Pitchfork Festival 2015: Friday – Walking home to Wilco


The local heroes rounded off a roasting first day, featuring star performances from ILoveMakkonen, Chvrches and Ought.

ILOVEMAKONNEN Main Pic

ILoveMakonnen. Images Courtesy of Pitchfork Media.

The gates to Union Park opened on Friday at around 3pm, easing fans into the weekend. It was fitting that the first few acts of the day were soft on the ear- Natalie Prass opening on the Red Stage.

I trooped down to the Blue for local singer-songwriter Ryley Walker from Rockford, Illinois. He sat, pert in a chair, head shaking side to side with his guitar askew over his left shoulder. The stage was comfortably nestled in the corner of the park, the crowd cooled by shade from the trees. His performance was a throwback to the humble, early days of festivals- with the help of his band he stretched songs into 10-minute, spiritual adventures. There was a reminiscence of British folk in his performance, undoubtedly rooted in Walker’s late 60s influence.

Things really heated up later in the afternoon when ‘ILoveMakkonnen’ kicked things off on the largest stage (the Green). He’s become widely known as of last year when Drake jumped on the remix of ‘Tuesday’. As of 2011, Makonnen has released 13 mixtapes and an EP. Most of the hits from these ventures are real short, but insanely malleable and catchy. His languid vocal style loosely met his carefree stage persona as he got away with his verse of legally disputed hit ‘Look At Wrist’ and some explicit new tracks accompanied by brash but infectious dance moves. Just when you thought he was done he sneaks back on for a second slice of ‘I Don’t Sell Molly No More’ with things getting pretty hectic down the front.

Mac DeMarco drew a huge crowd to the Red soon after, an act certainly more suited to the vibe relatively early into the first day. Panda Bear massaged the mind cogs with his aqueous, electronic psych-bop debuting trips from ‘Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper’ to his Chicago fans.

Glasgow triumvirate ‘Chvrches’ also massed a large audience. Their industrial synthpop created a joyous, energetic atmosphere. They debuted some similar sounding new material, lead singer Lauren Mayberry thanking the crowd for the warm reception. She complained about the cigarette butts left on the stage by Mac DeMarco before booting a beach ball into the crowd and giving a shout out to sportswomen worldwide.

‘Ought’ hail from Montreal, Canada. Lyrically slick and edgy they are somehow brutally existentialist as well as evasive and disobedient. Tim Darcy is thin and squarely seductive. His persona reminds me both of Thomas Vernon-Kell and Jarvis Cocker, a sense of ironic sentimentality transgressing from his jagged head movements and shirky body language. After a few songs the crowd were sucked in. It took a while because they sound like they’re stuck in their own style and we’re left to answer the question ‘Do you get it yet?’ ‘New Calm, Pt. 2’ and new track ‘Beautiful Blue Sky’ epitomised their stubborn brilliance.

Wilco, to tell the truth, were less inspiring. They played much of ‘Star Wars’, their new album that they released for free just a few days before their set. Thematically they are classic Chicago indie rock, but ‘classic’ for deeper sociological reasons doesn’t excite in 2015 (if you exclude longtime, adoring fans). On a personal level, there was something inevitably romantic about walking out of the festival gates, appreciating their legendary sound fading in the distance.

<a href="http://ilovemakonnen.com/" target="_blank">ILoveMakonnen</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | <a href="http://ilovemakonnen.com/" target="_blank">ILoveMakonnen</a>. Images Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media" target="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | <a href="http://natalieprassmusic.com/#5QZxSrgesbmx3D1U.97" target="_blank">Natalie Prass</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | <a href="http://natalieprassmusic.com/#5QZxSrgesbmx3D1U.97" target="_blank">Natalie Prass</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | <a href="http://ryleywalker.com/" target="_blank">Ryley Walker</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | Panda Bear</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | <a href="http://www.chvrch.es/" target="_blank">Chvrches</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | <a href="http://www.chvrch.es/" target="_blank">Chvrches</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | </a>Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | </a>Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | </a>Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | <a href="http://cstrecords.com/ought/" target="_blank">Ought</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | <a href="http://cstrecords.com/ought/" target="_blank">Ought</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | <a href="http://wilcoworld.net/splash-star-wars-links/" target="_blank">Wilco</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | <a href="http://wilcoworld.net/splash-star-wars-links/" target="_blank">Wilco</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>. | <a href="http://ilovemakonnen.com/" target="_blank">ILoveMakonnen</a>. Image Courtesy of <a href="http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/contact/#/media</a>. arget="_blank">Pitchfork Media</a>.

About author

This article was written by Jack Carter Crawley

I'm a British writer studying at LJMU in Liverpool, England. I specialise in arts journalism, particularly music and performance.

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