The second day of Pitchfork Music Festival started off like the previous, hot and filled with entertaining acts. Hours later, as rain clouds grew, thunder boomed and lightning struck, Saturday proved to be anything but similar to Friday. The festival was evacuated for about forty minutes and rapper Vince Staples’ set was cancelled, due to his flight from Detroit being cancelled because of the inclement weather, but that didn’t stop the excitement, as the night closed with performances from legendary rock band Sleater-Kinney and hip-hop artist Vic Mensa.
One of my favorite performances of the day, Bully seems to be part of the ‘90s throwback trend, but unlike the rest of the trend, Bully isn’t horrible. In fact, the Nashville-based band, fronted by Alicia Bognanno is really, really good. Bognanno found a perfect harmony between yelping, screaming and singing her angry lyrics energetically throughout the band’s set, and the rest of Bully followed suit, performing flawlessly in one of the earliest sets of the day.
Watching Bully was like taking a time machine back to see a Hole show, with Courtney Love angrily growling on vocals, but even better, no time machines are necessary. Bully has taken all of the best aspects of the 20-year-old era of music, and made them their own in the new millennium. – Erin Yarnall
Mr. Twin Sister
With genre descriptions that make no sense like “chillwave” and “dream pop” which have been used to describe Mr. Twin Sister, it was understandable that their set would be a little weird. Following the well put-together Bully, Mr. Twin Sister seemed to be out there, with multiple instruments playing random things, including a saxophonist who only played one note.
Described to me by friends who told me to “definitely check them out” as a pop-group, I was expecting more excitement. While singer Andrea Estella had an interesting vocal range and techniques, as well as a haunting tone to her voice, her performance was boring for the most part. Besides the occasional light dancing (emphasis on the light), Estella didn’t really move around on stage, and neither did her band, and their performance ultimately left members of the crowd underwhelmed. – Erin Yarnall
Evacuation, cancellations and delays
Ex-Hex didn’t make it too far into their set before the festival was evacuated at about 3:45 p.m. It was a conservative move, but a few menacing nearby lightning strikes and thunderclaps paired with spurts of downpour suggested it was a necessary one. Union Park’s location doesn’t lend itself to seeking shelter easily though: attendees rushed into bars, beneath doorways and into the park’s own fieldhouse.
By 4:20, the festival reopened. There were few scheduling hitches on the Red and Green stages – Kurt Vile and the Violators were set to start at 4:15, anyway – but the Blue Stage never quite got back on track until late. Vince Staples cancelled due to flight issues, and Sophie cancelled after the rain. Ariel Pink’s 4:45 set was cut to 20 minutes and started late, and A$AP Ferg ran late.
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Though this shortened set didn’t leave much room for antics, it didn’t altogether hurt Ariel Pink’s set though: the fans were hyped up, and it worked well alongside the short, antsy jingles on “pom pom.”
Parquet Courts were a lot more at home at Pitchfork than at their last Chicago festival gig at Lollapalooza last year (where they gritted through an early afternoon set with a small crowd). By then, the sun was shining, people hopped in the mud and the band ripped through tracks and bantered. – Kirsten Onsgard
Future Islands achieved mainstream notoriety after their Letterman performance last year. Though 2014’s “Singles” was a hit – and filled with straight hits – the synth pop group dug into older tracks and vocalist Samuel Herring’s notoriously theatrical performance didn’t disappoint. He wiggled, contorted, beat his chest and pleaded from his animated blue eyes. It’s hammy, but he has a natural stage presence as a frontman. – Kirsten Onsgard
Sleater-Kinney could be pegged as a legacy act that still has it together, but with the release of this year’s “No Cities to Love,” it’s hard to to talk about them as a 90s reunion anymore. Sure, they have the giant back catalogue and original riot grrrl ethos, but they’re also present with a command and snarling energy. Their sound was spot-on: comfortable but not too comfortable, bantering and fun (“This song is for a little friend of ours – her name is Tina Belcher,” Carrie Brownstein said before “A New Wave”) and honest without being preachy (“This isn’t pretty, and we don’t want it to be,” she said). – Kirsten Onsgard
[box]See Friday coverage and photos here.[/box]