Chicago is no stranger to wet music festivals, but it was a worrisome start to the first night of Pitchfork as clouds loomed over Union Park. Weather channels were predicting strong rains and crowds were hustling to get shelter. And while a storm canceled a good portion of of shows on Saturday, the Friday was spared. The overcast passed over, the sun came out, and the music kept playing.
This may be a generalization, but it seemed that over half of the crowd in attendance in one way or another worked in the music industry. Between the press access, sponsors like Topman handing out free swag and record labels giving out merch, Pitchfork felt like a networking event as much as it felt like a festival. Someone should have told people to bring resumes in advance.
Thankfully, the performer’s sunny attitudes overshadowed this overly professional aura. As usual, Mac Demarco showed his heartfelt and humorous side. After getting the audience to sing Happy Birthday to his girlfriend Kiera McNally, the Pepperoni Playboy said, “sixteen years old yesterday, how does it feel?” Riling up the crowd with some more jokes and crowd surfing, DeMarco concluded his set with an electric jam of “Still Together” and a comic farewell.
“Red Hot Chili Peppers are up next! Have a great day guys!”
Tobias Jesso Jr. gave a performance at the Blue Stage. Though consistently getting annoyed with his piano and calling it a piece of shit, the Canadian singer-songwriter put on a hell of performance with songs from his recently released LP Goon. And right before getting into one of his new singles “How Could You Babe,” Tobias let the audience decide on how much saxophone they wanted. Obviously, the crowd demanded for long and sexy sax solos, and they received.
Headlining the night was Jeff Tweedy and Wilco. The band kicked off their set by cruising through an entire rendition of their latest album Star Wars, just released on Thursday. After that, the band finished up at 10pm with some of their most beloved songs like “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” and “Heavy Metal Drummer”. Even the clouds seemed to have approved as lighting sparked over the Loop. It was a rightful closing with an iconic Chicago group playing at home.