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The Pitchfork Experience 2013

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And just like that, festival season is almost over. Now all that’s left is to keep frantically reloading StubHub and hoping the price of sold-out Lolla passes starts going down. Until then, entertain yourself with our coverage of the 2013 edition of Pitchfork Music Festival: reviews, essays and photos galore.

Rats having sex, a grandfather’s windmill and more of the “Tattoos of Pitchfork.”

See every act at Pitchfork reviewed… by Pitchfork itself.

Pitchfork’s headliners might be getting more and more high-profile and overblown, but it’s the midday acts who keep things real.

Read about the rainy dance party that will remind you what this whole “music festival” thing is all about.

And then there are photos…. Read the rest of this entry »

Dancing in the Rain at Pitchfork 2013: Fun with Belle & Sebastian

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Photo: Christian Holub

Photo: Christian Holub

By Christian Holub

Glancing at this year’s lineup, you could be forgiven for assuming that the annual summer Pitchfork Music Festival seeks to quantifiably organize music as much as its home website’s ten-point rating scale. Each day’s lineup seemed to focus on a particular genre of music: Saturday’s acts skewed toward hard, noisy rock, while Sunday was clearly the day for hip-hop. And while those umbrellas did prove pretty accurate (I watched four rap sets on Sunday, and that’s not even counting TNGHT, the electronic duo whose trap beats are all over recent prominent rap albums like “Yeezus”), they were far from all-encompassing. Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping It Real at Pitchfork 2013: Sunday in the Park with Killer Mike

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photo by Christian Holub

Photo: Christian Holub

By John Wilmes

Pitchfork, every year, is one thing: hot. This conversion of much of live music’s capital, from venues to festivals, is somewhat maddening, indeed. I, like the rest of you, have a quite finite sum of money, and have a hard time denying myself the value of seeing several quality acts, in one day, at a severely discounted rate. I am the definition of a simian—I can be manipulated any which way by the shine of a VALUE. I can be led to withstand the body-crunching torment of ninety-three humid degrees in a large park easily a few thousand people beyond its sane capacity, all of them bottle-necking toward the same handful of things. I even like it, too, as this is something like the fifth year in a row that I’ve done this thing. I can’t WAIT to see Killer Mike. Read the rest of this entry »

The Tattoos of Pitchfork 2013

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By Christian Holub and Charlie Puckett

The heat at Pitchfork this year made skin the top fashion choice and we were, for the most part, happy to see it. Those who shed their modesty and were emboldened to display their goods weren’t sharing the kind that made you see “Titanic” or not ask a question in health class. The goods these Pitchfork attendees preferred to share were the works of their tattoo artists and the visual stories their ink told. Mix an indie music festival devoted to subcultural tastes with a blaring sun and, naturally, you’re going to see as much as you are going to hear. We asked some of those willing to share their skin to share the stories behind their pieces and this is what we got: Read the rest of this entry »

Pitchfork on Pitchfork

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Photo: Christian Holub

Photo: Christian Holub

By Christian Holub

This weekend we went to Pitchfork Music Festival. If you didn’t and want to know how it was, we’ve tried to give you a sense of what transpired through photos and set reviews. But just in case you don’t trust us, and want a 1-10 numerical review of the fest straight from the source, here is how Pitchfork has rated all the acts that played Pitchfork Music Festival this year.

We went through all the festival acts, found every review Pitchfork had ever given them and averaged it out to give each artist a rating. We then used those averages to give each day of the festival a 1-10 rating. All those statistics are below. Before that, here are some interesting superlatives: Read the rest of this entry »

The Pitchfork Plan: Five Must-See, Under-the-Radar Acts

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Photo: Joseph Mohan

Photo: Joseph Mohan

By Christian Holub

Summer rolls on in Chicago, and with it comes a staple of the summer music scene: the Pitchfork Music Festival. This year, Pitchfork  takes place July 19-21 in Union Park, and features dozens and dozens of acts. The headliners will probably occupy most of your attention when checking out the lineup (R. Kelly!!) but there are many up-and-coming musicians playing the festival who are definitely worth checking out. Here is a quick guide to five of them.


Several mixtapes released over the past year have helped restore a sense of energy and national recognition to Chicago hip-hop that’s been missing since Kanye dropped “The College Dropout.” Two extremes have emerged: the angry lyrics and pounding beats of Chief Keef on the one hand, and the warm soul of Chance the Rapper on the other. The music of Tremaine Johnson, who raps as Tree, exists in between those two. Tree refers to his brand of music as “soul trap.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Pitchfork Experience 2012

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Put it in the books, sink your teeth into those neighborhood festivals and get ready for Lollapalooza—Pitchfork 2012 is through. Don’t go diving off the live-music deep end just yet, though, as we’ve got you covered with recaps, essays, photos and all the absurd music-festival banter you were too drunk to remember or too shocked to ever forget:

“Show us your tits!” at “Overheard at Pitchfork 2012″

Satisfy your critical appetite by trying “Single Servings: Bite-Sized Reviews of Pitchfork 2012″ Read the rest of this entry »

Hometown Pitchfork Music

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Outer Minds/Photo: Maddie Rehayem

By Maddie Rehayem

Showing up on time for Pitchfork each day was rewarding because of the lesser-known local acts in the lineup this year. Of course it’s exciting to have bands, DJs and rappers come in from around the United States, Canada and overseas, but having a few Chicago acts on the bill keeps the festival grounded and proves to festivalgoers as diverse as the artists on the bill that our city can hold its own in the world of music.

The first local band I saw was the first band to play at Pitchfork this year, Outer Minds. They play that kind of garage rock that I find impossible not to enjoy, no matter how well or how poorly it is executed. A fun band, refreshing and just too cool, their set was perfect for ringing in this year’s fest. Read the rest of this entry »

Overheard at Pitchfork 2012

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We saw a lot of weird stuff at Pitchfork this year, not including Lady Gaga checking out Kendrick Lamar. Mostly, though, we heard a lot of weird stuff—and that’s not even counting the music playing on stage. These are a few of those highlights, coming from the people on stage, in the crowd and by the fifty-odd  Porta-Potties in the middle of the park.

Photo: Maddie Rehayem

“Don’t want to hear no digital shit!” –Shirtless guy emotionally preparing for Olivia Tremor Control to start

“Y’all have been very nice watching me be self-indulgent.” –Willis Earl Beal

“Wow there is a massive crowd here.” –Security guard at Japandroids, just before pulling out a dozen crowd surfers

“Let’s first pee a little and then let’s eat something.”

“It’s getting Feisty.” –Walking toward the Green Stage to see Feist

“Show us your tits!” –Yelled at Feist, as people slow dance in crowd

“Hey look, Daddy’s on that screen over there. I gave birth to all of you. It took twelve hours under the sign of Saturn.” –Atlas Sound talking to crowd, pointing toward video screen Read the rest of this entry »

Single Servings: Bite-Sized Reviews of Pitchfork 2012

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Bite-sized reviews of the shows we caught this weekend. Dig in.

Dirty Projectors/Photo: Maddie Rehayem


Outer Minds. The band opened Pitchfork 2012 with sunny-day garage rock in their hometown Chicago after a rain delay.

Lower Dens. Few people heard of them before Friday, but Jana Hunter and Co. showed they could rock and were one of the best early afternoon bands of the weekend.

Willis Earl Beal. Whiskey bottle in hand, Willis Earl Beal performed in front of the street he told the crowd he used to ride his bike down. Key word: “performed,” swinging his mike and jumping around stage—until the last song—with nothing but a tape deck to back him up. Read the rest of this entry »