Pitchfork Music Festival day 2 review

As I sum up my Saturday at Pitchfork Music Fest, I’m going to disclose something – I only actually listened to about three of the bands that were playing on day 2. I suppose if I knew and listened to everyone that was playing, Pitchfork would be doing it wrong. This recap is part review, part personal tale because of it.

I arrived at about 2:30 p.m at the height of the rainstorm. I came prepared with a tiny umbrella, but that didn’t make it much more bearable. Puddles were everywhere, the grass was slowly transforming into a giant mud pit, and I began to mentally prepare myself I would be covered in mud by the end of the day.

As Cults was about to take to the red stage, the skies cleared. The indie pop due began an enjoyable, rain-free set. Vocalist Madeline Follin’s voice is a bit childish, but the performance was fun nonetheless. The bells in their Pitchfork-favorite hit “Go Outside” mixed with Follin’s voice got the crowd to bop along, but bopping was the extent. In response to the rain, before playing their last song guitarist Brian Oblivion told the crowd to “mean mug the sky” to hopefully keep the rain away for the remainder of Saturday. It worked.

The sun began to peek through the clouds as Flying Lotus began his set. Between songs he commented on his level of intoxication reputedly, which warranted a great reaction from a crowd of certainly equally drunk fans. Mixing many well-known songs with strong beats, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

I started feeling kind of sick, which I attributed to not eating all day, making it a perfect time to check out the food vendors. I mentally prepared myself to pay too much for too little of food, but such is expected at an event. I decided on pizza from Homemade Pizza Co., but evidently so did everyone else. They were unable to keep up with the demand from the overheated and slightly drunk patrons, causing line waits to be 30 minutes plus. For $5 I got a tiny slice of cheese pizza and a diet coke, not great but good enough.

Sleigh Bells wins the award for most energetic set, hands down. The stage was filled with stacks of amps, and they certainly did their job. Vocalist Alexis Krauss came on stage like a flying ball of energy, running around in her black studded leather jacket, screaming, and whipping her long black hair around. The aforementioned stacks of amps at times overpowered Krauss’s voice, but not enough to ruin the set. Her amazing energy transferred to the crowd getting everyone jumping and moving around. Crowd sing-alongs were encouraged from Krauss, making the stomping fans even more pleased.

Up next back on the red stage were Hot Chip, electropop band hailing from London. A completely different performance that Sleigh Bells, crowds were grooving with the band more than anything else, which made it seem so much less energetic than my last performance experience. With the different musical styles this is expected, but Hot Chip put on a spot-on performance regardless. Crowd engagement from the band is pretty low, but their songs often played into one another making for a continuous mud-filled dance party as the sun set over Union Park.

I had to head out early thanks to a careless passerby who kicked a full beer onto my notebook and camera as I was sitting off to the side of the red stage. A disappointing end to the day, but my spirits can’t be down for too long – I’m ready for Vampire Weekend to close out this fest Sunday night.