#StreetBeast Blog: Pitchfork Music Festival 2017

#StreetBeast hit Chicago to tackle the insanity of the 2017 Pitchfork Music Festival. I ended up catching 32 bands and artists during three days in Chicago. Here are the highlights of the fest!

Tastemaker website and publication Pitchfork held it’s 11th annual festival in Union Park, in Chicago, July 14-16th, 2017. In life, you have to get out there and chase those indie rock vibes. They aren’t going to catch themselves. The #StreetBeast is always on a constant hunt for quality live music, so I hit Chicago hard to make new musical discoveries and soak up the vibes.

The scope and diversity of artists featured at Pitchfork Fest was impressive. Around 19,000 people came to the fest each day.

Madame Gandhi kicked off Pitchfork with a set of percussive, feminist hip-hop.
M.I.A.’s former drummer often showcased her skills behind the kit as well as on the mic. Wearing a Future is Female t-shirt, she was right on point.

Priests won over the early crowd on Friday with a loud set of indie rock vibes.
Good music to play when you need to peel paint off of your walls.

Vince Staples – hip hop was a good choice for a chill afternoon set.
His latest album, Big Fish Theory, is excellent and new tracks sounded great live.

The Thurston Moore Group lit up Pitchfork with their set of shoegaze vibes.
Led by former Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore, the group focused on new material and kept the crowd focused with their tight interplay.

Danny Brown‘s unique vocal tone and delivery helped make for one of the better rap sets at Pitchfork.
He will be opening up for Gorllaz at the Sprint Center. It will be a strange and quality combination.

Arca and Jesse Kanda put on one of the weirdest and best sets I saw all weekend.
Arca’s Spanish rapping and banging, trippy beats were complimented by Kanda’s disturbing visual displays (such as a cat having ear surgery).
Towards the end of the set, the mood changed from slick beats to vicious nu-metal/industrial sounds. It was intense, surprising and good as hell.

LCD Soundsystem headlined Friday night and they delivered a set of dance grooves that had the entire fest getting down.
The classic “Tribulations” lit the crowd up. Frontman James Murphy is a funky, sweaty, white dad we can all believe in. It’s so great they are back.
(Hear the first single from the new album ‘Call The Police’ on X1051)

Vagabon opened day two with a soulful and emotional set of indie rock vibes.

Weyes Blood‘s passionate and beautiful indie songs made for a great set.
Her voice over minimal accompaniment made for an enthralling experience.

I caught Cherry Glazerr twice during Pitchfork Fest weekend. They have been featured on our show celebrating the women of alternative, XX1051 (Sundays @ 9pm with Lauren).
On Friday, I caught them at Schubas Tavern rocking a sold out crowd. Saturday’s daytime set still featured the same intensity.
Frontwoman Clementine Creevy’s ferocious vocals paired perfectly with the loud din of the music.
The band plays RecordBar September 5th and it will be a fiery show.

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic crushed a packed crowd with their classic funk jams. If you make your funk the P Funk, you’re gonna get funked up.
This is a true statement that I believe to the core of my being. The tunes were lose, the energy was flowing and minds were blown.
Something isn’t purely nostalgic when it is right there, kicking your ass.
P Funk’s set wasn’t stuck in the past, it was uncut funk in the NOW.

Angel Olsen followed up P Funk on the Green Stage. To me, this was a dream combination. The glory of funk into a set by one of indie rock’s best.
Tracks like “Shut Up Kiss Me” had the crowd singing along and getting down to her wonderful tunes. The joy and elation the crowd felt during Olsen’s set are examples of the vibe that makes Pitchfork Fest so special.

Seeing PJ Harvey live is a rare treat. Her voice was epic and the crowd was in awe every minute of her set.

SURVIVE brought their electronic grooves to the smaller Blue Stage as the sun started to set on day two.
The band has been featured on the Stranger Things soundtrack and was a perfect fit for the fest.


Beyond the music, Pitchfork Fest featured a record fair and food from some of Chicago’s best (I’m a big fan of Wow Bao‘s delicious steamed buns).
There was even an OK Cupid booth for those trying to find alternative/indie love.

The fest hit an emotional peak on Saturday with a set by legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest. Rapper Q-Tip noted that this was their first full set since the passing of Phife Dawg. The interplay between the MCs made for one of the best hip hop shows I have ever seen. Tribe’s hour and 30 minute set was heavy on classics, like “Can I Kick It?” and “Bontina Applebum.” Tribe closed with “We the People,” a song about standing up against oppression. They ran the song back for almost 10 glorious minutes. Q-Tip kept shouting, “We the people! We are equal!” over and over until it felt like a statement of purpose. A Tribe Called Quest’s set ran the gamut of emotions and was complete perfection.

Kilo Kish got Day three of Pitchfork Fest rolling with her dextrose hip-hop over spacey beats.

Chicago-based band Ne-Hi put on one of the hardest rocking sets of the weekend on Sunday.

I ended my time at Pitchfork Fest with a set by seminal English shoegaze band RIDE.
They recently released their first album in 21 years. The band hit the crowd hard with their shifting, sprawling songs.

Pitchfork Music Festival 2017 was an expansive journey into a wide range of independent music. The vibes were wonderful and the beasting was off the charts! #BeastIt