Sunday was the day that had the weather watchers concerned. Luckily the threat of storms never materialized. The slightly weary attendees that filed into Union Park for the closing day of the Pitchfork Music Festival were greeted with a lineup, that like the weather, defied expectations. If this year’s edition of Pitchfork tended to feature more outsiders and less aggressive music styles, Sunday was the day that brought that diversity into focus.
Leading off the day and charged with engaging the slowly building crowd fell to Porches. The project of New York-based artist Aaron Maine, Porches delivered a more synth-laden and less rock-heavy set that created the perfect introduction to the day ahead. Continuing and building on the well-received set from Porches was the Sun Ra Arkestra who took the stage in elaborate bejewelled robes that suggested that perhaps aliens had indeed visited ancient Egypt. Their sprawling cosmic mix of jazz and fusion mixed with space rock and a pinch of swing was every bit as otherworldly as their appearance. Throughout the day, the sets would continue to deliver on the eclectic promise of the openers. Some of the highlights included: An upbeat set from Chicago duo Homme, consisting of songwriters Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart, playing songs from their notable new self-titled EP; a commanding set from saxophonist Kamasi Washington that expanded the boundaries of jazz; Neon Indian provided the party vibe with frontman Alan Palomo leading the synth-driven dance party; and Jeremih brought out Chicago native Chance the Rapper for a few songs, adding some additional heat to his already smoldering sex-soaked R&B and hip-hop.
Bringing home the evening, and closing out the weekend were strong sets from Miguel and FKA Twigs. Miguel’s mixture of R&B with rock and funk, delivered with an undeniable charisma and stage presence was a winning combination that had the crowd roaring its approval with rapturous applause. English singer and dancer FKA Twigs performed in front of a backdrop of giant hands. Her theatrical show mixed intricate choreography with electronic beats and soft ethereal vocals creating a world of avant-garde performance art that was equal parts comforting and menacing.