2018 proved to be a monumental year for Pitchfork, and WRBB couldn’t be happier.
Though gates were delayed in the morning due to the weather, Chicago’s Nnamdi Ogbonnaya stimulated the crowd with an intense array of noodling guitars, intricate melodies, and an insightful flow. His unique hold on combining rap and rock make for a dynamic set, regrettably cut short to 30 minutes as the festival began making up the lost time. Irreversible Entanglements struck next with fluttering free jazz turned slam poetry clinic, leaving the audience with the most visceral and raw performance of the day. Kweku Collins then took the stage to an immediately war reception, as the local rapper brought both an infectious charisma and solid dance moves to balance out the still greying skies.
Ravyn Lenae continued the onslaught of Chicago talent-the singer electrified with groovy renditions from this year’s critically acclaimed Crush EP, produced by and featuring The Internet’s Steve Lacy. She even began her set by prompting the audience to leave their bodies and remember her lyrics. On the far side of the park, Japanese Breakfast continued what should be considered as a fully developed epidemic, as Michelle Zauner and company delivered spacious melodies and driving guitars on “Everybody Wants to Love You” and “Diving Woman”. Zero Fatigue’s Smino and the ubiquitous Noname gave the day a gigantic one-two, leading Union Park into a whirlwind of smooth production, witty lines, and chilled-out dancing. Chaka Khan kept the fire burning by playing the classics with a solid band, keeping the crowd moving and essentially priming the crowd for what was still to come. If anyone asks, her voice still has it, and it’s a sight to behold live.
Though it took a cool 20 minutes for the actual set to start (in which an unexpected DJ set met a surprisingly receptive audience), Ms. Lauryn Hill’s entrance was, hands down, the most invigorating and exciting moment of Pitchfork. Complete with a small metropolis of musicians, producers, and background singers, Miseducation blew away any preconceived notions and predictions. Renditions of “Doo Wop” and “To Zion” were events in their own right, creating an amazing atmosphere that couldn’t have wrapped this year’s festival up any better.
Follow along as the WRBB coverage team prepares for Post4k coverage tomorrow, as well as a stand-alone podcast featuring artists from this year’s lineup discussing mental health and its relation to the music industry. Thank you for hanging with us this weekend, and we hope to be back with content when the next rolls around.