Pitchfork Festival Day 3 RecapJul 23, 2018
The final day of Pitchfork Music Festival opened with bang. That bang was Nnamdi Ogbannya’s set, which was full of energy and surprises from the emerging multi-instrumentalist and rapper. His set spanned genres, dabbling in a little bit of a lot of things. He also played with a larger band than usual, including two back up singers and a trombone, looking to "go all out" for Pitchfork. The result was a robust ensemble that happily surprised even the most die hard Nnamdi fans.
After Chicago-based Nnamdi, was rapper Kweku Collins who technically hails from the Chicago suburb of Evanston. “I see a bunch of people I went to high school with out there!” he said halfway through his set. At just 21 years old, Kweku Collins proved himself to fans and first-time listeners as an impressive force in Chicago’s DIY scene. The songs heavily played around the theme of overwhelming emotions felt in one’s younger years.
Mid-afternoon we heard from Ravyn Lenae, who made herself known as one of the most glamourus performers of the weekend with a shimmering outfit complemented by bright, playful vocals. At one point, she made the audience pinky promise to move their bodies, and most happily obliged. She mixed in older material, alongside songs from her latest project made with Steve Lacy, Crush - EP.
We also heard from dreamy indie pop artist, Japanese Breakfast. Hopping around and using speakers as stepping stones to dance above the crowd during her performance, Michelle Zauner created a shimmery feel-good atmosphere despite her often deeply introspective and melancholy lyrics.
When Japanese Breakfast finished serenading the crowd at the Blue Stage, (Sandy) Alex G followed up with an impressive performance. This was his first time playing the festival, and everyone in the crowd seemed excited to see the prolific musician. (Sandy) Alex G has captured the hearts of many with his most recent record, Rocket, but he has been making music since 2011 and has a devoted following among people who listen to crazy sounding bedroom rock music on Bandcamp. Some highlights: he didn't shy away from his more vulnerable/emotional tunes like "Brick", Michelle of Japanese Breakfast sang "Brite Boy" with Alex, everytime the drummer reached up to smash his raised crash cymbal, and finally, the mosh pit of other sweaty emotional fans. (Sandy) Alex G's performance was fun, brooding, and just a little bit twisted.
After a set from the legendary Chaka Khan, the night ended with a moving and unforgettable performance of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The album turned 20 this year and Ms. Lauryn Hill’s performance was timeless. Audience members of all ages were swaying and singing along to every track, each of which evoked a new wave of emotion from the crowd. In the last 20 years since the album was released, it has established itself as a classic and influential piece of music, blending genres and showcasing Ms. Lauryn Hill's exceptional voice.
The festival, despite its near constant rainy cover, maintained a cheery and peaceful atmosphere throughout the weeend. With a diverse and impressive lineup, Pitchfork truly curated something good.
Written by Darby Ottoson & Andy Schoonover
Photos by Darby Ottoson
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