Hip-hop unequivocally owned Saturday, but not before Chicago locals Twin Peaks tore through a set of organic garage rock (singer Cadien James from a wheelchair, with a broken ankle) to a hefty crowd of friends & family. Brownsville rapper Ka, recently out of retirement, played an impressive set that his audience sadly might not have been ready for (his songs track life in rough-and-tumble Brooklyn, and his audience seemed keener on the party rap they’d get from Danny Brown later on). Cloud Nothings’ drummer Jason Gerycz performed feats of near-inhuman speed before all 18,000 fest attendees ambled to the Green Stage to wait for Pusha-T. After about 30 more minutes than expected of that, Pusha took the stage (his DJ was running late) and made partial amends with a combustible (albeit heavily abridged) set of songs from My Name is My Name. Detroit alt-rapper Danny Brown took the stage (punctually) at 6:15, Bruiser Brigade in tow, for an hour of X-rated drug raps—which seemed to be most people’s highlight until St. Vincent tore the roof of the festival an hour later. By the time Jeff Mangum took the main stage to wrap things up, most had been lulled into their post-fest hazes prematurely by the back-to-back energy zaps.
Day 2 of the 2014 Pitchfork Music Festival: Chicago-based TWIN PEAKS look uncontrollably ebullient. Guitarist Cadien Lake James didn’t let a broken ankle make him miss his band’s biggest gig yet. In the great “I Will” spirit of Chicago they simply rolled him out in a wheel chair.
Rocking commenced! Hip-hop artist KA brought the heaviness. His tales of street woe matched perfectly with his somber flow. His set inferred he’s a guy who has, perhaps, seen too much of life’s ugliness.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM came off like a mini orchestra. They incorporated strings, xylophones and a drummer with a guitar at the ready behind his kit.
WILD BEASTS bring the polite. In stark contrast to Day 2’s performances so far, the band are more reserved than most of the weekend’s artists. The volume goes up again. After having their set cut short by torrential rains the last time they played Pitchfork
CLOUD NOTHINGS are making the most of this year’s opportunity. The trio pound away, as bodies get past above the faithful parked in front of the stage.
PUSHA T pisses away his afternoon set by starting 30 minutes late and delivering condensed versions of his material.
Merrill Garbus is parked in a sea of percussion. The TUNE YARDS front woman has taken the buoyance of her music and matched it to the Day-Glo face paint her and her support crew has applied. They’re an indie rock version of KISS with better grooves.
Detroit rapper DANNY BROWN was pure libido Saturday. With his piled high hair, gapped front teeth and charisma for miles, he has every eye in Union Park aimed at him.
When exactly did Annie Clark become a bad ass rock star? Using the moniker ST. VINCENT, the woman gave a tutorial on guitar aerobics and how to absolutely own an audience from the moment you take the stage.
FKA TWIGS is doing her best to further her brand of trip-hop-meets-ambient music. Her moves are serpentine and she has all the poses down, but what’s missing is any semblance of solid songwriting.
-Photos by Curt Baran