The third and final day of Pitchfork upon us, we were excited as ever to catch some excellent performances. Sunday was hip-hop day in in Union Park – it seemed that most of the beat heavy acts and rappers had been slated to perform on the last day of the festival. As we held three day passes, this wasn't a problem and actually made the transition from act to act much smoother. I couldn't help but feel for those single day ticket holders who didn't get a big enough helping of low-end bass from their Pitchfork experience.
Slick beats, effortless flow, and well crafted verses made Killer Mike a performer I couldn't miss seeing.
When a performer devotes time on stage to speak to religious and cultural unity and preaches peace and love, my eyes automatically begin to roll. Not that I have something against people finding peace and love, but you know, it can get uncomfortable and seem aimless or self-important. Unless its Killer Mike.
His cartoonishly violent Music Videos and “Fuck Hope Do Dope” t-shirts are balanced out by a history as a community organizer, politically charged lyrics, and an entirely earnest, humble and sincere demeanor on stage. The man paused the show at one point to ask the crowd to say hello to his wife, who was listening to the show via speakerphone. We also learned that they love to go to Sunday services at their church as much as they love to go to strip clubs together. Perhaps with a less developed and talented performer, these stage antics would grow tiresome, but he's a natural performer.
El-P blew through a few of his most notable tracks before he paused to go off stage and restart his set. This time, he was accompanied by Killer Mike to perform as Run the Jewels. El-P has an edge and aggression that, when paired with Killer Mike, forms a duo that can make a crowd erupt for hours on end.
Yo La Tengo
Aside from the congregation of Kells followers that had staked out their positions in front of the main stage from the early morning, Lil B had the most devout crowd at the festival. See photos below.
Toro y Moi
Ida No could have sustained a mighty crowd surfing session throughout the entirety of Glass Candy's energetic and uproariously fun set.
We stood waiting for TNGHT after Glass Candy ended. Stacks of strobe lights were wheeled out, unfolded and left covering the back half of the stage. Kids in the crowd began to dip into their bags, fishing for baggies, pipes, ciggarettes, water, anything they had that might help them prepare for the super-agressive beat driver music made by TNGHT, the collaboration between Hudson Mohawke and Lunice.
TNGHT had a relatively unassuming stage presence – no videos, mesh projection screen, or dancers. Their music is the show, the crowd don't need dancers and they know it. The setup was comprised of simple strobes blasted lightning bolt flashes against a heavy bass and off-kilter beats. From the first song, the crowd converged – swirling, jumping, pushing and pulling one another in a smiling mosh-pit. The section of the crowd I was in calmed a few times to help dancers find their fallen Glasses, searching like a half dozen Velmas through the mud and grass. They played crowd favorites from their EP (AKA every song) as well as their Kanye track, “Blood on the Leaves” which combines their haunted-horn sound with iced over vocals taken from Billie Holiday's “Strange Fruit”. And nothing gets a crowd hyped like Hudson Mohawke's “Furnace Loop”.
Someone in the crowd threw their hat off and exclaimed they had been waiting for months to see this group, which is a little funny but its also somewhat revealing about the cycle of music these bands have adapted to. TNGHT has been putting out material for longer than a few months, but not much more considering the longevity of other bands who hold headline slots at festivals. The first TNGHT EP dropped in July of 2012, was hyped a good amount and quickly embraced. It doesn't hurt that the duo is made up of two producers whose turn for recognition is way overdue. Despite their quick rise, I don't expect TNGHT to stick around the scene for years to come, at least not in its current touring form. See them if you have the chance.
FEST RAIDERS RATING:
LOCATION: Union Park. Awesome for the amount of people admitted. Not too crowded and easy to navigate. 8.5
VIP: We didn't get to experience the VIP section this year. N/A
AMENITIES: Decent to good food and great quality of vendors. Flatstock, the poster-artist section of the festival is fantastic every year. While it seemed slightly paired down this year (and it never seems busy) there was the inclusion of a tented area for publishers and writers with an emphasis on music. The diversity here, while under-programmed, adds to the variety of the festival and makes it very unique. 9
Total Score: 8.5 out of 10