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June 2022

Radio K at Pitchfork 2022 - Day 3

Aug 02, 2022

Day 3 of Pitchfork - the last day. A somewhat somber mood hung in the room of our Motel 6, as we knew today was going to be our last. However, we also knew today was also one of our most exciting as we had two interviews, and arguably our most anticipated line up.

To start, we had an interview with Magdalena Bay at 12:30. They were super friendly, and we talked about everything from their go-to tea preferences to their performance the day before, and antics on stage. Magdalena Bay were super personable, and very inspiring to hear about their artistry.

After our interview, Charlie ran over to shoot Pink Siifu, one of his most anticipated acts of the day. Pink Siifu was unbelievable. Him and his crew (who were quite expanse) did a great job of preparing everyone for the final day of Pitchfork. His jazz infused rap set a perfect tone - he walked a fine line, striking a great balance of energy for the first act of the day. One of the best moments was when he jumped into the pit and waltzed down the aisle, not 1 foot from us. We caught the gentlemen we met at brunch after his set, and they were blown away by his performance.

From Pink Siifu, we began to work on offloading photos from our camera, while also catching L’Rain on the red stage. L’Rain had one of the most unique performances of the day. She would start off with these somewhat slow ballads, entrancing the crowd. As tempo would build, she would add in more instruments, and take these simple riffs, and give them a new life. Finally, her songs would climax with screeching into the mic, and chaotic feedback driven sounds. It reminded me of something like Pharoah Sanders Astral Traveling, into Red Black & Green. During the majority of her performance, L’Rain hardly said anything, but towards the end, she addressed the crowd in a very innocent manner. It caught me off guard, as it was such a contrast from the music they were performing, but it made me appreciate the range of their performance just that much more.

After L’Rain, we ran into an SD card issue, and had to make an emergency trip to Target. (Side note: 16 gigabytes of photos is a lot. 16 gigabytes of photos in just over two days is MORE than

a lot.) As riveting as this trip was, we will spare you the details, but unfortunately we did miss KAINA’s set.

When we got back, we caught part of Sofia Kourtesis DJ Set. This was very fun to observe. She brought a stellar performance in her electric, latin infused mix. Her background being based in Berlin, mixed with her latin infused beats allowed for a unique sound that Pitchfork was missing up until this point. The crowd was eating her set up as well. The blue stage allowed for a much more intimate experience between both the crowd and the artist, and it was made clear during her performance. Her eccentric movements on stage peaked the crowd's interest, and soon enough a sizable mosh pit had opened up. Despite her being on stage, her energy she brought and quirky movements made her seem as enthusiastic to be there as a crowd member - she even dumped an entire bottle of water on her head. An unexpected treasure of the day for sure, if you ever have the chance to catch one of her sets, you do not want to miss out.

After the excitement of Sofia Kourtesis’ set, it was time for Injury Reserve, an artist that I (Addy) had been anticipating all weekend. Even though I only recently started listening to them, Injury Reserve is an artist that I listen to a lot. Their set started with a smoky stage, and a nearly five-minute build up of members Ritchie With A T and Parker Corey pacing around stage to an electronic drone, priming the audience and teasing an epic set. At one point, Ritchie sat on a speaker on the edge of the stage and said to the photographers in the pit, and whoever in the front row could hear, “this is gonna be a good show.” That intimate moment with a small portion of the audience made me more amped for the performance, because as a photographer, I appreciate the showmanship and details that artists put into their sets. As Ritchie started rapping and Parker continued to warp harsh sounds into beautiful melodies, the crowd went wild. The energy of this performance was definitely somewhat somber as they played songs from their most recent album, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, which deals a lot with grief from one of their bandmates passing away, however Injury reserve also threw some fun into their performance, and really put their all into their music. Ending their set with the song “Jailbreak the Tesla,” an older song of theirs, was the perfect choice. The crowd went wild, even at one point crowd surfing a trash can.

After the excitement of Injury Reserve, we had a chance to interview Ray Angry, the keyboardist for the Roots, which was also incredibly exciting. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to him, and he gave us some really fun answers. He even gave some shoutouts to Prince, and Purple Rain. Our conversation ranged from what his ideal post concert meal looked like to his favorite artists to work with.

Our interview ended just in time to catch Chicago local, Noname. Noname’s set was an ethereal celebration of joy and music. Similar to Pink Siifu, Noname brought out a few collaborators, and had fun with them onstage making music. She was so sweet to the audience, and stopped her performance several times because of medical emergencies in the crowd and made sure everyone was ok. The atmosphere that Noname created was a true community, and represented the best of Chicago.

After Noname, we caught Earl Sweatshirt. Charlie had seen Earl a few years prior, and it was his favorite concert he’s been to. Shooting pictures of him was an absolute dream come true. As great as the pictures were, his performance did not disappoint either. Seeing him years prior, he was at a much smaller venue, was very interactive with the crowd, and gave a powerful performance. Now, seeing him at a major festival, on the biggest stage, I was worried if the same would hold true. I’m pleased to say that he was no different than before. He interacted with the crowd quite a bit, and would crack jokes at them. His performance mostly consisted of newer material, which was a pleasant surprise. He very much did what he wanted to do, and that is exactly how it should be. It was a rewarding show for fans of his work. Unfortunately, the crowd didn’t necessarily reciprocate the same energy. Earl consistently would remark to his DJ, Black Noi$e that the crowd wouldn’t know certain songs, and would drop the ball during certain call and response routines. Despite all this though, Earl’s performance never faltered, and it was a standout performance for those who were excited to see him.

Toro Y Moi were after Earl, and was exactly what we needed to begin our closure of our weekend at Pitchfork. This was an incredibly groovy set, and just as they brought the groove, we were blessed with a break in the clouds and some sunny skies. As great of a job as they did performing, the real treasure was watching the crowd. The grooviness, mixed with the sunshine reinvigorated the crowd, and there was a widespread feeling of joy. People all over were dancing, and it seemed to reach the outer limits of Union Park. It was infectious. Some of our best memories of Sunday were walking around watching people sway back and forth, hand in hand with one another as Toro Y Moi performed “Ordinary Pleasure”. We got some great crowd footage during this time, and as their set drew to a close, I was wondering how on Earth we could close Pitchfork in a better way than their set.

But then came The Roots. As they exploded on stage, I instantly realized why they were the last act of the weekend. The Roots were a perfect way to end the weekend. Their energy united the crowd and instantly took away any ounce of fatigue from the intense and exhausting past few days. They took over the stage, with the entire crowd jamming in their own special way, expressing themselves and appreciating the music. The Roots gave a performance that was like no other–combining classic improvisation techniques with modern hip-hop sounds that create the Roots’ unique and truly timeless sound. Photographing them was also a delightful experience, I couldn’t help but jam along with them even as I was in the photo pit. Simply put, The Roots are just plain fun. Seeing Ray Angry jamming out on his keyboard was an extra special moment, knowing that we had interviewed him just hours earlier and now we got to see him in his element, making music, performing. The entire performance put a smile on my face and made me briefly forget my sadness about it being the last day of Pitchfork. Charlie and I ended up being in different sections of the audience but we both noted how expressive and friendly the crowd was. The whole performance felt like one song, but it didn’t feel repetitive or long, it just felt like we were being taken on a fun journey, like The Roots were showing the crowd all that they had, and having fun onstage while we were dancing with them.