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5 Hometown Acts to Show Up Early For at Pitchfork Festival 2018

Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Chicago's Union Park this year, once again bringing a diverse lineup featuring both up and coming and established artists of different genres. For the past few years, the lineup has continued to feature some of the best talent in the city; In 2016, Whitney, Mick Jenkins and Twin Peaks performed, and last year's lineup included Joey Purp, Jamila Woods, and NE-HI. This year, the stacked lineup features even more local artists, including well-versed names like Saba and Noname, but there's several other Chicagoans playing throughout the weekend. Check out our five must-see hometown acts that are worthy of an early arrival to Pitchfork Festival.

Paul Cherry

Who: Singer, songwriter, musician and producer extraordinaire Paul Cherry has become a staple in the Chicago rock scene with his dreamy bedroom psych-pop tunes. While rejuvenated psych rock has been done by many over the last few years, Cherry stands out with his signature reverb vocals and quirky textures used on his debut album Flavour, released March 31st by Feeltrip Records. Following the album release, Cherry spent weeks on the road promoting it, joining Post Animal for a leg of their last national tour. With his recent announcement of a European tour, it doesn't look like Paul Cherry's tour schedule will be slowing down any time soon, so make sure you catch him in town this weekend. After his Saturday set at the festival, you can catch an official Pitchfork aftershow at Schubas on Sunday, July 22nd featuring Paul Cherry, Bunny, and Slow Pulp--get tickets here. 

Fun fact: Paul Cherry produced Anna Burch's album and sometimes plays in her touring band. 

When: Saturday, 1PM on the Green Stage

For Fans Of: Mild High Club, Post Animal, levitation room

Start With: "Hey Girl," "Like Yesterday," and "So Easy"

Kweku Collins

Who: 21-year-old rapper, producer, songwriter, and Evanston-native Kweku Collins makes his Chicago Pitchfork Festival debut this weekend (he played the annual Pitchfork Paris fest in 2016), and it certainly seems like it's been a long time coming. Despite his young age, Collins' discography holds a certain depth to it, which makes sense when you consider he grew up in a musical family and has been playing music for essentially his whole life. Collins' air of experience mixed with his refreshing take on hip hop has earned him endless praise for his debut Nat Love (2016) and the more recent grey EP released in 2017. The traction he's gained has taken him on to tour the country and play major festivals like our own Lollapalooza, so do not miss him this Sunday. If you're not going to the festival, you can also catch Collins at Schubas on July 21st--grab tickets here. 

When: Sunday, 2:30PM on the Green Stage

For Fans Of: Vic Mensa, Kid Cudi, Frank Ocean

Start With: "Lonely Lullabies" "Stupid Rose," "Vanilla Skies" 

The Curls

Who: Self-proclaimed art rockers The Curls have created a stand-out sound in a scene that can sometimes seem oversaturated. With multiple vocalists and the incorporation of different instrumentalists, the group has a chameleon-like quality, pulling together aspects of genres like psych, pop, and jazz to craft something of their own. Their last record, 2017's Super Unit, boasts ten tracks that sound nothing alike, in the best possible way. Their flexible and varying sound will be sure to keep audience members on their toes during their Pitchfork set, so make sure you don't miss it. Just in case you might get stuck at work and miss the very first set of the entire festival, you can also catch The Curls at The Hideout on Friday night with Deeper--get tickets here. 

When: Friday, 1PM on the Green Stage

For Fans Of: OHMME, Lala Lala, Palm

Start With: "Prickly Feelings," "I Can't Tell U," "Do It Right"


Who: Noise-rock group Melkbelly has continuously garnered buzz among the masses in Chicago's DIY scene since 2014, when friends of artistic and musical backgrounds came together to create this new project. After releasing their debut full length Nothing Valley last October via Wax Nine Records, the outfit has performed all across the city; From Thalia Hall to the Empty Bottle and Schubas to The Hideout, you'd be hard pressed to find a venue Melkbelly hasn't played. This weekend, the band can tick one more landmark achievement off their bucket list when they play Pitchfork Fest. If you've hit your Friday afternoon slump, this band will be sure to crank up the volume and get your blood flowing during their early Friday afternoon set. You can also check out Melkbelly with fellow Pitchfork performer Nnamdi Ogbonnaya at their official aftershow on Saturday, July 21st at SubT--grab tickets here. 

When: Friday, 1:45 PM on the Red Stage

For Fans Of: NE-HI, Flasher, Wolf Alice

Start With: "Kid Kreative," "Off the Lot," "Greedy Gull"

Nnamdi Ogbonnaya

Who: Songwriter, rapper, and multi-instrumentalist Nnamdi Ogbonnaya has become a seasoned musician playing in bands like Monobody and Ittō, but when he's not behind the drumkit, he's working on his own solo project. As a solo artist, Ogbonnaya doesn't shy away from the strange, creating completely unique eclectic hip hop tunes, like those on his 2017 album DROOL. His exuberance and busy beats will be sure to get you moving early on the final day of the festival. Like all of these artists, you have a second chance to catch Ogbonnaya if you find yourself running on empty on Sunday morning; he'll be playing with Melkbelly on Saturday at the SubT. Grab tickets here.

When: Sunday, 1PM on the Green Stage

For Fans Of: Shamir, Knox Fortune, Danny Brown

Start With: "hOp Off," "let gO Of my EgO," "nO drOOl"

If you've been snoozin', you can still purchase your 3-day passes or single day tickets to this year's Pitchfork. Single day tickets run from $75, or you can snag a 3 day pass for a discounted rate of $175. If you're feeling fancy, you can even upgrade to Pitchfork PLUS, which runs for $375. All ticket information can be found here