Saturday was the day that the clouds parted and the crowds arrived for day 2 of the Pitchfork Music Festival. Brilliant sunshine, moderate temperatures and a refreshing breeze met festival goers as they flooded into Union Park for what was arguably the strongest lineup of the 3 days. The day, which would feature some noisier rock and a set from a music icon playing a beloved classic album, kicked off with a somewhat subdued set from Circuit des Yeux. Fronted by Haley Fohr, with her profoundly deep and jarring vocals, the band eased the crowd into the day with a hypnotic and slow-burning set. Things would take off from there. Girl Band delivered a storming performance of loud 90’s era indie rock delivered with a punk-like ferocity, which led perfectly into a set from Aussie punk rockers Royal Headache who commanded the Blue Stage with their blistering fast paced assault that would have made the Ramones smile with approval. Other notable performances included: An experimental performance-art set from Jenny Hval, that included some rather creepy clowns; a revived Digable Planets delivering their timeless fusion of hip hop, rap, and jazz; a shirtless Dev Hynes leading his band through the R&B and electronica songs of Blood Orange; and a psychedelic celebration from Welsh rockers, Super Furry Animals, who are playing select shows in North America after a six year hiatus.
Saturday’s standout performances were noteworthy for different reasons. One of the most high-profile sets was Brian Wilson playing the classic Beach Boys album Pet Sounds in its entirety. Unfortunately, despite being cheered on by John and Joan Cusak, the aging Wilson did not appear comfortable or engaged. While the band, featuring Beach Boys guitarist Al Jardine, delivered a tight and striking performance, the sound was inaudible at various points throughout the set. On the opposite end of the spectrum was Savages. Defying the bright sunshine and the midday heat, frontwoman Jehnny Beth and the band proceeded to deliver the loudest, rawest, and ultimately one of the most engaging and satisfying sets of the day and possibly the entire weekend. Closing out the evening with theatrical style was Sufjan Stevens. Notable for writing moving and emotional songs, Sufjan’s show was surprisingly lively and downright joyous. Taking the stage with a banjo, it wasn’t long before Sufjan literally spread his wings and celebrated with some of his more upbeat songs played on a stage awash with bright neon color.