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Thousands of music fans returned to the familiar stomping grounds of Union Park for another successful Pitchfork Music Festival this past weekend. Looking at the thunderstorm-filled weather forecast during the days leading up to the festival, many of the festival goers speculated if the schedule would stay on track and if any sets would be canceled, but surprisingly the weather turned out to be close to perfect with minimal rain and lots of breeze. In addition to the ideal festival weather, P4K 2018 also featured more Chicago artists than it ever has in the past, and they also had a fair balance of female and male performers, which is something many other music festivals have failed to provide with recent line ups. If you missed out on the festival this year, dive in below to see what other standout moments happened over the weekend.
Julie Byrne and her her harpist eased the crowd into Day 1
Friday morning and early afternoon did end up having some rain showers, but by the time singer songwriter Julie Byrne took the stage just before 3PM, the drizzle had died down, leaving a cloudy, cool breeze in the air. Bryne's mellow music and ethereal vocals perfectly complimented the gray skies, giving everyone a tranquil introduction to their festival weekend. Byrne's live band also included a rare harpist, which further hypnotized the crowd and eased them into what would inevitably be a long weekend of lots of great music. Byrne also gave a shout out to Chicago when she reminisced on her time she spent living here, before playing her song "Melting Grid" from her 2017 album Not Even Happiness.
Julien Baker Captivated a Large Crowd on her Own
Most of the time when solo artists perform live, they're joined by a live band to help them fill out the arrangements and make a more dynamic performance, but Julien Baker took the stage at Pitchfork completely alone at the beginning of her set. Armed with her guitar and her powerful vocals, Baker completely captivated the large crowd that overflowed the area around the Blue Stage, opening with "Turn Out The Lights." After performing the title track of her latest album, the chilling track "Appointments" from the same album, Baker was eventually joined by a violinist, who added a special touch to Baker's narratives. Again, it's rare to witness a solo performance as powerful as Baker's but with her vocal gusto and emotive stage presence, her shows are always something special.
SYD Celebrated The Internet's New Album
Lead vocalist of The Internet and solo artist SYD hit one of the festival's main stages in the early evening hours, bringing her silky smooth vocals and effortlessly cool demeanor to the growing crowd. Earlier that day, The Internet had released their brand new album Hive Mind, and fans and Pitchfork were eager to see if any of the new songs would make it into SYD's solo set. After performing songs like "All About Me" and "Got Her Own" from 2017's Fin, as well as her Kaytranada collaboration "You're The One," SYD did in fact bring out some of The Internet to perform a few of their brand new tracks. The hypnotizing set finished with one of The Internet's most popular tracks, "Girl," allowing for the audience to get the full experience of SYD's discography.
Big Thief Made a Comeback
It seem's like the members of Brooklyn's Big Thief never take a day off; after releasing full albums in 2016 and 2017 and touring in between, Buck Meek of the group also somehow managed to release his debut solo album and tour it this year. Buck Meek has played a couple of times in Chicago as his solo project, but this performance at Pitchfork was the first time the full band had played a show in town this year, and they were welcomed back by the Chicago audience with open arms as they performed crowd favorites from both of their albums. Their show stood out among all of the performances of the weekend with lead vocalist Adrianne Lenker's emotive delivery of her narratives and the magnetic chemistry among the group.
Courtney Barnett Had a Hype Man
Before Courtney Barnett performed as the second to last act on Friday, flocks of fans had gathered in front of the red stage, anxiously buzzing for the Australian singer to take the stage. A lone fan started a chant for their apparent favorite song off Barnett's new album Tell Me How You Really Feel: "Nameless, Faceless." Before long, the majority of the crowd was chanting the song title along with the no longer lone fan and the anticipation for the show peaked. Barnett and her band rewarded the enthusiastic audience with another stand out set of the weekend, amplifying the already high energy on the studio versions of Barnett's records.
Tame Impala Made it Rain
Following Courtney Barnett's set, fellow Australians in Tame Impala hit the Green stage, closing out the first night of the festival. Before they even walked onstage, trippy lighting and visuals illuminated the stage, prefacing their psychedelic rock tunes. A couple of songs in, the rain that had been looming in the forecast all day finally fell upon the massive crowd watching Tame Impala, falling just after the band had already showered the front rows with confetti. The rain couldn't put a damper on the infectiously jovial mood of the audience, and the rain even added another dynamic layer to the multicolored visuals swirling around on the stage screens. Just as soon as it hit though, the rain had passed leaving the crowd to dance around in the aftermath of the storm.
Paul Cherry Played His Debut Album in Full
Chicago's own Paul Cherry checked a huge accomplishment off his bucket list when he opened up the second day of the festival. Cherry brought his dreamy psych-pop debut album to life with the help of a full band, which included Kevin Krauter from Hoops and Mat Roberts from Mild High Club. The super group performed the 2018 album Flavour in full--"even the instrumentals," as Cherry pointed out. Although the early set definitely had a thinner crowd than the later performances, plenty of festival goers made sure to get there on time and show their support to one of their own.
Zola Jesus Made a Theatrical Entrance
Singer songwriter Zola Jesus took the stage in the early afternoon to suspenseful introduction music, donning a layered red dress that covered her entire body and face. She began her set singing through the garment, eventually pushing the red veil back to reveal her face. The extensive catalog of Zola Jesus explores different sonic pockets, ranging from delicate piano melodies to ominous synths, but her powerful and evocative vocals always stand out on her records. During her Pitchfork performance, Zola Jesus and her band brought all those aspects of her records to life, pairing them with a simple yet theatrical production featuring her outfit and choreography. Despite the heaviness of her songs, between them, the singer made light-hearted banter with the crowd, shouting out any audience members from Wisconsin, where she had attended college.
Moses Sumney Walked the Catwalk
Moses Sumney's incredible vocal range and live band lineup that even included orchestral instruments would have been enough to make his set stand out as a highlight, but his showmanship and interaction with the audience is what really set his show apart from others. Sumney worked the entire stage as he played songs from his 2017 album Aromanticism and his latest single "Make Out in My Car," giving the whole audience his attention throughout the show. Towards the end of his set, Sumney got even more up close and personal with the crowd when he left the stage to walk up and down the catwalk barricade in front of the stage.
Girlpool Reminisced About Myspace
Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad, better known as Girlpool took the Blue Stage on Saturday afternoon, providing festival goers a chance to sit back and relax to their laidback indie rock tunes. Girlpool have a sound that's instantly like-able, drawing in a huge crowd of both their avid listeners as well as curious passerby looking to discover new music at a festival. Between songs, the pair made witty banter to keep the entertainment rolling; Harmony Tividad even reminisced about Myspace at one point, sipping Gatorade and recalling that she had once included the drink in her Myspace bio. The duo's natural stage presence continued to add another layer to their performance, making them a fan favorite.
Blood Orange Brought a Production and New Music
Dev Hynes, known by his stage name Blood Orange, returned to Pitchfork Music Festival this year, delivering a full production and new music. Hynes and his full band performed in front of revolving videos being projected on the screen behind them. In addition to the visual layer added to the performance, Hynes added choreography and dance moves as well as backup singers to fill out the layered production. While most of the set consisted of tracks from his 2016 album Freetown Sound, Hynes threw a couple of new songs in, including "Charcoal Baby" from his upcoming album Negro Swan, out August 24th.
Kweku Collins Had High School Classmates in the Audience
Evanston rapper and producer has been buzzed about in Chicago for a couple of years now, but his early Sunday performance marked his Pitchfork Chicago debut. Despite his 2:30PM start time on the third of the festival and the rainy morning, Collins still drew a large crowd of enthusiastic fans. Among the throngs of festival goers echoing the lyrics back to Collins, he recognized some of the audience members as his former high school classmates. Being 21, Collins admitted that his high school days weren't that long ago, but you could tell it meant a lot to him to have some hometown support. Collins also used his performance time to put his platform to good use; during his set he addressed one of the common issues at music festivals. "Guys watch your space. Your presence is not a burden until you make that shit a burden," continuing on to add that if we all go about it the right way and be respectful, everyone can have a great time. His statement set the tone for the final day of the festival and left everyone walking away with a smile.
RAVYN LENAE Made the Crowd Pinky Promise
Immediately following Kweku Collins' performance, another young Chicago artist took the Red Stage across the way: Ravyn Lenae. The R&B singer certainly made an entrance when she sauntered onstage draped in a sparkling fringe dress and carrying a microphone covered in red faux fur. Lenae's impressive range and vocal chops backed up her glittery stage set up, and she quickly had the crowd wrapped around her finger. Early on in her set, Lenae asked for the audience to raise their pinkies and promise to dance and sing along to her music, and they happily obliged.
Japanese Breakfast Collaborated With An Old Tour-mate
Michelle Zauner, known under her moniker of Japanese Breakfast, made her Pitchfork Festival debut with her usual exuberant stage presence, projecting that positivity out into the crowd. Following her incredible set that featured songs from her two albums as well as a cover of "Dreams" by The Cranberries, Zauner returned to the Blue Stage a short time later, this time joining her former tour mate (Sandy) Alex G during his set. The two had toured together in 2017, and at Pitchfork they reunited to perform the crowd favorite "Brite Boy."
Chicago Artists Made the City Proud
Chicago remained the name of the game on Sunday at Pitchfork; following the performances of Nnamdi Ogbonnaya, Kweku Collins, and Ravyn Lenae, the Chicago acts just kept rolling. Rapper Noname delivered a special show with her full backing band and a few guest appearances from her fellow Chicagoans Ravyn Lenae, Smino, Saba, and Joseph Chilliams. The guests during Noname's set showcased the collaborative nature in this city's music scene.
The legendary Chaka Khan, another Chicago native, took the Red Stage next, keeping the hometown theme going. Her set consisted of nonstop hits, from her solo songs like "I'm Every Woman" to "Ain't Nobody," as well as songs from her funk band Rufus, the crowd never stopped singing along.
Lauryn Hill Actually Showed Up
Throughout the entire day and even the entire weekend, festival goers continued to speculate if Lauryn Hill would show up, and if she did show up, how late she would be. The legendary artist has earned herself an infamous reputation for cancelling shows last minute or showing up hours late. Needless to say, no one really had high expectations as the night began to come to a close and the headliner was scheduled to begin, but everyone got a pleasant surprise when Ms. Hill's DJ took the stage right on time. After about thirty minutes of hype brought on by the DJ and her other band members who began to trickle onstage, Lauryn Hill finally graced the Green Stage, rewarding the swarm of eager fans that spanned multiple generations. The weekend ended on a high note as the festival goers got to celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill with the icon, who has since cancelled some of her upcoming tour dates.
Check out more photos of the entire weekend below
This weekend, my favorite festival Eaux Claires returned to the forest for round four.
Since year one, Eaux Claires curators Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner have worked with musicians and artists to cultivate a completely unique festival experience, with common themes of community, improvisation, and collaboration remaining present each year. At conventional festivals, the line up usually gets announced before tickets go on sale, the schedule is released weeks or months in advance... and that's that. At Eaux Claires, it's always been about the music and the bonds created by the artistic process, with secret appearances, pop up shows, and "artists in residence" who will play multiple times with different people throughout the weekend. This year, the festival one-upped themselves with their surprises and decided not to announce the lineup until the gates opened on Friday, which is certainly not for the faint of heart, but didn't stop the diehard music fans from making the annual trip. If you didn't take the gamble and make the trip to Eau Claire, check out the highlights of EXC 2018 below.
The Lineup Wasn't Announced Until 1PM on Friday
As I just mentioned, this year Eaux Claires organizers took the level of surprise and mystery surrounding the lineup one step further and didn't announce any artists until Friday afternoon, which acted as both a highlight and a downfall of this year's fest. Despite the air of mystery, regular Eaux Claires attendees had hunches as to who some of the performers would be, solely based on past festival line ups. Especially with the "Artists in Residence" aspect of the festival, there has been a network of certain musicians who have continuously come back to collaborate, play their own sets, or guest star with other artists (i.e Francis and the Lights, Sylvan Esso, Phil Cook, and of course Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner). With those traditions already set in, there were certain "usuals" that frequent EXC goers expected, and even the festival merchandise hinted at the usual players by making shirts that read "The Fourth Annual Family Reunion" and "It's Thanksgiving in the Summer." The curators still manage to keep the festival refreshing and unique despite that sense of familiarity by always bringing in a few of the year's best new artists and creating new collaborations and super group performances among artists. For example, one of the final performances on Friday night featured Vernon and Dessner's project Bid Red Machine playing in the round on the Flambeaux stage with a variety of guests like Julien Baker, Gordi, Chastity Brown, Bryce Dessner, and more joining them. So sure, you may have seen Big Red Machine at Eaux Claires the previous year, but you didn't experience it in the same way. All in all, the surprise lineup lead to many highlights throughout the weekend because it allowed for music fans to go with the flow and follow the music. There may have been a larger amount of criticism for the lack of new names or big names, but the fest certainly stayed true to its values of one-off unique experiences, regardless of the fear of backlash.
Francis Played Two Very Different Sets
This year, the festival also stepped up the art installation game by incorporating a few installations that actually had performances too. Early on Friday afternoon, Francis Starlite played The Jannette; which was essentially a triangular house with mirrors and a piano set in the middle of the woods. Fans of the singer songwriter, dancer, and frequent collaborator of Justin Vernon crowded around the small makeshift stage to experience a rare, stripped back performance of his songs. Later on, more fans got the chance to experience Francis in full capacity, along with some friends during the time slot on the schedule that was simply titled "Friends." (Again, there's that element of surprise...) Most people were savvy enough to figure out who would be playing during that time slot and again crowded around the round Flambeaux stage, where Francis climbed, crowd surfed, and danced with the audience to his own hits like "See Her Out" and "May I Have This Dance," as well as Kanye's song "Lift Yourself." While some of the second performance featured Francis performing solo again, he was joined by Justin Vernon and S. Carey for a few, including "Just For Us" and "Friends."
Julien Baker Was Joined by Hanif Abdurraqib
Singer songwriter Julien Baker played on just about every stage throughout the weekend, making guest appearances with the likes of The National and Big Red Machine, but her main performance on the Lake Eaux Lune stage acted as a stand out moment of all of Friday's performances. Baker began her set standing on the stage by herself, mesmerizing the large audience with her delicate guitar strumming and heartfelt narratives, before being joined by a violinist. Later, Baker was also joined by poet Hanif Abdurraqib, who read his poetry over the sounds of Baker's strums. Introducing Abdurraqib, Julien said, "This is a special festival with a special protocol, so I'm gonna bring out my friend Hanif." Once again, Eaux Claires presented a completely unique collaboration of artists-- not just musicians, but creators of completely different mediums and genres were able to produce something special.
Hand Habits Played a House Show at at Festival
Similar to the installation that Francis performed at earlier in the day, musician Meagan Duffy's brainchild Hand Habits performed later that evening at another art installation deemed the Music Box Village. The installation looked like a cross between a house and a playground structure, allowing for festival goers to walk through it when a show wasn't happening, but it also acted as a completely unique stage. "It's cool to play a house show at a festival," Duffy remarked about the installation, perfectly describing the rare set up. The Music Box Village hosted other artists like Phil Cook, Gordi, and Julien Baker throughout the weekend, providing the perfect little nook to watch bands in a relaxed and stripped down setting. This space still allowed for fans to have a good vantage point, unlike some of the smaller stages in the woods, which often got too cramped to allow most fans to enjoy the performances.
Phil Cook Said It's Okay to Talk to Strangers
Eaux Claires regular Phil Cook's Friday evening set easily tied with The National's show for my favorite show of the weekend. Growing up in Chippewa Falls, Cook has been a part of the Eaux Claires process since its beginning due to his ties to the community, but this year he had a brand new album called People Are My Drug to perform to the EXC family. Cook's band for this performance, which happened to also be the band he made his latest record with, included Chastity Brown and Amelia Meath from Sylvan Esso, among others. "Everyone that was on the record is playing this show. This is the only time this is gonna happen," he told the audience. Cook also gifted the crowd with an inspiring speech, calling attention to the support of his tight-knit community, but also encouraging everyone in the audience to share their stories and absorb the stories of others. "Talk to strangers," he said, mentioning that his dad's record collection gave him access to the outside world via stories in the songs he heard, but he has gained so much from talking to strangers. In addition to his new music and motivational speech, Cook also had Nick Sanborn of Sylvan Esso come onstage to perform their song "PARAD(w/m)E" in honor of his son's birthday, and the set closed with an infectious, mood-boosting cover of "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher."
Francis Led a Dance Lesson....Again
Last year, early arrivers of the festival got a notification shortly after the gates opened that Francis Starlite would be teaching dance in 30 minutes, and those with the festival app or those that wandered by were treated with a last minute surprise that acted as a highlight of the entire weekend. The impromptu dance lesson was so successful that this year it was actually penciled in on the schedule that rolled out on Friday afternoon, and the Saturday dance lessons ended up drawing more people for a 2PM time slot than most early performers at major festivals. This time around, Francis amped up his dance lessons, jumping into the crowd a few times to dance with the groups of people hoarded around the stage, as well as cartwheeling and doing the splits in front of the crowd. The dance class set the tone for day two and left everyone walking away from the stage exuding positive energy.
Phoebe Bridgers Started a Cult
Saturday marked Phoebe Bridgers first time at Eaux Claires, but she certainly made the most of her time by playing her own set before singing as a guest with The National and the People Mixtape performance. During her own early evening set at the Flambeaux stage, Bridgers attracted a large audience at the round stage, all eager to hear her witty and honest lyrical tales. Despite the serious and sometimes somber tone of her narratives, Bridgers and her band lightened up the mood with funny banter between songs. For example, Bridgers invited her friend and singer songwriter Christian Lee Hutson up and joked that they were going to start a cult together-- "a fun, woods cult" she said. "Not a kill yourself cult. A die-of-natural causes cult," Hutson added. The beautiful harmonies between Bridgers and Hutson were certainly mesmerizing enough to make me want to join their cult, and I'm sure most of the crowd agree, since everyone walked away from the show raving about how incredible it had been. The pair kept the lighthearted jokes going when Bridgers gave the spotlight to Hutson to sing a song he had written after playing in her band for only a week.
Moses Sumney Got the Crowd to Assist With a New Song
Moses Sumney returned for his second Eaux Claires, having performed back in 2016. With his incredible vocal range and captivating live show, it's no wonder Sumney got asked to return again, and he came back with some new music to share with fans. For one of his new songs, he sang out a low note and asked everyone to sing it back to him and keep it going like they were "trying to make the stage fall down." The audience obliged and Sumney and his band built up the rest of the song's beat as the crowd held out the note. Sumney mentioned that during his live show, he doesn't use any backing tracks or prerecorded sound thanks to help of his band, and little moments like a festival crowd holding out a note add to the organic and unique nature of live music and the community surrounding it. Sumney's entire set felt inclusive and stayed true to the core values of Eaux Claires festival.
Noname Taught The Crowd to Rap
Chicago rapper and poet Noname made her first appearance at Eaux Claires, drawing a massive crowd to the House of Vans stage, where she also encouraged crowd participation. She and her band kept the mood light and relaxed, laughing and having fun throughout the set, which kept the crowd smiling and entertained during the sunny afternoon set. Noname would preface most of her songs with a backstory about the lyrics, and sometimes the introduction included instructions on how to rap the hooks and choruses with her. The crowd eagerly echoed the words back to Noname, giving her a warm introduction to the festival.
Pussy Riot Educated the Crowd
Moscow collective Pussy Riot kept the crowd intrigued for the duration of their evening set at the Lake Eaux Lune stage, beginning their show with an informational video containing several political facts, which often had the crowd cheering in reaction. When the group members eventually took the stage, they wore matching lime green ski masks to promote a united front. Their songs also contained powerful political messages which reiterated what they had communicated in their introduction video and acted as a call to action for all of those watching their performance. Their set definitely stood out as different from anything else that weekend, which kept the festival goers on their toes and acted as an inspiration for people to use their voices and platforms.
The National Incorporated Satellite Stages and a Lot of Guests
Co-curator of Eaux Claires Aaron Dessner and his bandmates filled the final spot of the Flambeaux stage for the weekend, utilizing it to the fullest to put on a magical, one-of-a-kind performance. By the time the group hit the stage, the sun had already set, so a simple, yet stunning lighting show illuminated the stage for this performance under the stars. The National's 90 minute set that night stood out for more reasons than the breathtaking architecture of the stage; In classic Eaux Claires fashion, the band invited several of the artists in residence and other performers to join them and they premiered a couple of new songs. While Phoebe Bridgers, Chastity Brown, Sharon Van Etten, and Gordi all joined The National on the main stage to lend their vocals to certain songs, their guest list also included Julien Baker, who performed from a makeshift satellite stage off to the side. An identical pop up stage situated on the other side of the Flambeaux hosted varying percussionists throughout the show, but Baker's shining moment included her on the other side performing her song "Appointments," which immediately transitioned into The National's "Fake Empire." The final vocal assistance during this set came from none other than the crowd themselves during "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks," which was performed unplugged and with the entire crowd singing together. The National's shows are usually amazing in any setting, but there was something extraordinary about witnessing them perform with so many other talented musicians on a customized stage under a clear, star-speckled sky.
After The National's show, most fans stuck around for People mixtape on the main stage, which acted as one more giant collaboration between Justin Vernon and other performers on the lineup, as well as a dance group and Iron Boy. The festival may not have ended on the same note as it did two years ago, when Francis and the Lights debuted a new album in full before being joined by Vernon and Chance the Rapper, or last year when Paul Simon and Wilco closed out the weekend, but if nothing else, the final performances of 2018 showcased the Eaux Claires traditions that have been built up over the past few years.
Chicago-based music tastemakers Audiotree may be best known for some of their studio sessions with your favorite bands, but this past Friday and Saturday, they took over downtown Kalamazoo to bring some of those musicians to one stage for their annual festival. Although Audiotree, a big part of the crowd, and a few of the acts on the lineup all hailed from Chicago, the festival did a great job of curating local fare by bringing in Michigan based food trucks and beer from local breweries. The curators also succeeded in booking a diverse lineup that featured everything from psych rock to rap music. While there was never a dull moment over the course of those two days, here are the moments that stole the show.
Noname Drew in the Friday Evening Crowd
Chicago's on the rise spoken word artist/vocalist/rapper Noname has already had an unstoppable year, playing major festivals like Osheaga and Lollapalooza. Her sunset performance at Audiotree Music Festival on Friday evening completely hooked the small, but mighty festival crowd with her compelling cadence. Her 45 minute set included some of her most popular tracks like "Diddy Bop" and "Reality Check," as well as some shoutouts to fellow Chicagoans like Saba and Kanye West. One of the most memorable moments in her set happened only a few songs in when she told the crowd they could move up, and there was a notable shift of everyone rushing forward to soak in the magnetic performance. Noname will be performing Concord Music Hall in November as part of Red Bull's 30 Days in Chicago, so make sure you catch her there if you missed her summer festival performances!
Lizzo Activated and Instilled Confidence in the Crowd
Hip Hop singer Lizzo brought a vivacious and energetic performance to the Audiotree Festival stage, but her nonstop show also featured a powerful message. While she encouraged the crowd to dance and sing along to her songs like "Phone" and "Water Me," she also encouraged everyone to take a stand in the world. Mentioning some of the current problems of the world, Lizzo said the only way to get through the horrible happenings is to come together and activate. She also instilled the confidence in her audience that they can all do whatever they put their mind to, no matter what anybody says. She put on an inspiring show just a couple weeks back at Loufest, but every time she hits a stage, Lizzo spreads positivity and love. You can also catch her in Chicago this November with Red Bull Sound Select's 30 Day festival.
Campdogzz Warmed Up the Crowd During the Day's Peak Heatwave
Chicago's own Campdogzz warmed up the stage on the second day of Audiotree Music Festival. Although the seasons technically shifted into Fall a few days ago, the temperature during Campdogzz's set was reminiscent of the dog days of Summer, reaching mid 90s...with humidity. Although the temperature during their 30 minute set was nearly unbearable, lead singer Jessica Price's unique voice and the chemistry displayed between the band members still got the crowd engaged. The group flawlessly performed new songs off of an upcoming album, which all held onto their signature sound, but showcased their development and expansion as musicians since their last album.
Liz Cooper's Set Brought on a Wind Tunnel
The Nashville based nomad Liz Cooper and her band (aka The Stampede) kept it cool while they played through their laid back, country-tinged rock tunes. Throughout the set, the band's easygoing nature shone through, especially when Liz made the most of the fan onstage, which gave her a natural windswept look as she sang her songs with her signature earnest and raspy vocals. Throughout the set, you could tell Liz and her bandmates were enjoying themselves, which translated to the crowd getting lost in the moment too.
Active Bird Community Made Their Michigan Debut
NYC's Active Bird Community has been playing together since they were in middle school, for more than ten years, but when they hit the stage on day two of ATMF, they mentioned that the festival was their first time playing in Michigan. Although they'd never played nearby before, the music hungry crowd eagerly absorbed songs from the band's earlier days and their 2017 album called Stick Around.
Charly Bliss Played New Songs While Jetlagged
The Brooklyn based four piece fronted by Eva Hendricks also performed in the peak of Saturday's heat wave, but they still got the crowd into their show and moving in the sun. Decked out in a baby pink dress, Hendricks completely rocked the stage with her bandmates, even though they'd just gotten back from a tour around The U.K. Hendricks told the crowd they'd be performing a few new ones, and they went over incredibly well despite the jet lag.
Pinegrove Got Shady
Pinegrove frontman Evan Stephens Hall took the stage during Pinegrove's late afternoon set donning green sunglasses that matched his t-shirt, due to the blazing hot sun still beaming down on the audience and stage. After a few songs, Hall told the crowd that he wished he didn't have to wear the sunglasses because "eyes are the best way to show you mean it" but he asked the crowd to trust him anyways. Despite the sunglasses barrier, Hall and his bandmates still managed to connect with the crowd, who were all ardently echoing the words back to songs like "Old Friends" and "Cadmium." If you're based in Chicago and missed Pinegrove's set, go see them at Thalia Hall this November, where Hall will be performing sans sunglasses.
Twin Peaks Played Some Sweet Singles
The energy of day two at Audiotree Music Festival peaked (pun intended) when Chicago legends Twin Peak hit the stage with a surge of energy that never lulled. Their hour long set included some of their most popular tracks like "Butterfly," "Walk To The One You Love," and "Making Breakfast," but the band also performed some of their "Sweet '17 Singles" like "Tossing Tears" and "Shake You Lonely" for one of the first few times. Twin Peaks always steals the show when they're part of a lineup, but this refresh to their setlist added another layer to their usually incredible show. Twin Peaks will be taking over Chicago's Thalia Hall for three nights at the end of December, so ring in 2018 with one of their rowdy performances.
King Gizzard Dedicated a Song to Charles Bradley
During the early afternoon on Saturday, news broke that the soulful legend Charles Bradley had passed away. A few songs into King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's 90 minute set that night, the seven piece band dedicated a song to Mr. Bradley, with vocalist/guitarist/flutist Stu Mackenzie saying, "This one's for Chuck." Outside of the heartfelt dedication, their headlining set kept up a pulsating pace that never let up and included several live debuts of tracks from the group's first album of 2017, called Murder of the Universe. Their explosive set acted as the perfect wrap up of Audiotree Music Festival 2017. Some lucky Chicagoans got to witness a similar performance at Lincoln Hall last night, and the super group returns again tonight with Mild High Club.
Check out the full gallery featuring Noname, Lizzo, SuperDuperKyle, Campdogzz, Liz Cooper and the Stampede, Active Bird Community, Charly Bliss, Pinegrove, BadBadNotGood, Twin Peaks, and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard!
We had a blast at Loufest last weekend seeing some of our favorite artists perform across three stages. Read our Day 1 and Day 2 highlights, and now check out our full photo gallery from both days below.
Saturday gallery featuring Hippo Campus, Middle Kids, Ron Gallo, Cage the Elephant. Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and Snoop Dog.