Big Thief, Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul, King Krule, Deeper play Day 2 of Pitchfork amid weather delays, set cancellations

Weather issues wreaked havoc with the schedule, shortening some sets in Union Park and scuttling planned performances by Panda Bear + Sonic Boom, Snail Mail and Palm.

SHARE Big Thief, Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul, King Krule, Deeper play Day 2 of Pitchfork amid weather delays, set cancellations

Adrianne Lenker performs with Big Thief on Saturday, the second day of Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Several weather delays wreaked havoc with the schedule at Day 2 of Pitchfork Music Festival.

In the first hour Saturday, weather worries scuttled Palm’s performance and delayed start times on sets by Black Belt Eagle Scout and others. Then the word went out at 4:40 p.m. that festivalgoers should evacuate Union Park due to ominous clouds and the threat of lightning. By 5 p.m. rain was also falling.

Sets by Panda Bear + Sonic Boom and Snail Mail had been canceled by the time fans were invited back at 5:45 p.m..

But there was great music to be heard when the skies permitted. Here’s a look at seven sets from Saturday afternoon and evening:

Big Thief

The huge, attentive crowd that gathered to cheer Saturday headliner Big Thief illustrated the symbiotic nature of the Pitchfork ecosystem, wherein both the bands and the music journalism website greatly benefit. After all, would that many attendees have even become fans of folk-rock group Big Thief were it not for Pitchfork?

Big Thief played the festival’s Blue stage in 2018, then graduated to the Red stage in 2021, and closed out the music Saturday night with an 80-minute set on the massive Green stage. With all the other stages silent, Big Thief was the center of attention.

The show was a career milestone for the quartet, led by singer, songwriter and guitarist Adrianne Lenker, who has emerged as one of the premier tunesmiths of her generation. Gifted with a dynamic vocal range and a keen knack for observing human behavior, Lenker was a charismatic presence Saturday, backed by guitarist Buck Meek, bassist Max Oleartchik and drummer James Krivchenia.

Highlights from the set included “Dried Roses,” “Simulation Swarm” and other songs from the band’s brilliant, sprawling 2022 double album, “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You.”

Hardcore fans were treated to a new, dazzling tune, reportedly titled “Seam,” part of a segment that featured Lenker alone on acoustic guitar. Nothing conveys commitment to one’s art like playing a relatively quiet, solo acoustic number on an enormous festival stage.

Another high point was the new single “Vampire Empire,” one of the best songs in the band’s oeuvre and an indication that Lenker’s artistic evolution likely will reach even more astounding heights in the future.

For the final song of the night, Lenker’s brother Noah sat in to play the jaw harp, adding cartoon-like whimsy to the hypnotic “Spud Infinity,” just as he did on the recorded version on “Dragon.”

In an interview with the Sun-Times last month, Puja Patel, Pitchfork editor in chief, reflected on the career of Big Thief: “It feels kind of powerful as a publication to say, ‘We believed in you back when you were a tiny, little band. We were moved by you then, and we have been with you on this journey the whole way.’ ” —Bobby Reed

Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul

Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul perform on the Blue Stage on the second day of Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park.

Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul perform on the Blue Stage on the second day of Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The duo Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul turned the tree-lined Blue Stage setting into a bumping, thumping European dance club Saturday night.

One of the few acts who performed during rainfall, the Belgium-based duo soldiered on, despite some minor technical problems with a computer program that caused them to restart a performance of “Haha.” That tune featured a compelling bit of acting and singing from the ebullient Adigéry, who portrayed a protagonist who bounces from maniacal laughter to shoulder-shaking sobbing and back again.

The 2022 album “Topical Dancer” elevated the duo to international acclaim, thanks to a brilliant merger of danceable beats, social commentary and revelatory autobiographical details.

One of the highlights of the Union Park performance was “It Hit Me,” a multilayered coming-of-age tale, with two narrators exploring the sensation of realizing that people out there in the world now find them sexually attractive. Adigéry (a native of France) and Bolis Pupul (the stage name of Boris Zeebroek, a native of Belgium), each sang their respective parts with verve, and Pupul punctuated his lyrics with a repeated, comedic forehead slap.

The duo opened the set with a rendition of “Blenda” that intriguingly shifted the rhythms and textures found on the original recorded version on “Topical Dancer.” The tune melds an earworm of a melody with an insightful examination of xenophobia, as the musicians led the Pitchfork crowd through a sing-along of the lyrics “Go back to your country, where you belong.”

During the song “Ceci N’est Pas Un Cliché,” as Adigéry sang the line “I was standing in the rain,” she ad-libbed another lyric, cleverly injecting the comment “If the shoe fits.” Mother Nature wasn’t going to stop this duo from completing its mission of guiding the crowd to the dance floor — even if it was covered in wet grass. —Bobby Reed

King Krule

King Krule performs on the Green Stage on Saturday, the second day of Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park.

King Krule performs on the Green Stage on Saturday, the second day of Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Given an hour’s worth of stage time, King Krule clearly was one of Saturday evening’s biggest draws. Fans packed in to get a glimpse of the red-haired singer-songwriter from London and cheered as he made his way onto the stage.

The 28-year-old started off with some music from his 2020 album “Man Alive!,” which got fans bobbing their heads and bouncing around almost immediately. His voice is marked by his Cockney accent — something that some European artists mask when they’re singing. He plays guitar, too, and it adds a washed-out, 6-feet-under type of sound to his tracks.

Archy Ivan Marshall, aka King Krule, sets himself apart from the crowd by tapping into a much grungier side of alternative/indie music. Maybe his English roots have something to do with this. But a gritty sound certainly is not all he’s capable of, as he’s rubbed elbows with R&B and hip hop, too.

“Turn up the sax!” shouted a fan as King Krule’s set transitioned into a more sensual vibe. Saxophonist Ignacio Salvadores has been touring with Marshall for several years now, and he can play all variations of the instrument.

Krule performed “Easy Easy” before introducing all of the men who lent a hand on the drums, bass and keyboard before finally wrapping up his first appearance at Pitchfork. — Ambar Colon

Julia Jacklin


Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin is touring North America this summer.

Nick Mckk

True professionals can rise above adversity. Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin proved it Saturday night at Pitchfork.

After the hustling, bustling and sometimes confusing scenario of Union Park being totally evacuated and then fans receiving messages via Twitter inviting them to return, Jacklin delivered an amazing set.

It was an occasion where soaring artistry was spiced with jitters, vulnerability and the joy of connecting with fans.

While the performance will be revered by hardcore fans, it also will be remembered by attendees who had never heard of her or even planned to see her on Saturday.

Jacklin was booked to perform with her band on the Blue stage from 5:15 to 6 p.m. As determined fans were filing back into the park a few minutes before 6, the Pitchfork app sent out an announcement that Jacklin would play a short set that would start at 6. Fans had to hustle to get there in time.

Although she only played for 15 minutes, Jacklin made the most of it. Her only accompaniment was a Fender Telecaster electric guitar.

She opened the set with “Too in Love to Die,” a standout from Jacklin’s 2022 album, “Pre Pleasure.” She invited bandmate Mimi Gilbert to sing harmony, and although Jacklin’s voice was strikingly ethereal, she botched part of the song and then cut it short.

The crowd’s wildly enthusiastic cheers conveyed the message, “It’s OK, we’re with you all the way.”

Before the final song in the exquisite four-tune set, Jacklin quipped, “I feel exposed, so be nice to me.”

The set closed with a massive crowd sing-along during “Pressure to Party,” from her 2019 album, “Crushing.”

It’s a long journey from Australia to Chicago, but Jacklin certainly made it worth the trip for everyone involved.

For music lovers who are not headed to Pitchfork or the second Beyoncé show on Sunday, one entertainment tip would be a road trip to Milwaukee, where Jacklin is slated to play Turner Hall Ballroom. —Bobby Reed


Vagabon, aka Laetitia Tamko, kicks off her Blue Stage set at Pitchfork on Saturday afternoon.

Vagabon, aka Laetitia Tamko, kicks off her Blue Stage set at Pitchfork on Saturday afternoon.

Owen Ziliak/Sun-Times

Only six minutes into her performance, the 30-year-old Cameroonian-American singer-songwriter’s set was postponed due to inclement weather.

But boy, did Laetitia Tamko (who goes by Vagabon) give it her all in those six minutes. Backed by a sultry saxophone and drums, Vagabon delivered beautiful, out-of-this-world vocals that perfectly matched her unique look.

Two days earlier, she dropped the video for her song “Do Your Worst.” Fans felt Vagabon’s rage as she sang about her relationship with somebody who only dragged her down — and the rage continued as she cut the song short and security started ushering fans out of the stage.

But the little time that she was given was a great teaser of what could come. — Ambar Colon


Deeper singer and guitarist Nic Gohl sings at the Green Stage during his band’s Day 2 set at Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park.

Deeper singer and guitarist Nic Gohl sings during his band’s Green Stage set at Pitchfork.

Owen Ziliak/Sun-Times

The Chicago indie-rock quartet Deeper delivered an unforgettable triumph on Saturday. The band was able to perform its set from 1 to 1:40 p.m. before festival officials halted music due to lightning strikes in the area.

The group delivered a set that was joyous, jagged, infectious and definitely musically memorable.

There were dark clouds but no showers during the kinetic set, which was a spirited way to begin Day 2 of this year’s festival.

Uncorking a sound influenced by bands like The Cure and Television, the band was mesmerizing, making a hot afternoon in the sun feel more akin to a sweaty club scene — in the best possible way.

Deeper inserted some feedback-drenched sonic sculptures that surely pleased fans who bought tickets to this year’s fest specifically to see The Smile, who closed the show Friday night.

Lead singer Nic Gohl and his bandmates — Drew McBride (guitar, keyboards), Kevin Fairbairn (bass) and Shiraz Bhatti (drums) — hit their stride with the potent tune “Sub,” which contains the grab-you-by-the-collar lyrics “Here you come in your large company/ Sever me for your dogs, I won’t bleed.”

Deeper stands out from the pack partially because of Bhatti’s incredible playing on a real drum set. He adds some muscle and tissue to the compositions, keeping the rhythms from ever sounding cold or robotic.

Yes, there are machines involved in the creation of Deeper’s music, but human emotions and human creativity ultimately triumph.

The members of Deeper offered almost no stage banter, other than to let the crowd know that the group is from Chicago. Then, at the end of the blistering set, Gohl said, “We’ll play another time.”

Considering the impressive nature of this set, and the quality of the band’s third album, “Careful!,” which will be released by Sub Pop on Sept. 8, it seems probable that the band will indeed return to Pitchfork for a future edition. —Bobby Reed

Black Belt Eagle Scout

Katherine Paul, who performs as Black Belt Eagle Scout, delivers an afternoon set on the Blue Stage at Pitchfork Music Festival.

Katherine Paul, who performs as Black Belt Eagle Scout, delivers an afternoon set on the Blue Stage at Pitchfork Music Festival.

Owen Ziliak/Sun-Times

The sound of Black Belt Eagle Scout, the performing name of Katherine Paul, is undoubtedly inspired by the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community reservation where she grew up in the Pacific Northwest.

And Paul and her band really know how to rock. Though many of their songs have a blissful, sweet melody, there is a fiery passion that they bring to the stage. Between Paul’s vocals and her musicians’ riffs, Black Belt Eagle Scout has a sound that can only be informed by the waterways, mountains, salmon and cedar trees native to the Pacific Northwest.

Paul’s vocals are soft and soulful, but her voice got a bit drowned out by the band accompanying her. Still, listening to Black Belt Eagle Scout’s music feels like a calm wave of water that can provide strength and healing.

Nature informs every aspect of Paul’s music making — and her versatility as a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter really shone during her first-ever Pitchfork performance, especially on “Don’t Give Up,” as her voice finally carried throughout Union Park.

This song received the most applause from the crowd, and Paul told fans that the track is about “knowing that the land, sky and water will always be there” through all of life’s trials and tribulations. — Ambar Colon

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