It’s day two of Pitchfork, where a rousing set by Washington, D.C.-based Ex Hex was interrupted by a scary warning: You’ll have to pack up your bags and leave within 10 minutes. Then came the downpour. Many people hid under trees. Some in port-o-potties. Others tried to find a way out. My way out included jumping over a large, large puddle. After about an hour of rain that had cleared before festival goers were evacuated, they were let in by about 4:20 p.m. Then came the mud, lots of it. The young kids, many wearing white shoes, leapt into the puddles with no worries. Many others avoided them.
Ex Hex peformed an abbreviated set at Saturday’s Pitchfork music festival as storms rolled in at Union Park. | PHOTO BY ALISON GREEN/COURTESY OF THE CHICAGO READER
Once back in, concert-goers prepared for a nostalgic set by Sleater Kinney, and an energetic set by Chicago’s own Vic Mensa. Will Chance The Rapper make an appearance? He was spotted backstage and in the VIP section on Friday. Perhaps he’ll join his buddy Mensa.
4:15 p.m.: It took a bit of time for Kurt Vile and the Violators to get back on stage after a one-hour rain delay. Crews tested out equipment as the band looked on from the side of the stage. Then, Vile took the stage and simply said “thank you,” to the thousands of fans that came back to listen to him play. People were damp, their shoes muddy, but still enjoying a very, mellow pleasant set. Vile, a former member of the War on Drugs, was a perfect lo-fi welcome back to the festival after the torrential downpour.
5:15 p.m.: Parquet Courts woke up the crowd a bit, playing much-needed fast-paced rock n’roll in the sunlight. Lead singer Andrew Savage may look like he’s a clean cut guy who could work in your office, but he’s an energetic, punk rock singer. The Velvet Underground is a big influence to the band.
6:15 p.m.: The New Pornographers packed energetic guitar riffs with amazing vocals at the very big Green Stage. The Vancouver band has been around for years, and it seemed many fans had been there with them all along. At this point, crowds were a little more casual about their mud disdain. Shoes and clothes were already wrecked.
7:25 p.m.: Sam Herring of Future Islands gave the crowd a bit of rain sympathy, talking about how drenched the whole band was, specifically their shoes. Then Herring quickly launched into an all out non-stop, emotional performance, beating his chest and seeming to feel every word he sang. Herring sings, but also belts out lyrics in an unexpected gruff voice for a synth pop group. The tunes were just what the crowd needed. A little pick me up and a lot of dancing.
Vic Mensa peforms at Pitchfork on Saturday, July 18, 2015. | PHOTO BY ROSARIO ZAVAL/COURTESY OF CHICAGO READER
8:45 p.m. Vic Mensa, the hometown kid – he’s only 22 — packed the tiny Blue Stage, where fans tried to avoid giant mud pits. Many people climbed up some rather large trees ahead of the stage, some unsuccessfully plopping into the mud from above. If you don’t know Mensa, you soon will. He’s been blessed by Jay-Z and is on Roc Nation, which is pretty much a guarantee of making it big. And he’s collaborated with fellow Chicagoans Kanye West and Chance the Rapper. As the sun went down, Mensa started his own dance party, as fans threw water and glowsticks in the air. Hands went up in the air as Mensa sang “No Chill,” his hip-hop anthem with EDM king Skrillex. Mensa let the crowd know he’s proud of being from Chicago, and he said he’s sad to see the violence on the streets. Mensa wrapped his 45-minute set with “U Mad,” his collaboration with Kanye. No guest stars, no frill, just great music.