Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park in Chicago for it's twelfth year (except 2005's "Intonation Music Festival" tag) July 14-16. As usual, it's three full days diverse acts, food, shopping and pre-and-post events. Here's five of the must-see artists at the 2017 installment.
This is the first Pitchfork LCD plays in support of a new album - American Dream is due September 1 on Columbia - well, since their last. They’re headlining Friday night. It should be part summer night dance party, part catharsis. It’s not clear if they’ll ‘shut up and play the hits’ (couldn’t resist, sorry) or preview more than what they’ve been doing during their Brooklyn Steel residencies. If the “American Dream” and “Call the Police” advance singles are any indication, it’s going to be a great night to ‘dance yourself clean’ as the sun sets over Union Park.
Hiss Golden Messenger
If you haven’t heard last year’s Heart Like a Levee, you’re missing out. It’s an easy southern-folk masterpiece, with it’s title track being one of the best songs to come out of any recent year. Frontman MC Taylor’s busted troubadour wheeze is devastatingly pretty and will be great for those strolling in for a mid afternoon set on Friday.
A Tribe Called Quest
Most years, Pitchfork pulls off what seems impossible, pulling off one act that makes the whole thing worth the price of admission. This year, it’s Tribe headlining Saturday night. There’s been some ups and downs with the group - founding member Phife Dawg’s death in early 2016, followed by November’s triumphant swan-song We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service and then Q-Tip’s shoulder surgery forcing the group to cancel a slate of European tour dates. It’s hard to think that a group performing on and off for 30 years will disappoint, especially they said that after this run, they’re done. It will be great to immerse in the moment and appreciate that everything is fleeting and nothing lasts forever, but at least we know it’s coming this time.
Rosenstock’s inclusion on Pitchfork’s Saturday slate was the biggest surprise so far, considering his place firmly atop the DIY punk rock scene. It’s not exactly surprising, as last year’s Worry felt like a deliberate attempt at a song cycle a la Pet Sounds. It’s the set of the weekend that most feels like there’s an element of real spontaneity and maybe a little bit of controlled chaos, which never hurt anyone. Get there early Saturday to start things off right.
Sunday’s full of great acts - the quiet power of Pinegrove, an unexpected set by American Football and the slow-burn intensity of Isaiah Rashad, but none leaves a bigger question mark than Solange. She’s played the fest before - as recently as 2013 but her set was understated and built on the buoyancy of the previous year’s True EP, and especially “Losing You” single. That’s all changed. Last year’s full-length A Seat at the Table was a career-defining masterpiece, finally shedding any mention of her just as her mega-famous sister. The fest is going all in with Solange - a series of collaborations called the Saint Heron House - “a multidisciplinary experience featuring an onsite art installation, film screening, artist talks, late night jazz jam sessions, and more.” Her sent and these events combined make her evolution an artist the must-see set of Sunday.