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Pitchfork 2016 - (Chicago, IL) - July 16th, 2016 (Saturday)

20 July 2016

Given the stellar performances witnessed just a day prior, I had a bit of a hard time imagining that Saturday of Pitchfork would trump Friday. Now, I have zero trouble admitting that I can be a bit of a fool at times, but this was a particularly grave error- Saturday was unlike anything that I had seen at Pitchfork in previous years. Was it necessarily better? In my humble opinion, no. It was, however, very different. Unique, in a way, but I’ll touch on that throughout my review.

I arrived just in time to shoot Kevin Morby, former bassist of The Woods, embarking on a solo project and making his Pitchfork debut with his backing band. Beginning with Cut Me Down and including Will Miller of Whitney in I Have Been To The Mountain, Morby delivered a fresh, promising start to the day’s musical festivities.

After Morby came Royal Headache, scheduled to perform on the Blue Stage just after the set had ended. The Australian group was formed in 2008, and only call each other by their last names (Shogun, Law, Joe and Shortty respectively). Below is their set:

1.)Love Her If I Tried
3.)Psychotic Episode
5.)Another World
6.)Wouldn’t You Know

After attempting to get my ears to stop ringing, I had the pleasure of shooting both Diggable Planets and BJ The Chicago Kid in quick succession. Diggable Planets was a new experience for me, the trio is on a newly embarked reunion tour, and I hadn’t listened to any of their discography before. It was a treat experiencing them live for the first time.

BJ The Chicago Kid was up next, and I had great expectations for the Chicago native. Perhaps it was because he would be back in his home city, perhaps it was because I had enjoyed what I had previously heard, but I went in with high expectations, and he sufficiently met them. Although his setlist isn’t currently available, I’d advise searching for some live streams of the set, it was one amazing performance.

Savages was followed up by his set, and although I like to think I’d provide a decent review on the band and performance in general, do yourself a favor and search around the site for a more in-depth analysis. It’ll do much better than I can, I imagine.

Jehnny Beth in action:

Although I didn’t get to witness Anderson Paak, Blood Orange, or Super Furry Animals, I DID get to witness Brian Wilson on stage, and for those of you who haven’t read about his performance quite yet, let me tell you firsthand that it was honestly a mistake. Was it good? Sure. Was it fun? To the crowd, it certainly was. It felt wrong, though, seeing Wilson onstage, clearly not even remembering the lyrics (and having to read them off of an IPad, no less), glimpses of lucidity in his eyes. With a semi-awkward appearance by John Cusack, Wilson quickly departed the stage after his final song, clearly not tolerating the atmosphere any longer. It felt wrong enough that I didn’t shoot the show at all, and although it was cool to hear “oldies” live, I felt almost responsible for his discomfort, as if myself and all the other festival-goers were exacerbating his issues. A cool experience, but ultimately cruel for Mr. Wilson.
Fortunately, the headliner of the night was set to appear shortly after he walked off stage, and as we were all herded into the photo pit, a hush fell over the crowd.

I had never seen Sufjan Stevens live before, and I was promised an absolute spectacle.

He delivered.

Although performing most selections from Age of Adz, I was excited to hear him close with Chicago. Please do try and see videos of his performance. It was a spectacle that I would fail entirely in describing.

Some shots from his set:

A wonderful day of music and experiences. Do stay tuned for coverage of Sunday.