Live Recap: Doubleheader From Lala Lala and Grapetooth Celebrates Chicago and Collaboration
After the last set at Union Park on Friday, music fans made their way to Metro for a double-header Pitchfork aftershow with Lala Lala and Grapetooth. The night started with a DJ set from Title TK, who had the crowd dancing as they settled in for the night and waited for Lala Lala to take the stage.
With the crowd warmed up, Lillie West and her bandmates began their set around 10:30, filling the room with dreamy melodies and captivating harmonies. West has always been at the center of Lala Lala and toured with an array of different musicians, but her band roster for Pitchfork weekend included some of the best musicians based out of Chicago at the moment—including V.V. Lightbody, KAINA, Sen Morimoto and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya. As the group played through songs from Lala Lala’s 2018 album The Lamb, the dynamic and multi-faceted nature of West’s songwriting was showcased. Songs like “Scary Movie” and “See You at Home” took a step back and slowed things down, with the latter featuring Sen Morimoto on saxophone. “Spy” and “Water Over Sex” built up the energy and momentum, creating a juxtaposition between the smoother, more subtle songs of the night.
By the end of Lala Lala’s set, the venue had mostly filled in, and the rowdy crowd beckoned Grapetooth onstage by chanting “Friday Night! Up All Night! Red wine in my blood tonight!”—which has become a tradition of sorts at Grapetooth’s past shows in Chicago at venues like Lincoln Hall and Thalia Hall.
While the show would eventually end in a much more intense way, Grapetooth began their set with one half of the duo, Clay Frankel, taking the stage for a solo performance of a new song—armed with just his guitar and harmonica. Following the gentle introduction, Grapetooth co-founder Chris Bailoni and drummer Justin Vittori took the stage to play the single “Violent” from the band’s 2018 debut album. As soon as the chorus for “Violent” kicked in, audience members were already up in the air crowd surfing and throwing each other around in a sweaty mosh pit. The dance party continued for the first half of the set, and eventually Frankel and Bailoni welcomed their friend and Chicago musician James Swanberg to the stage right around midnight. Swanberg’s bit kicked off a steady roll of guest appearances; Lillie West returned to the stage to perform a new song she co-wrote with Grapetooth, followed by an appearance from OHMME, who sang backing vocals on “Red Wine.” Next, Ian Sweet and James Swanberg joined OHMME for the second to last song “Imagine On”— and finally, a whole bunch of friends crashed the stage for the closing song of the night: Grapetooth’s debut single '“Trouble.” While the band’s friends joined them onstage to dance and sing the catchy, mischievous anthem, the crowd continued to go wild, ending the night (and day one of Pitchfork Fest) with a bang.