Pitchfork Music Festival kicks off this Friday, July 19th and as always, there’s no shortage of Chicago musicians and bands slated to perform this year. Before you head out to Union Park to experience another packed weekend of live music, brush up on our favorite Chicago artists performing this year.
Ric Wilson’s bouncy, disco-inspired raps have an infectious energy about them, which carries over to his charismatic stage presence. Blending funk, R&B, and smooth hip-hop, Wilson’s work on his EPs BANBA and Negrow Disco, as well as his latest single “Yelllowbrick,” offers a little something for everyone. While he’s able to connect with listeners through his lyricism, Wilson connects best with his audience during his interactive live performances— there’s no doubt he’ll have the full crowd dancing along to his Pitchfork set. Plus, with an extensive catalog of collaborations with fellow Chicago musicians, chances are we’ll have a special guest or two pop up during Wilson’s set.
For Fans Of: Kweku Collins, Joey Purp, Saba
Start With: “No Hands,” “Hang Loose,” and “Yellowbrick”
Where To Catch Him: Saturday, Red Stage at 1:45-2:25pm
Fronted by London-born, Chicago-based singer songwriter Lillie West, Lala Lala has performed at just about every venue in the city and toured nationally, sharing the stage with bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Frankie Cosmos and Wolf Parade. Lala Lala’s music has connected with a wide-array of audiences thanks to West’s knack for honest and introspective storytelling through her lyrics and her fearless exploration of different sonic landscapes on the 2018 album The Lamb. Make sure you get to the festival early on Saturday to catch a set from West and her band, which will likely be packed with veteran musicians of Chicago’s scene.
For Fans Of: Madeline Kenney, Jay Som, Soccer Mommy
Start With: “Water Over Sex,” “Scary Movie,” and “I Get Cut”
Where to Catch Them: Saturday, Green Stage at 1:00-1:40pm
Chicago singer-songwriter Tasha has been on a roll since releasing a stunning debut Alone at Last in 2018 via Father/Daughter Records. The record garnered praise from listeners and critics with Tasha’s blend of soothing vocals, gentle melodies and poetic lyrics. This year, Tasha has embarked on her first national tour, playing with artists like Helado Negro and Hand Habits, as well as performing at SXSW. Tasha’s self-described “bed songs” that combine indie pop with a soulful touch will ease Pitchfork goers into the third day of the fest, allowing for a tranquil moment to start the final day.
For Fans Of: Gia Margaret, Jamila Woods, Sir Babygirl
Start With: “Lullaby,” “New Place,” and “Winter Song IV”
Where to catch her: Sunday, Blue Stage at 2:45-3:30pm
A collaboration between Twin Peaks’ Clay Frankel and producer/songwriter Chris Bailoni, Grapetooth’s synth-heavy, new-wave sound translates into a spirited and raucous live performance, which make the perfect Friday afternoon act to get everyone ready for the long weekend ahead. Since Frankel and Bailoni teamed up and released their first single in 2017, they’ve followed that up with a debut full length release via Polyvinyl Records and played sold out shows across the city. From Lincoln Hall to Thalia Hall, each of Grapetooth’s shows have no shortage of dancing and shenanigans— most of their shows have ended up with the audience joining the band onstage for their closing song, “Trouble.”
For Fans Of: New Order, Knox Fortune, Broncho
Start With: “Trouble,” “Blood,” and “Red Wine”
Where to Catch Them: Friday, Blue Stage at 4:00-4:45pm
Whitney is returning to play their second Pitchfork, having first played in 2016 following the release of their debut album. Besides already playing Pitchfork, Whitney has also played Lollapalooza and sold out, back-to-back shows at venues like Thalia Hall, so chances are you’ve seen them play at one point or another. However, this show at Pitchfork marks their first Chicago performance of the new era; Whitney’s second album Forever Turned Around is slated for release on August 30th. Their set at the festival will undoubtedly feature the live premiere of some of the new music, so don’t miss out on the Chicago kick off for Whitney’s highly-anticipated new music.
For Fans Of: Kevin Morby, Durand Jones & The Indications, Courtney Barnett
Start With: “Giving Up,” “Golden Days,” and “No Woman”
Where to Catch Them: Sunday, Green Stage at 6:15-7:15pm