducing themselves with “The Pros,” Black Thought led a trio of party starters in the form of “Jungle Boogie (Kool & the Gang),” “Got My Mind Made Up (2Pac),” and “You’re the One for Me (D-Train).” Later Chicago’s own Hannibal Buress – who on Saturday performed a DJ set in the Zelle Purple Parlor – made a surprise appearance to share his single “1-3 Pocket.”
On Saturday, Japanese Breakfast – another band with Philly roots – also welcomed a local artist to join them on stage.
“Jeff Tweedy is my favorite songwriter of all-time. It’s such an honor. Thank you so much for playing with us,” said Michelle Zauner introducing the Wilco musician after he stepped in on “Kokomo, IN.”
Tweedy stuck around to lead a sing-along of Wilco’s “Jesus, Etc.” before Japanese Breakfast unleashed a few more songs including “Posing for Cars” and “Diving Woman.” It was clear that for many this was the set of the weekend as fans clutched copies of Zauner’s book, Crying in H Mart, as they posted up on the rails.
Tweedy was one of many artists who participated in conversations hosted at the Backstage DashPass all weekend long to discuss his writing process and more. Aaron Dessner, of The National, also stopped by to share his thoughts on working with Taylor Swift, winning Grammy Awards, and writing music with his friends as did the Atomic Dog himself, George Clinton. The Parliament-Funkadelic legend, who launched a farewell tour in 2019, confessed that the pandemic reshaped his priorities and changed his plans.
“I ain’t trying to retire from shit,” Clinton said to a huge round of applause.
Friday was the day most impacted by the weather, but that didn’t stop the show. Typically in perpetual motion, a very grateful Tierra Whack noted that the rain made the Red Stage dangerous. Instead of running and jumping across the space, she made sure to get as close to fans as possible and even invited a member of the audience to join her on “Cable Guy.” Earlier, Monaleo, a late add to the lineup, was emotional on the Blue Stage – Monaleo’s DJ DJ D Baby tragically passed away earlier this month – expressing how fans’ enthusiasm was a bright spot in a very tough week. The set was a joyful release that gave fans an excuse to raise their middle fingers in the air and put smiles on their faces.
Elsewhere in the fest, Lucy Dacus summoned one of the most passionate crowds of the weekend and The Linda Lindas showed-off their Riot Grrrl bonafides with a raw and rockin’ cover of Bikini Kills’ “Rebel Girl.” Dawn Richard once again topped herself with an out of this world dance party while Chicago’s own Noname and KAINA both delivered incredible Sunday afternoon sets. On the third and final night, Cate Le Bon closed out the tree-filled Blue Stage with unmatched artistry.
Relive all of the fun from the 2022 edition of the Pitchfork Music Festival with Rebellious Magazine’s photo galleries from Friday, July 15, Saturday, July 16, and Sunday, July 17. Head over to Pitchforkmusicfestival.com for more information about the event.