Author: Izzy Fradin
With Pitchfork just a few weeks away, WSUM is getting geared up for our long weekend in Chicago. This year is an especially exciting lineup featuring old school classics like Parliment Funkadelic and the Feelies, along with modern classics like Isaiah Rashad and Angel Olsen. Here is a day-by-day breakdown of some of the acts we’re most excited for this year, and a bit about what we’re expecting from them.
The dance-punk legends return to Chicago leading up to their first record since their 2011 farewell American Dream. Having never seen them live before, I cannot contain my excitement for this show. The emotional state that listening to songs like “All my Friends” and “Never as Tired as When I’m Waking Up” elicits can be intense. Seeing these songs live will add a whole extra dimension to these masterpieces, and you’ll find me somewhere among the crowd of fans first-timers and otherwise, letting the subtle builds and punchy rhythms nostalgically groove the tears away.
I’m excited and curious about how the Dirty Projectors show will be executed. With recent changes in the band’s full lineup, it’s hard to say how the new dynamic will influence the set. The latest album being full of intricate instrumentation, and the band having a penchant for lush sounds and peculiar harmonies, the show is bound to have a visceral quality to it. I’m hoping some of the darker tracks from the latest record like “Up In Hudson,” will be well balanced with some of the group’s earlier, more cheerful tracks like “See What She’s Seeing”.
Recently signed to Sub-Pop records, Greta Kline, AKA Frankie Cosmos, is sure to deliver a set full of quaint melodies and simple truths. Hopefully the new record deal means she’ll have some new tunes for the set, and if we’re lucky we’ll hear a track or two from her recent project Lexie, which features Doug and Alex of Warehouse. There will be smiles, sunshine, and a gentle breeze all around during the set, as she pulls from one of the most prolific discographies of any modern bedroom artist.
Following the release of 2016’s Atrocity Exhibition, Danny Brown has established himself as one of the most important and original rappers of our time. Having collaborated with just about anyone who’s anyone in the rap game, Danny’s personality and subject matters help him stand out in the renaissance that is today’s rap scene. I cannot wait to see his kooky side on stage, and join the crowd in the chaos that is sure to ensue when he drops tracks like “Really Doe”. And if we’re lucky the alleged Angel Olsen collab might make it’s way into the set.
With a voice that can be gentle as a mouse and fierce as a lion at the same time, Angel Oslen is a must-see set at Pitchfork. Following the release of 2016’s My Woman, Olsen has been extensively touring, getting wisdom teeth removed, and being ripped off by Prophets of Rage. Her recent climb to fame is fully warranted, and yet she remains completely underrated. Her capacity for simple, moving lyrics like on “Lonely Universe” are what have drawn in the super fans since her earliest releases. I’m hoping the set will be a healthy mix of the powerful slow-burners and the upbeat jams.
Natalie Mering has been on my concert bucket list since I first discovered her music roughly a year ago. 2016’s Front Row Seat To Earth was in my top 5 records of the year easily, so finally having the chance to see her live is thrilling. I am most looking forward to the moment in her set when the song inevitably builds to a weight of a boulder, then her sweeping melody crashes the whole thing into the ground and shakes all those fortunate enough to be present to their core. I’m ready for the combination of her delicate, moody vocals and her brutally honest reflections on life, love, and planet Earth to move me to a point of sheer awe.
A Tribe Called Quest
There is little more I can say than holy crap- Tribe at Pitchfork. The hip-hop legends ruled the feel good scene of the 90’s, and after the recent death of Phife Dog, the group released We Got it From Here…Thank You For Your Service. This set is sure to be a wild, free flowing, feel good show with a conscience.
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
Similar to the Tribe show, seeing George Clinton with Parliament Funkadelic feels like finding a cheat code to musical history. The music of Parliament Funkadelic is as ubiquitous and influential as just about any group in history. While Clinton is certainly looking his age, hopefully his performance will be as alive and exciting as ever.
In the year of Shoegaze reunions, Ride is another group reuniting and releasing new music for the first time in decades. It will be interesting to see how they balance their classic tunes like “Vapor Trail” with the new material. Be sure to bring earplugs for this one.
2016 was a pretty huge year for Solange. After an eight year hiatus, she came back to the music scene with A Seat At The Table, an album which topped numerous end-of-year lists. The refinement of her style on the latest record shone through in tremendous ways, and Solange established herself as one of the most important artists of a generation. Her multi-talented, multi-disciplinary endeavours make her one of the most well-rounded artists of our time, and her live set is sure to reflect the various mediums she has mastered. More than possibly any other act this weekend, Solange will be putting on a performance.
It was rumored that the Avalanches were supposed to play last year’s Pitchfork fest, but had to drop out last minute, so it is a year of redemption both for the group and the festival. One of the most anticipated sets of the weekend, the Avalanches will have the crowd in a giddy state of care-free dancing with their groovy tunes from their two-record discography. I cannot wait to be swept away in the energy that the Avalanches are known to bring to their live sets. It’s the best way to end a long weekend of music.
When it comes to Emo music, American Football have established themselves as the poster-child of the genre. Though they only had one full-length release prior to last year’s reunion record, they are known and across generations for revolutionizing the genre. The show is certain to leave many a fan in tears, with mathy guitars and dark lyrics yanking on the heartstrings and nostalgia emo is known for.