A familiar face
Milwaukee experimental rapper WebsterX made a surprise appearance during Kweku Collins’ set. He said he’s been friends with Collins for three or four years and that Pitchfork is his favorite festival. After Collins’ well-received performance, it’s easy to see why.
Through the “Telefone”
Noname gave a choppy performance, with music and lyrics cutting out at unexpected times, making it hard to catch a groove even if you are familiar with her tracks. When she performed “Casket Pretty” with about half of the lyrics intact, it left me wanting to go home and listen to my favorite songs in one piece.
Art-sleaze for a new era
Alex Cameron’s music is full of contradictions: his songs are characterized by catchy melodies, careful instrumentation and, often, cringe-worthy lyrics. Pitchfork music magazine coined the term “art-sleaze” to describe his second album, and this term certainly came to mind during his Sunday evening set. DRAM got the crowd moving with his infectious beats and quirky persona, but left us quite a bit short of inspired with his new favorite saying, “One man’s trash is the next man’s forever.”
“Brite Boy” meets girl
Japanese Breakfast’s set on the Blue Stage had everything we hope for at a rock show: fan-favorite songs, perfectly timed guitar solos and a smiling, dynamic frontwoman to lead the charge. Later in the evening, (Sandy) Alex G took to the same stage to perform unadorned versions of his distorted, electric indie-rock tunes, skillfully capturing the mood of his recorded albums without trying to re-create them. Midway through his performance, (Sandy) Alex G was joined by Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast to perform his popular track “Brite Boy,” giving the song a new spin and completing the best collaboration of the festival.
Chicago garage rockers Twin Peaks, Luke Olson (formerly of The Walters) and music photographer Pooneh Ghana were our favorite off-stage artist sightings of the weekend.
“Every Woman”… is waiting for this DJ set to end
Chaka Khan’s performance was everything we needed it to be and more, but is anyone surprised? Less fulfilling was the 20-minute DJ set before Ms. Lauryn Hill’s performance, complete with a DJ who insisted on yelling for the “true hip-hop fans” in the crowd and playing half of all of your favorite ’90s bops. But, if you stood the true test of patience, you were rewarded with a radiant 20th-anniversary performance of “The Miseducation of Ms. Lauryn Hill.”
While Saturday’s afternoon acts eased us into the action, Kweku Collins started his set off right on Sunday afternoon with an energetic cover of Beyonce’s “Hold Up” before getting into his original tracks. The 21-year-old artist kept his set personal by shouting out his friends in the crowd and talking about everything from Chicago politics to his love of (Friday night headliner) Tame Impala. Ravyn Lenae similarly chatted with the crowd, displaying her ease on stage through standout songs “Computer Luv” and “Night Song.”