If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of nine Pitchfork Music Festivals (including the inaugural Intonation Festival) it’s that I often leave with the acts on the blue stage having left the biggest impression. Maybe it’s the more “intimate” setting, or maybe it’s just the thrill of discovering something new, either way here are a few acts from this year’s festival, who are performing on the blue stage, that I’m excited to see:
5:15 The Haxan Cloak
Now, this is an instance where it could completely fail, minimal dark electronic music while it’s still light out doesn’t sound the best on paper (a common problem at Pitchfork). Nevertheless, Bobby Krlic’s collaboration with the Body from this year “I Shall Die Here” is a stunning hunk of gut pounding electro sludge metal. So, if he brings that kind of noise to the field on Friday, it’ll make for a compelling experience.
7:45 p.m. FKA Twigs
Being wedged in between St. Vincent and Neutral Milk Hotel is a tough draw, especially for a newer artist like Tahliah Barnett who only released her first EP a year and a half ago. This slot reminds me of 2012 when Grimes and Purity Ring, both played breakout sets on the blue stage. I’m hoping for the same sort of performance from FKA Twigs on saturday night. Her most recent single “Two Weeks” is a smooth piece of electro-wrapped R&B reminiscent of both Grimes and Bat for Lashes. Catch the first few songs from St. Vincent then hit the blue stage for this one.
The entire lineup on Sunday is stacked from top to bottom and this is no different on the Blue Stage.
Get there early for Speedy Ortiz at 1 p.m.
This is one of the sets I’m most looking forward to, ever since I heard “American Horror” for the first time earlier this year, I’ve had it on repeat. It’s the kind of guitar driven, fuzz filled indie rock we’ve seen from a number of bands the past few years and the way Speedy Ortiz can effortlessly spit out one hook after another puts them up there with the best of them. Throw in Sadie Dupuis killer vocals and you’ve got a winning formula. The crowd may be small but it’s a great way to kick off what’s sure to be a great day.
1:55 p.m. Perfect Pussy
I would say Perfect Pussy inhabits the Savages biggest hype slot for this year’s fest, they are a good follow up to Speedy Ortiz, with a harder edged sound and a reportedly confrontational stage presence, could make for an raucous show. It will be interesting to see if people show up early for this one too, if they do, I guarantee they’ll be moving.
4:45 p.m. Jon Hopkins
Another one that may fall flat in the middle of the day. Often dreamy and spare electronic music, it also may come as a welcome respite, after the driving music earlier in the day. His newest single “We Disappear” which features British soul artist Lulu James is a, well, soulful R&B cut, that has just the right amount of electronic experimentation from Hopkins to make it both solidly poppy and sonically fascinating. I guess the question is will he be able to compete with Schoolboy Q across the way.
5:45 p.m. Majical Cloudz
Devon Welsh and Matthew Otto made my favorite album from 2013 with Impersonator, a deeply personal and haunting record that consists of Welsh on vocals and Otto on Keyboards/Synth/Electronic/Drum Machine/etc. They’re also going to have to deal with the larger setting and daytime slot, being just a two piece, but they are capable of making a big sound and I have heard reports that they’ve been putting on compelling sets complete with new songs. We interviewed Welsh and Otto and shot some of their set last year when they headlined at Schuba’s. There was a great moment during their song “Childhood’s End” where Otto’s synth unexpectedly cut out at the climactic chorus, without missing a beat Welsh plowed ahead and held that room simply with the strength and intensity of his vocal. It’ll be fascinating to see him do the same thing with the blue stage crowd on Sunday evening.