Radio K at Pitchfork 2022 - Day 2Aug 01, 2022
Day 2 of Pitchfork started off on a much higher note than day one. We got to Union Park just in time to run into friends we had made on day one from UIC, as well as Rutgers. We had just a few minutes to prepare for our first shoot, and get some notes down for our interview, as 1 o’clock rolled around.
First up was Jeff Parker & the New Breed. We heard from a friend that Jeff Parker was someone we did not want to miss, and they were not lying. We could tell off the bat that he and his crew were tight - the first thing he did was introduce everyone, and their respective instruments. Jeff was on bass, and did a great job setting the tone for the rest of his crew. Their saxophonist or pianist would do a solo and the growing crowd would cheer, but at the root of the power house was Jeff.
Up next was CupcakKe. Even though CupcakKe was an early set, she brought the most energy out of any performance we saw that day. It seemed that just about everyone wanted to make it to CupcakKe’s set, and the show reflected that. The crowd sang along and moshed more intensely than anyone was expecting for a 1:45 show–and it was fantastic. The energy in this crowd was like no other: CupcakKe’s sexually explicit, occasionally humorous lyrics made the crowd instantly energetic and lighthearted. Seeing groups of friends dancing around, chanting every word to the songs, reminded me of what music festivals are truly about–sharing the joy of music.
We moved from CupcakKe to The Linda Lindas, an artist that we were both very excited to see. The Linda Lindas have recently garnered lots of attention for their young age, and quick rise to stardom. In one word, the Linda Lindas were punk. Their guitar riffs, vocals, and drummer all seemed to hit just the right notes, and clashed to form a lively set. Not to mention, they were great performers. The quartet would jump around, and rock back and forth with each other, always keeping an eye on how they all were doing. If there were any questions about their abilities given their age, their performance laid them to rest. The Linda Lindas owned Pitchfork today.
After the Linda Lindas, we had our first interview of the weekend, featuring Camp Cope. Full details of the interview should be coming in a separate post soon, but Camp Cope is an alt rock trio, hailing all the way from Australia. They had performed day one, and had a crazy set. We spoke with lead singer Georgia Maq, and Drummer Sarah Thompson. These guys were super cool, and we got to hear a little bit about what performing at Pitchfork is like, and what some of their dream collabs would look like. They even let us steal some of their sunscreen.
From our interview, we walked over to the Blue Stage to see Yeule, who put on one of the most artistic and beautiful performances of the weekend. Though the Blue Stage is the smallest of Pitchfork Festival’s three stages, Yeule made her presence known and completely owned the stage. The sounds of ambient, glitchy, Singaporean post-pop filled the area and enthralled the audience. Yeule’s sound is truly unique, and her use of tense, yet flowing choreography made the performance an absolute standout. Yeule was one of the most interesting and fun artists to photograph because of her composed and artful performance. This performance in particular gave me an even bigger appreciation for the Blue Stage, which was the smallest of Pitchfork’s three stages. We found that artists on these stages had more freedom with how experimental their performances could be, since the stage and viewing area were smaller and more intimate.
Lucy Dacus came on to a huge crowd. Everyone wanted to see her perform, and to many, this was their favorite set. I can’t count how many Lucy Dacus tee shirts we saw. There was immense hype around her set, and she didn’t let us down. Her dreamy pop ballads would put the crowds into a trance, only to be followed by more uptempo energetic songs. This ebb and flow was very entertaining. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of her performance however, was watching their guitar player jam on stage. Lucy had to maintain a relatively composed posture in order to perform her music. Their guitar player on the other hand, absolutely cut loose. He was constantly moving around, always a smile on his face as he kept up with Lucy.
In the middle of Lucy’s set came Karate. Wanting to get away from the mass crowd, Charlie figured he would split from Lucy and catch whoever was performing at the blue stage - which was Karate. Karate was a hidden gem for the day, and was a very fun set to see. They’re currently on tour for the first time since 2005, but you wouldn’t have known that seeing them perform. They didn’t allow photos from the pit, but finding space between the crowd, we were able to catch some fun shots of these guys. It felt like watching a couple of dad’s having a jam sesh only live at Pitchfork. It was the perfect performance for the moment, and we wouldn’t have wanted to see anything else.
The next act was Japanese Breakfast. Admittedly, I (Addy) was more familiar with lead singer Michelle Zauner’s written work, Crying in H-Mart, than I was with Japanese Breakfast’s music. Michelle’s book features somber, melancholy tones and observations about the grieving process, so I was expecting the same from her music, and was mentally prepared for a very “Sad Girl Saturday” set. I was pleasantly surprised when the set opened with light, indie-pop tunes. Seeing the joy in the band members’ faces, especially Michelle’s, made my heart swell with appreciation for the music, but also further appreciation for the brilliant duality of Michelle Zauner’s artistic projects. Near the end of their set, Japanese Breakfast brought on Chicago local and music legend Jeff Tweedy to perform the song “Jesus, Etc.” from Tweedy’s band Wilco. This performance is beyond words for me, because “Jesus, Etc.” is one of my favorite songs of all time, and reminds me happily of digging through my parents’ CD’s as a kid. Japanese Breakfast’s set brought more than pleasant surprises around every corner, and was such a memorable set.
At the tail end of Japanese Breakfast’s set, we decided to check out a band that was performing at the Blue Stage, because we had heard the name before and wanted to hear what they had to offer. This group, Low, did far from disappoint. Their post-punk, dark tracks made for a moody atmosphere, contrasting from the bright alt-pop music that we had just heard. After looking up the band, it turns out that Low is from Duluth, MN, which would explain why we connected so well to their familiar moodiness–fellow Minnesotans! Low’s music was gothic and at times slow, but never boring or unexciting. Though Low has been putting out music for over 20 years, their experience in the music scene only made their performance more memorable. Simply put–Low knows how to rock!
To close out the night, we saw our headliner Mitski. Photography surrounding Mitski was up in the air - we had heard conflicting things throughout the day over where we could shoot and even if we could shoot at all - so when the time came where we lined up in the pit, it couldn’t help but feel like we were doing something truly special. Simply put, I have never seen a performer like Mitski, and probably never will again. Her movement on stage was breathtaking. Every move she made was calculated - it looked as if she had become possessed by a ventriloquist. As she twirled across the stage, to “I bet on losing dogs” the crowd erupted. In truly a Mitski fashion however, after every so many songs, she would, as she put it, “break character” and speak to the audience or mention how special this moment was for her. She even offered up some life advice about living in the moment. And just as if it never happened, she would dive right back into her controlled movements. It really was one of the coolest things to shoot, and we’re very thankful we got to see her perform.
That’s a wrap on day 2. All in all it was a really fantastic day, filled with great music, and good friends. We are so excited for day 3, but also a little melancholy over the fact that we only have one more day left.