It’s that time of the year again. Union Park begins it’s summer for real this weekend as the annual Pitchfork Festival gets under way for the twelfth year in a row bringing the finest in indie and on-the-verge artists to the city’s near west side. While the suburbs and the rest of the country show up for Lollapalooza, it’s Pitchfork that has established itself as the must-go summer jaunt in town, and the lineup this year does not disappoint. Without further ado, we’re going to go ahead and run you through our picks for the three days and get things moving. If you’re on site this weekend keep an eye out for the Mild Sauce Radio team doing live interviews at the fest throughout!
While you’re 100% allowed to navigate the festival any way you’d like, we’ve done this a few times and spend a lot more time sifting through as much as we can to do just this. So, take it with a grain of salt, or don’t, it’s all good. Anyway, with that out of the way, we’re choosing to kick things off with hometown rockers Melkbelly who have made a solid name for themselves with a dedicated following and and out of the city. With a 1:45 set time though, it’s going to be an early call for anyone doing the job thing Friday. Regardless, the four-piece will certainly be waking folks up, a perfect segue to the weekend. After that, shake off the rock vibes and start settling into some lyricism with Open Mike Eagle before heading immediately to the Red Stage for Saba. His Care For Me album that dropped earlier this year has been considered one of 2018’s best in any genre and the early evening will provide a perfect backdrop for the gateway to the west side as he tells his tale that started just down the street. After that, Syd’s sinewy vocals bring the night in perfectly and act as a welcome transition to the night’s closers, Tame Impala, who have never disappointed in the live setting and should have a raucous crowd of Logan Square-rs coming out in droves, something we’ll see again Saturday.
Melkbelly • 1:45-2:25 • Red Stage
Open Mike Eagle • 4:00-4:45 • Blue Stage
Saba • 5:15-6:10 • Red Stage
Syd • 6:15-7:15 • Green Stage
Tame Impala • 8:30-9:50 • Green Stage
The second day bears a lot of similarities to the previous installment, although with much less walking. This time around another hometown face kicks thing off as local upstart Paul Cherry continues an impressive run with an opening set at 1 PM on the Green Stage. After getting perfectly turned on for a Pitchfork Saturday with Cherry’s upbeat garage rock, we get into Zola Jesus on the Green Stage at 2:30 to get a little scary with things. From there its a nice back to back medley of Raphael Saadiq and Blood Orange on the Red and Green stages at 5:15 and 6:15 which act as a perfect entrance to the big name of the night in the reunited Fleet Foxes. Yes, every bearded hipster with ironic dad hats and oversized pant legs will be in full euphoria for that one. Be careful out here Fleetys.
Paul Cherry • 1:00-1:40 • Green Stage
Zola Jesus • 2:30-3:15 • Green Stage
Raphael Saadiq • 5:15-6:10 • Red Stage
Blood Orange • 6:15-7:15 • Green Stage
Fleet Foxes • 8:30-9:50 • Green Stage
While I’ll probably go back on this later, I’m going to try and promise myself not to stay out late Saturday night, because this Sunday at Pitchfork Festival is a day-long celebration of Chicago music across sounds and generations that will not want to be missed for even a second. The epic day of local music kicks off appropriately with Nnamdi Ogbonnaya on the Green Stage at 1 PM. His eclectic R&B-tinged guitar sounds are a perfect opening for a day full of soul and local flavor and a perfect segue to fellow Chicagoan and Closed Sessions signee Kweku Collins who follows close behind at 2:30. After that, make a quick departure to the Red Stage where Ravyn Lenae will be espousing her distinct form of forward-leaning soul/R&B that is delivered by one of the most beautiful and wide-ranging vocalists you’ll hear at this fest or anywhere else. Once you shake off the shock of Lenae’s abilities, you should probably get a drink or some water, because we’re only halfway there. Get ya ass back to the Green Stage ASAP because St. Louis transplant Smino kicks things off five minutes after Lenae’s. Having done so much work together and with sets so close, I have to think there’s going to be some crossover there somehow, we’ll see. Smino’s catalog at this point is just a list of some of my most-listened to songs and his arrival at the stage off Lake and Ashland is a culmination of sorts for him, having spent long days and nights just a few blocks over at Classick Studios honing the sound he’ll offer up Sunday. Don’t stop now though, we got NoName kicking off back at Red. Honestly, a time lapse video between these two stages might be amazing, as the crowds for all four acts have certain crossover. NoName will be making her first appearance in a minute and appears to be on the edge of a new album.
Nnamdi Ogbonnaya • 1:00-1:40 • Green Stage
Kweku Collins • 2:30-3:15 • Green Stage
Ravyn Lenae • 3:20-4:10 • Red Stage
Smino • 4:15-5:10 • Green Stage
NoName • 5:10-6:10 • Red Stage
DRAM • 6:15-7:15 • Green Stage
Chaka Khan • 7:25-8:25 • Red Stage
Ms. Lauryn Hill • 8:30-9:50 • Green Stage