CHICAGO, Illinois — There are aspects of the Pitchfork Music Festival that concert-goers that make it different from all other summer festivals out there: reasonable ticket prices, provocative and experimental lineups and offbeat performances you won’t see anywhere else. Concertgoers have come to expect these features, but every year has its own unique appeal that keeps us coming back. Whether it was a cameo from Lady Gaga or breakout performances from up-and-coming bands, this year was no exception. Here’s what we got out of the Chicago festival this year.
We Got to See Chief Keef (and Lady Gaga?)
This festival is not known for cameos, so when hip-hop producer/dub-step artist AraabMuzik brought Chicago rapper Chief Keef onstage to perform the two closing songs of his set “I Don’t Like” and “Us,” the crowd was buzzing. Chief Keef was a welcome to addition to the roster of talented young rappers performing, only an hour before Kendrick Lamar had people chanting with him to his track “A.D.H.D.” Lamar drew a very large crowd from some people hoping to catch a glimpse of Lady Gaga, who was rumored to perform with him but no dice.
We Got to Hang Out With Cool Indie Chicks
Sleigh Bell singer Alexis Krauss was pretty much the coolest girl at Pitchfork, wearing a leather jacket in 90-plus-degree weather as she crowd surfed, all while singing in her familiar child-like vocals. If it’s Krauss you wanted to be your best friend/girlfriend/indie spirit guide, there was the equally hip and talented experimental artist Claire Boucher (a.k.a. Grimes) with her scantily clad backup dancers to check out. Also Wild Flag, was one of the few straight up classic four-piece rock and roll performances of the entire festival, who are essentially a supergroup of cool chicks fronted by Carrie Brownstein, one half of the comedy duo behind IFC’s “Portlandia.”
We Got to Listen to “Hands on the Wheel” A Lot
While rappers A$AP Rocky and Schoolboy Q were scheduled on different days, it was obvious that the performers would perform their extremely catchy collaboration “Hands on the Wheel.” Luckily, fans didn’t need to pick one performance to catch it. Friday afternoon, while the A$AP Mob bounced around in support onstage alongside Rocky (a déjà vu moment reminiscent of last year’s Odd Future performance on the same stage) the park broke out into a roaring cheer when they heard the familiar bass chords for the track. On Saturday, Schoolboy Q’s thunder wasn’t in the least bit stolen, in fact he teased the track his entire performance hyping the crowd up for when he finally delivered.
We Got Really Muddy
The rain over the weekend was a nice break from the Chicago heat but came with the downside of a whole lot of mud. The audience at Big K.R.I.T.’s electrifying show were sinking into the ground, and Hot Chip basically hosted a really messy dance party on Saturday night. But Friday night headliner Feist, however, managed to keep her white dress spot-free.
We Got a Lot of New Music to Check Out
Though the festival stacks the bill with fairly well-known headliners Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Feist, lesser-known performers brought wind of the “next big thing.” Most notable were performances by the young King Krule, who was met with an overwhelming female response, and Brooklyn band Dirty Projectors, whose new album Swing Lo Magellan dropped last week. Based on the buzz around the band and originality of their unique R&B- and chamber pop-inspired sound, it would be no surprise if they end up headlining the festival next year, following in the footsteps of this year’s headliner Vampire Weekend, who performed on a side stage in 2008.