Saturday saw Union Park bathed in warm sunshine for Day two of the Pitchfork Music Festival. With what was arguably the strongest lineup of the weekend, and near perfect weather, Saturday was completely sold-out. Despite the increase in attendance, fans were not greeted by the same long lines entering the park that caused consternation on Friday. The second entrance created by festival organizers successfully alleviated the delays and made sure fans were able to make it to the main stage in time to catch Vagabon who started off the day’s performances.
Vagabon is the performance moniker of Cameroonian born singer-songwriter Laetitia Tamko, who has lived in New York since the early 2000’s. Backed by a bassist and drummer, Tamko played an all too short set of stripped-down emotionally charged indie rock that included songs from her debut album, Infinite Worlds. Despite the early slot and the large stage, Vagabon managed to engage the crowd with her powerful voice and left more than a few mesmerized.
Next up, and launching the first performance of the day from the Red stage, was punk rocker Jeff Rosenstock. The former frontman of Bomb The Music Industry seemed taken aback by the crowd that gathered for his early afternoon set. Rosenstock and his band wore huge smiles as they powered through a set that mixed ferocious punk guitar with keyboards and electronic beats. In addition to playing great songs, Jeff Rosenstock had an affable personality that was evident in his frequent between song banter. Showing he could appreciate the momentousness of the occasion, at one point he humorously announced that “I’d like to give a shout-out to the person at Pitchfork who got fired for booking us.” Fired? No… That person deserves a raise.
Weyes Blood, the stage name of singer/songwriter Natalie Mering, battled the bright sunshine bathing the main stage to deliver an intimate performance of gentle flowery pop that gained momentum as it went on. Cherry Glazzerr, the band fronted by guitarist-singer Clementine Creevy, hit the smaller blue stage with a fierce energy that never wavered. Creevy’s songs mixed punk, grunge, and riot grrl with equal nods to Blondie and Bikini Kill. Cherry Glazerr left the crowd positively buzzing. Other notable afternoon sets included Arab Strap, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Francis and the Lights, and Angel Olsen.
As Angel Olsen finished up her set, the crowd shifted to the red stage for PJ Harvey. Harvey and her nine-piece band delivered a powerful and theatrical performance. The set kicked off with drummers Kennick Rowe and Jean-Marc Butty leading a marching band processional across the stage. Harvey started the show on saxophone as part of a horn section line before making her way to the front of the stage. Polly Jean delivered her vocals with her sax held high in one hand as the other gestured to the crowd providing emphasis to her lyrics. Much of the set centered around material from recent album The Hope Six Demolition Project as well as some older favorites. By the time she closed out her set, a good portion of the crowd were hailing it as the potential best of the weekend, and the one to beat.
Closing out Saturday was a fiery and emotional reunion performance from hip-hop legends A Tribe Called Quest. The performance was part reunion, part farewell, and part tribute to cofounding member Phife Dawg, who passed away last year. Q-Tip, Jarobi and Consequence delivered one hit after another from their classic albums and last year’s reunion record.
Check out photo highlights from Day two of the Pitchfork Music Festival below.