After work on Friday I rushed home to get ready for the Pitchfork Fest. I changed into festival appropriate clothes (which also happened to include most of my Broad City Ilana Glazer cosplay clothing -- yes, I cosplay at cons and also Ilana just happens to wear perfect festival clothes!). I put a bag together with everything I'll need for the festival, then played like 20min of Civ5 before I finally realized that if I didn't leave soon I might miss CHVCHES. I didn't bring my camera because I likely wouldn't have been getting there until around sunset anyways and the weather showed possible storms, so I apologize for the lack of photos from the festival. The featured photo is not from Pitchfork but from Wilco's 20th Anniversary Chicago show in December.
I saw CHVCHES play last year at Lollapalooza and this set was incredibly similar. CHVCHES still only has one album out, 2013's The Bones of What You Believe, and as a new band with only one album they just don't have many songs to draw on, not that the crowd minded one bit. They played through most of the songs from The Bones of What You Believe along with a couple additional songs they've released since the album such as the song Dead Air from the Hunger Games soundtrack. The crowd danced and sang along to every song. After the festival when I was heading home on the green line, CHVCHES' set was all anyone on the train could talk about. Personally, I was hoping for a couple new songs from their new album that's coming out in the fall, but I guess I'll just have to keep waiting to hear their new material. Overall it was a great set. Lauren Mayberry was spot-on as always and just like at Lollapalooza last year, she made a ton of comments on what she was seeing in the audience (at Lollapalooza it was giant penises and at Pitchfork it was pot smokers).
Finally it was time for Wilco. I just saw them back in December at their 20th Anniversary Tour where I took a ton of photos that you should really check out. I was hoping for a similar set, where they moved back and forth through their extensive catalog playing a sample from every part of their long music career. However, their new album Star Wars (which you can download for free at their website) had a surprise release the day before, so I also expected a lot of newer songs interspersed throughout the set. Instead, Wilco made the rather bold decision to just go ahead and play through the entirety of their new album.
I hadn't yet had time to download or listen to Star Wars so it was great getting to first hear it live. On the other hand, I personally would have preferred the songs interspersed throughout the set rather than in a big block. The rest of the crowd seemed to agree with me as most people remained sitting and chatted throughout the first half of the set. Regardless, the new songs sounded great and only made me more excited about their new album (which I currently have downloading as I type).
When Wilco finished playing through their new album and went into the first notes of Handshake Drugs, the crowd came alive. Wilco went on to play Kamera, I am Trying to Break Your Heart, Art of Almost and Via Chicago and the audience stood and sang along to every word. The Pitchfork app showed the set ending at 9:30, precisely when Wilco was finishing up Via Chicago, a perfect song to end on. My friend and I booked it to the exit during the final notes of Via Chicago, hoping to make it to the train station before most of the crowd. After we exited the festival, however, Wilco started playing You Are My Face. Turns out they were playing until 10pm not 9:30. We were already out of the festival by then though, so it was too late to turn around. I listened to the end of You Are My Face from the train station before getting on a train to head home.
Overall, the first night of Pitchfork was a success. CHVRCHES and Wilco were great, I got to hear a bit of Panda Bear while waiting in the beer queue, and I learned not to trust the ending set times on the Pitchfork App. Not bad for Friday night of Pitchfork.