It’s that time again. There's very few duds this year at Pitchfork, and while it may look like I came to a lot of these decisions pretty easily, you won’t be wrong heading to the opposite stages of what I’m putting here. But if you need a push one way or the other, here are my choices. Sprinkled in are reminders of all the other great things the fest offers, from food and books to records and video games, as well as aftershow picks.
FRIDAY, JULY 13
|Willis Earl Beal (photo: Michael Boyd)|
Willis Earl Beal (4:15 / Blue): Another Chicago act to start off the fest, Beal likes to consider himself the black Tom Waits. If it’s anything like his show at the Hideout a few months ago, it’s sure to confuse some people that aren’t prepared.
Japandroids (6:15 / Blue): This Vancouver two-piece rock hard, as made apparent by this year’s Celebration Rock, an all-energy album that infuses Northwestern punk-pop with a hint of classic rock without the irony.
Food Break: Introduce your friends from out of town to the delights of Big Star, the Chicago Diner, or Black Dog Gelato. On a budget? The Whole Foods tent is always wallet-friendly and an easy choice to eat something remotely healthy this weekend.
Feist (8:30 / Green): Not exactly on the cutting edge, Feist is probably one of the most user-friendly performers to ever play at Pitchfork. That said, I’m super excited for a chance to hear older tracks like "Mushaboom" and new ones like "Undiscovered First" live.
Aftershow: Hannibal Burress at Lincoln Hall (10:30 PM / 18+ / $20 adv, $25 dos, $15 w/p4k bracelet)
Pitchfork’s eschewed their attempt at incorporating standup comedy to the festival, so at least they sponsor this show, featuring SNL/30 Rock writer Hannibal Burress. Get there early for local hiphop oddball Serengeti.
SATURDAY, JULY 14
Wild Flag (5:15 / Red): Carrie Brownstein can do it all. If you only know her from Portlandia, get Sleater Kinney’s (album), then check out Wild Flag’s eponymous debut from last year. All four of these ladies rock. Gonzo Chicago’s got the video to prove it.
Schoolboy Q (5:45 / Blue): LA rapper first caught my ear with "There He Go" which samples Menomena’s "Wet and Rusting." Habits & Contradictions is a solid album, and in a weekend full of hip-hop, this is definitely the performance not to miss.
Book Fort: Give your ears a break and head to the Featherproof Book Fort, featuring readings by Adam Levin (who’s Hot Pink I reviewed on Frontier Psychiatrist), Lindsay Hunter, Anne Elizabeth Moore, and Patrick Sommerville (full weekend lit-schedule here).
Grimes (8:40 / Blue): Indie it-girl will have some strong competish with the cinematic veterans on the other side of the park, but her darkwave soundscapes will be perfect for this time of night.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor (8:30 / Green): I’m anticipating Grimes set will end before GY!BE’s, so if you can’t commit to just one, try and at least catch the end of the epic post-rockers set before the park closes for the day.
Aftershow: the Coathangers, Heavy Cream, White Mystery at Cobra Lounge (9 PM / 21+ / FREE with RSVP here)
Ladies rule tonight at the Cobra Lounge. The Coathangers are fierce Atlanta garage rock; I had the pleasure of stumbling into Nashville’s Heavy Cream a few years ago; and White Mystery, well if you don’t know them by now then there’s really nothing I can do for you.
SUNDAY, JULY 15
Thee Oh Sees (2:50 / Blue): This was a tough one. I was heartbroken when I saw Ty Segall was playing opposite Thee Oh Sees. I’m sure both will be stellar sets, but I had to go with the California trouble makers on this one.
The Men (3:45 / Blue): Another high octane group, Brooklyn’s The Men might be the only band I know to incorporate country music and primal garage rock so fluidly into an album.
Arcade Time: Chicago’s been loving games recently apparently. Emporium, the arcade bar recently opened in Wicker Park, now Pitchfork offers the Soundplay Arcade, video games inspired by bands such as M83, Cut Copy, Matthew Dear and more.
King Krule (6:45 / Blue): Formerly known as Zoo Kid, the solo songwriter brings to mind a little bit of Christopher Owens, a little bit of Elvis Costello, with a few more jazzy notes in his repertoire.
The Field (7:30 / Blue): Weirdo Swedes make disorienting yet catchy electronic music. It’s not IDM, and it’s definitely not EDM, but it’s got a beat that appreciators of both those genres can get down to. Record Store: You still haven’t been to the CHIRP record fair yet?! If everything’s not entirely picked over, do yourself a favor and get there. I picked up an original pressing of London Calling for $5 a few years ago. Five freaking dollars. You never know what’re going to find.
Aftershow: Tanlines at Lincoln Hall (10 PM / 18+ / $14, $7 w/p4k bracelet)
Holy shit that was exhausting. Time to chill with some cool air conditioning and cooler tunes. Brooklyn’s Tanlines’ vaguely gothic sound will help you bring the energy down a bit and return you back into the real world. Locals California Wives open.
Looks like Blue Stage was a winner by far this year. I guess you’ll know where to find me. See you there.
(Follow me on Twitter (@isotherpeople) and Instagram (isotherpeople) where I’ll be attempting to cover the Fest live until reception goes to all hell as it normally does at big festivals)