Pitchfork Music Festival Review: Cults, Youth Lagoon, Nicolas Jaar, Hot Chip, July 14, Chicago

How to describe Pitchfork? By far one of my favorite festivals in Chi-town, I’ve heard it described as ‘Lollapalooza for hipsters’ and ‘the poor man’s Lollapalooza’, but it’s more than just an off-shoot: Pitchfork has an ethos all its own. This year’s Pitchfork ethos can be summed up with the following phrases: mud pits, ribbon dancing and jammin’ in a poncho. It might have rained in Chicago on Saturday, but in Union Park Mother Nature was just giving the good Pitchfork attendees more props to use whilst dancing their feelings.

The first act that I caught was Cults on the green stage. When Halley saw Cults, she summed it up as “essentially a stage full of hair” which is not untrue. Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion both have beautiful brunette locks that take up more space onstage than you would think possible. They put on a decent show, playing “Go Outside” and “Abducted”, two of my favorites from them, but I thought they could’ve done more to get the crowd excited, and I ended up drifting over to the blue stage for Youth Lagoon when they came on about a half hour later.

I didn’t know most of the bands who were playing at Pitchfork on Saturday (the only reason I ended up going was because my friend won tickets – thanks Amber!), but I youtubed around for most of the bands, and I really took a fancy to Youth Lagoon. Trevor Powers (the man behind Youth Lagoon) has a nice, mellow mix of experimental/pop/electronic/twee/Americana. Man definitely sings straight through his nose, but while in some cases that can make a body want to punch someone in the face, in his case it fit perfectly with his sound. I approve Youth Lagoon – you may continue.

I stuck around at the blue stage for American/Chilean, organic/minimalist electronic artist Nicolas Jaar. I had looked him up beforehand and was intrigued, thinking I would at least stick around for a little bit, was further intrigued when he appeared onstage in a button-up shirt and a sweater in the 90 degree and humid as-all-get-out weather, and was determined to stay when a man with a saxophone walked onstage. Five minutes later I was questioning that decision as we were still listening to the “experimental noise” intro, but five minutes after that when the band dropped their beat I was totally sold. Although their set was only 25 minutes or so because of technical problems it was probably my favorite of the fest.

At this point I could say that I made my way over to the Red stage for Hot Chip but that would be a lie. At this point what I actually did was meander over to the vegan-gluten-free-dairy-free food vendors and consume kettle corn, lemonade, a vegan reuben (which the man next to me was nice enough to point out looked like it was constructed from glue and newspaper – thank you sir!), and dairy-free chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream – all of which was surprisingly (especially in the case of the last two) delicious.

I then made my way over to the Red Stage. While Jaar might have had my favorite set of the day, Hot Chip definitely had my favorite patrons. Hot Chip is one of those bands that I have in my itunes only because my college roommate transferred all of her artists from A to J into my computer. Honestly I don’t love their recorded work, but live they were lovely – catchy and altogether endearing, and the crowd really responded to that. Highlights included three guys tying together their ponchos and jump-roping to the beat as well as a 20 foot wide, 20 foot long, 1 foot deep mud pit containing a raging dance party. It’s not the most elegant way to sum it up, but really it was just an all around good time.

I decided to leave it there. Grimes and Godspeed You! Black Emperor finished off the night for others, but I wanted to end the night with that splendid image of mud, mustaches and manic-dance-parties before my bedtime hit and I got grumpy. So until next year Pitchfork!

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Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

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Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

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