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Pitchfork Festival Day 2 Recap

Jul 22, 2018

Day 2 of Pitchfork fest drew tens of thousands of indie fans to Union Park in Chicago with it’s eclectic lineup, which includes Fleet Foxes, Blood Orange, Kelela, and much more.

The first set of the day was from jazz-pop artist, Paul Cherry, who is local to Chicago and just put out a new album called Flavour. Earlier in the day we also saw sets from Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith and Zola Jesus, who we were lucky to have perform in Studio K during the spring.

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Moses Sumney performed a particularly noteworthy and ethereal set. He opened up with “Don’t Bother Calling”, a single from his latest record Aromanticism, and the crowd was immediately captivated. Moses Sumney’s vocal performance was euphonious. It’s no secret that his vocal lines, which typically are in his falsetto range, take an immense of talent to execute, and he did so flawlessly. Not only was Moses’s individual performance excellent, but the musicianship of his backing band was incredible as well.

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Girlpool performed next at the Blue Stage, which is particularly woodsy and sort of buried away from the rest of the festival. This environment and Girlpool’s youthful and exciting brand of indie-rock made for a very cozy set. The crowd was dense, and the overall environment of their set was almost sort of remnant to a basement DIY show in certain aspects. They performed tunes both new and old, but a majority of the songs were of course from their newest record Powerplant, which has been a Radio K favorite. 

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Raphael Saadiq began sitting with a soft opening song. As his set went on, he grew in stature and tempo and eventually was pacing excitably across the stage. His grooves from the Red Stage drew people from around the festival until his crowd swelled to nearly thrice the size it started at. As soon as his set ended, the crowd migrated across the field to the Green Stage for Blood Orange.

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Blood Orange was a very highly anticipated performance for us. Their last Freetown Sound was release back in 2016, and ever since, Blood Orange has not been keen to live performances. However, Dev Hynes, the brains behind the group, has now announced that he wants to start playing shows again. Pitchfork Fest is one of many shows that Blood Orange will be playing in the months to come, and I highly recommend catching a show at some point if you are able, although there is no Twin Cities date… yet.

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Kelela’s set was next, and it did not disappoint. She was joined by a DJ and two backing vocalists. Her vocals were incredibly smooth, as were the backing vocals. The performance included tight choreography, and at times the trio of singers gave me Destiny’s Child vibes, with Kelela being Beyonce, of course. Kelela’s performance was not only sonically wonderful, but also picture perfect. Perhaps this is because I was literally photographing the show, but it has to be mentioned that literally every second of the show was a Kodak moment. 

Fleet Foxes took the stage at 8:30 and graciously greeted their crowd of followers, many of whom have probably have been listening to the band since their debut EP in 2008. Their lush orchestration and crooning vocal melodies provided a comforting backdrop for attendees to take a seat on the grass or sway along to the music. Fleet Foxes have been a giant in indie folk since their beginning and their graceful headlining performance on Saturday night was a reflection of that success.

For more coverage, check out what our podcast guru, Nathan Fervoy, has to say about Day 2. 

Sylvia Jennings & Darby Ottoson