Summer must have heard all of Chicago’s shit talking, because after a rather dull season, it came out guns a-blazin’ for Pitchfork weekend. One of the hottest weekends so far in the city led way to one of the most music-filled weekends at Union Park.
Friday’s line-up consisted of Chicago’s hometown favorite, Ryley Walker, to start the festival at the Blue Stage, and Chicago’s other hometown favorite, Wilco, to headline at the Green. Sandwiched in-between were a slew of additional artists, from electronic to post-punk to piano ballads with sexy saxes.
Ryley Walker and Jessica Pratt performed one after another on the Blue Stage, tucked in the corner of the festival grounds. They were each worthy of the chill opening spots for the festival, as the crowd slowly filled in and enjoyed some damn skillful folk and acoustic tunes. A light breeze occasionally cooled the crowd down, and clouds rolled by overhead. It was very hot, and the audience wasn’t rowdy, just in the mood to listen and enjoy. Even when ILoveMakonnen’s subs interrupted Jessica Pratt’s otherwise intimate set, the crowd only huddled in closer.
The clouds came and went, and the sky was perfectly clear just in time for Panda Bear’s set. The sun shone brightly on the stage, negating any visuals I’ve seen in past performances, but lifting everyone’s spirits regardless. After easing our way into the festival, it was time to get a little rowdy. As booties began shaking and arms were thrown into the air, you couldn’t help but to join. Watching Panda Bear craft his music on-stage, specifically “Boys Latin”, was endlessly captivating.
Rumors were swirling that Wilco was going to play Star Wars, their most recent album — at that time, it was but a day old — at Pitchfork. It was ballsy, and they did it. Having never performed it live together before, the seasoned vets flew through the performance like champs (by the way, did you notice how short Star Wars is?), and then continued to play a whole bunch of fan-favorites. Wilco concluded with “I’m The Man Who Loves You” and walked off stage amid a sea of cheers.
By 10 o’clock, our worthy crew of concert-goers grabbed their recently acquired vinyl and stuffed unused drink tickets in their pockets for later use. After all, Saturday would be a long day, we’d need to get through it somehow.