After failed attempts to overcome her insomnia-ridden sleep deprivation from this past weekend’s ninth annual Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, Rupa Jogani comes bearing her festival highlights. From The Range to FKA Twigs, Saturday’s lineup took us on a roller coaster of experimental soundscapes.
THE RANGE – When Introverts Became Extroverts
Photo by Ebru Yildiz
After my phone interview with James Hinton of The Range, I cabbed over to the festival just in time to see his set in entirety. I was dying to see him perform, especially since Nonfiction was one of my favorite albums of 2013, and was beyond thrilled by his set. Since he’s skilled at DJing, it was a huge relief to see his understanding at working a crowd and actually mixing well, which a lot of electronic producers fall short on. Not all producers were born to be DJs which I’ve seen completely ruin sets (Jerome LOL’s set comes to mind). Hinton nailed it and kept the crowd engrossed, despite him being a smaller act. I was internally smug and quietly cackled to myself hearing the amount of people excitedly fluttering about his set and eagerly texting their friends about The Range. Hear hear!
TUNE-YARDS – Neon, Glitter, and Quirkiness Galore
Photo by Ellie Pritts
Admittedly, I’m not the biggest tUnE-yArDs fan (wow, that is annoying to type out) but since I planned to meet people at the green stage which sat next to red stage where she was performing, I watched her from our grassy seats. Colorful, experimental, and pumping out endless waves of energy, she made for an entertaining performance. I appreciated the neon colors and glitter in contrast to the overall relaxed vibe of the festival since I needed the additional stimulus. My thanks to the artist.
DANNY BROWN – Energetic Yet Uninspiring
Photo by Jessica Lehrman
Right after tUnE-yArDs, Danny Brown performed on green stage which I stayed to watch for fifteen-ish minutes. I’ve seen him perform on this specific tour two previous times, so I already knew his entire set down to the tracks his DJ skywlkr used to amp up the crowd. Still solid but he was noticeably exhausted from their non-stop touring. I did give him major kudos for coming out clad from head-to-toe in all-black leather which kept it fashionably hard for us Pitchfork devotees.
THE FIELD – Taking Minimalism To The Next Level
Photo by Ellie Pritts
Two years ago, my friend sent me a video of The Field (Axel Willner) performing “Over The Ice” at Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 and ever since viewing that fateful YouTube video, I was keen on seeing him live. Willner performs his live sets as The Field in one of two ways – the first being a straight electronic DJ set with the other having him accompanied with a live band. I’d been dying to see him perform with his band in tow, so you can understand my initial dismay when he began performing by himself on his electronic setup – my hard, angry gaze quickly morphed into elation when his drummer came out to accompany him ten minutes into the set. This euphoria culminated into a massive fifteen minute climax when he finally performed “Over The Ice” and the crowd collectively lost it. He intricately and painstakingly layered minimal segments so subtly that we, as the audience, had no idea that he swept us up in a long, grandiose buildup. Incredible performance and easily one of the top electronic sets I’ve ever attended.
FKA TWIGS – My Body Left Festival Grounds And Everyone Got Horny
I decided to hang around blue stage after The Field’s set since FKA twigs went on afterwards, thus opting out of seeing St. Vincent (though I listened to her from afar). When she came out on stage I had an initial spaz attack. She’s an artist in every aspect, even down to her aura which came off in heavy waves onto the crowd. I was overwhelmed by her performance which dripped with sexuality, heavy sighs, and slow, provocative dance moves. It was brilliant, but I was freaking out too much and had to leave the set early. Her video for “Two Weeks” pretty much summed up how I felt the entire time watching her and I got why people started making out around me. Straight vibes.