As a kid, some of my best moments occurred at summer camp. My parents would send me away to Madison, Wisconsin and I would spend summer after summer with my friends building bonds that last until this day.
Fast forward to now, and I look forward to the middle of July with that same anticipation. Pitchfork is upon us, or as I call it “adult summer camp.” As the fest approaches my phone begins to light up with messages from music loving friends making plans to reunite and hang all weekend.
Year after year Pitchfork Festival nails it by providing an eclectic lineup of some of the best musicians of all ages and genres. The 2017 Pitchfork Lineup continues the tradition of offering a diverse selection of well-known and up and coming artist for festival lovers to enjoy. You can check back all weekend for daily recaps/updates from the fest. In the meantime check out some of my “must see” acts for the weekend.
The name Dawn Richard will sound familiar to reality show fans and r&b fans. Dawn was the lead vocalist of Danity Kane. A group featured on MTV’s “Making The Band Show.” While the team achieved pop music success, it was Dawn’s projects once the group disbanded that flexed her creative ability. She was a third of the group “Dirty Money” featuring her label head Diddy. The group released the insanely underrated but impressive“Last Train To Paris” in 2010, and since then Dawn created a host of EP’s and mixtapes with some of the most forward-thinking dance/r&b songs out there. Her 2:30 set should be perfect to get the daytime dance vibes started at Pitchfork.
Vince Staples is one of the most engaging young rappers in the game. You’ll catch him on HBO talking NBA basketball with Bill Simmons or flexing his acting chops in Sprite commercials. He exudes wit and charm and is consistently one of the most interesting interviews in music. Additionally, he can spit. Vince’s wordplay and cadence are unmatched by most of his peers. He also showed with his latest work with Gorillaz and on his own “Fish Theory” project that he is sonically adventurous. Staples managed to organically infuse electronic music, house, and rap into a cohesive and enjoyable project. The performance this year will mark his first at the festival as his flight was canceled due to weather during the 2015 fest. Vince is one of the most exciting young rappers in the game and Pitchfork Fest fans have been waiting for two years to see him rip the stage.
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic are one of the most innovative bands in music history. Their influence can be found on albums from Childish Gambino, Thundercat, De La Soul, and even Kendrick Lamar. While the group is much older than in their heyday, expect a funk filled hazy set that could prove to be one of the weekend’s standouts.
The Beat Konducta, returns to Pitchfork again and hip-hop fans at the fest are luckier for it (he last came two years ago with Freddie Gibbs to perform songs off their joint project). Madlib is one of the most innovative producers in hip-hop history. He’s known for his endless commitment to crate digging and an unmatched ability to chop up a sample and create something not unique, but also sonically beautiful.
A Tribe Called Quest
8:30 PM Green Stage
Tribe is considered by many hip-hop fans to be the greatest group of all time. Rap legends such as Pharrell Williams and Kanye West name the group as one of their biggest influences. Tribe’s early success was predicated on fantastic soulful production that incorporated jazz, funk, and blues into beats that were eviscerated by Phife Dawg, Jarobi, and Q-Tip. Ali Shaheed Muhammed was the perfect DJ, and together the group produced three classic albums. Following the unfortunate death of Phife this past year the group released their most recent project. Luckily for us, the group was placing the final touches on a comeback album when Phife died. The resulting project was powerful in its message, and vintage Tribe in its production and lyrics. Expect a night time set filled with classic 90’s hip-hop and vibes.
Sunday at the Blue Stage always offers festival goers an opportunity to experience a Chicago DJ or artist. This year legendary Chicago house DJ Derrick Carter is blessing the decks. Be there if you want to get your Sunday dance party started early. Derrick’s soulful and synth driven beats are guaranteed to drive the crowd crazy.
“A Seat at The Table” was an album that generated universal praise last year and deservedly so. Everything about the project seemed to be perfectly thought out. The visuals that accompanied the music were beautiful and kept driving home the beautiful message of black love and empowerment. Solange made an album that was an ode to beautiful, powerful black women. At a time when black women are consistently marginalized as a group, this closing act has the potential to be a powerful and almost religious type experience.
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