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Pitchfork Festival 2014

A Reader's Guide to Chicago's 2014 Pitchfork Festival

Chicago Pitchfork Festival 2014 Artist's Facebook
by John Noyd
June 2014

A classic salad of new and established acts covering hip-hop, ambient-trance and indie-rock, this year’s Pitchfork Festival hosts rising stars, electronic giants and first generation legends reuniting over blue lakeside skies in a green oasis of metropolitan proportions. As in years past each day of the three day event brings a slew of possible you can’t go wrong strategies as well as the unavoidable conflicts inherent in festival logistics. While three color-coded stages offer an incredible spectacle of diversified styles that allows the participants to chill in one area for a reasonable length, those with eclectic tastes will be scurrying to stitch together the perfect string of musical trophies. Day by day let’s look at the highlights and pitfalls that is Chicago’s 2014 Pitchfork Festival.

Friday July 18th kicks off with a great pair of acts on the Blue stage, atmospheric spirits HUNDRED WATERS and post-industrial studio wizards FACTORY FLOOR. While cyber-surreal congealers THE HAXAN CLOAK follow them, the ever-perceptive interceptor NENEH CHERRY eclipses FF’s finale and THC’s opening. Joining forces with jazz-rock prophets ROCKETNUMBERNINE, Neneh’s rare U.S. appearance promises to be extra far-out wonderful. Scintillating singer-songwriters SHARON VAN ETTEN and SUN KIL MOON are supporting albums filled with clear-eyed visions making a quick skip from the Red stage to the Green essential for early evening absolution, while mood-induced electronic advocates will have to decide between synthesizer patriarch GIORGIO MORODER and spine-chilling synergist AVEY TARE’S SLASHER FLICKS before the masses descend on iconic indie pontiff BECK finishing up the night.

Saturday July 19th pushes the envelope even further with everything from Atlanta rapper DANNY BROWN to British posh-rockers WILD BEASTS for the most eclectic festival day. Fans of indie-fringe innovation are well-advised to check out Elephant 6 collective’s CIRCULATORY SYSTEMS and tribal-pop’s loop-master TUNE-YARDS besides Brooklyn’s EMPRESS OF and Ethiopia’s KELELA providing strong female-driven rhythms to combat the testosterone-honed rock of TWIN PEAKS and CLOUD NOTHINGS. The diversity may make for easier choices with hip-hop padres PUSHA T and KA gathering the faithful together while THE FIELD, MAS YSA and THE RANGE preside over day-tripping indietronic audiences. Some may gripe about pop conceptualists FKA TWIGS and ST VINCENT playing opposite one another, but a reunited NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL closing Saturday down should unify several demographics.

Sunday July 20th pulls out the big guns but also creates several concert conundrums with cinematic MUTUAL BENEFIT and rocketeers SPEEDY ORTIZ sharing the same set-time; meanwhile choosing between platter-master HUDSON MOHAWKE and digital-magician GRIMES will exasperate certain electro-diehards. There’s potential overlap between EARL SWEATSHIRT and SCHOOLBOY Q for rap’s avid followers while an afternoon pile-up of DIIV, PERFECT PUSSY and DEAFHEAVEN may cause mosh-authored rockers serious grief. Smart, razor-sharp DUM DUM GIRLS and REAL ESTATE could create congestion between Blue and Red stages while JON HOPKINS and MAJICAL CLOUDS carve an electric Blue stage enclave for narcoleptic beats. Crowds no doubt will jockey for position to witness SLOWDIVE playing after a twenty year absence before KENDRICK LAMAR wraps up another year of Pitchfork bliss.

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