Pitchfork Music Festival’s final day started off with a bang, metaphoric, as hip hop producer extraordinaire Madlib and Indianapolis gangsta rapper Freddie Gibbs took the red stage (on time!), under the scorching Mid-West sun. Gangsta Gibbs immediately jumped into his particular brand of thug rap over the sweetest, jazzy beats courtesy of Madlib. Thanking Pitchfork for bringing a “Real N***a” back to the festival, before getting the crowd amped up chnating “fuck police.” The real charm of the set was Gibbs complete lack of reliance on his backing vocals, which sadly has become a lazy man’s way out of not having to perform. Sometimes Gibbs would drop entire verses without any background music at all.
Leaving the stage after 40 minutes, Gibbs came back onto the stage to the sound of the entire crowd chanting his name to do a couple encore tracks. Again, almost entirely unheard of at a festival. Before leaving the stage Gibbs stopped to praise Madlib “if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Meanwhile under the trees over at the Blue stage, delicate yet beloved electronic artist Perfume Genius aka Mike Hadreas captivated the non-hip hop heads with his special brand of weirdo electro. He played tracks off all his albums including last years highly acclaimed Too Bright to the crowds excitement.
Taking a brief break to hang in the VIP and grab a ‘No Collar,’ Chance the Rapper’s beer made in collaboration with Goose Island, we spotted Vic Mensa and chatted with him for a bit. From there we headed over to see Jamie xx on the Red stage. The electronic musician pulled a massive crowd, all eager to dance in the sun-drenched field. Discoball spinning behind him, Jamie unleashed an unprecedented torrent of self-made hits. You know you’re good when you can play an entire set of just your own music.
Keeping that dancing energy going, as soon as Jamie xx’s set finished, Canada’s own Caribou took to the green stage, bringing his unique and incredible brand of electronic dance music to the gathered masses. There’s nothing more heartwarming than looking out over the thousands and thousands of people, all singing your music in unison. Happy vibes y’all.
Pitchfork Fest reigning champs, Killer Mike and EL-P, aka Run the Jewels took to the stage in an uproar of excitement, as “We are the Champions” played. Two years ago we saw them control the crowd in a mid-afternoon set, but on Sunday they held down the coveted pre-headliner set like the champions they are. The Union Park crowd was wilding out to their special brand of smart as fuck hip hop, even starting a mosh pit in front of the stage. Rage Against the Machine vocalist Zack de la Rocha joined the dynamic duo on stage to reprise his cameo on “Close Your Eyes.”
Lastly, Chicago’s own hometown hero Chance the Rapper took to the stage for his well-deserved, yet highly unusual headlining set. Why unusual? Because the Acid Rap MC doesn’t technically have an “official” album out yet. But when you bank his multiple projects, the Social Experiment, the recently announced collaboration album with Lil B, and the much talked about and highly anticipated Chicago-centric album he has a solid body of work. As the sun set on Sunday night over Union Park, Chance performed a mix of songs from all his projects.
He was joined on stage by his band, the Social Experiment, gospel composer Kirk Franklin, and a whole slew of Chicago locals, from dancers to bucket drummers. It was a set to remember, and trust us, Chicago will remember it.
While waiting in line to shoot Chance the Rapper, the Pitchfork app sent out a notification to grab a ‘No Collar’, at the exact same moment a dude walked by selling acid. Meta.
All in all the 10th annual Pitchfork Music Festival lived up to our continued boasting that it is one of our favourite festivals in the world. We’re always impressed by the line up, the music selection, the setup, and the overall vibe of the festival. We can’t wait to see what next year has in store!
Check out our photos from the final day below.
Chance The Rapper
Run The Jewels
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib