FESTIVAL RECAP: Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 pt. 2 – The Amazing: Our Top Sets of Pitchfork Fest

After time to dispute our favorite sets of Pitchfork Music Festival, we present to you a gallery of our favorite artists to take the stage at Pitchfork Music Festival 2015.

Mac DeMarco


I’ve seen Mac DeMarco each of the past two summers, and I’ve got to admit DeMarco is very consistent. None of his shows or setlists are the same, especially because Mac is constantly releasing new music. The onstage banter is always hilarious, highlighted this year by bandmate implying that Thom Yorke would be headlining tonight. Mac also played some music off his upcoming album, Another One, some slower love jams, and admitted that the album had leaked on the internet, “You can download that for free, I don’t give a shit.”



We had seen what Courtney Barnett brings to the stage just over one month prior to her Pitchfork set, when she opened for Belle & Sebastian in Milwaukee in mid-June. But her Sunday set was something special. CB3, what Barnett calls the trio she performs with live, delivered a raucous set on Sunday, that only solidifed her position of America’s Indie Darling of 2015. Her album has received insanely positive reviews, and she’s selling out live shows across the nation. Barnett’s live shows are incredibly enjoyable, her vocals and the collaborative efforts of CB3 are just plain fun to watch. The sounds from Barnett’s stage on Sunday were loud enough to (presumably) delay How To Dress Well’s set on Sunday, which isn’t fair to HTDW, but was more than fair to her fans who came out in droves that day.



Speaking of indie darlings, Bully’s Alicia Bognanno is what festival-goers dreams are made of, and Bully is likely to be giving Barnett a run for her money for the title of 2015’s best. Bully’s sound on Friday was just plain awesome, especially for playing at the smallest stage at the fest. Also like Courtney Barnett, we’d seen Bully in a local venue earlier this year, but the festival setting was seemingly made for Bully to showcase what they’ve got.

Flipping her blonde locks wildly while shredding her guitar, and backed perfectly by her bandmates’ stage presence Bully’s set was as close to perfect as any group with only one album under their belts can get. We cannot wait for more music to come from Bully, because a short setlist is the only thing holding Bully back from taking a higher position on our list.



Immediately following any Future Islands set, the rush of blood to the head is enough to have me saying “that was the best thing I’ve ever seen.” Our most-viewed artist of 2014 (we saw the band 5 times last year) never gets old, and there’s not much to be said about the Baltimore-by-way-of-North-Carolina band’s live show that we haven’t said before.

Herring opened the set noting the absolute craziness of the rain earlier that day, and altered their setlist in tribute, playing “Give Us The Wind” to open the set. Herring is an absolute American live music treasure, and should be spoken of as such. His between-song banter is plentiful, but is always amazing, describing each song’s meaning and story and cracking jokes. As the crew of photographers left their photo pit on Saturday night after the third song, Herring stated “aw, the photographers are going to miss all the good stuff!” and then pointed to me and said “this photographer’s got major FOMO!”

What he didn’t know was that I wasn’t going anywhere. A minute of a Future Islands set is never to be missed.


3 JAMIE xx

With In Colour, Jamie xx has delivered one of the best albums of 2015, and on Sunday afternoon, he delivered one of the best live electronic sets I’ve ever seen at Pitchfork Music Festival. The glorious thing about In Colour, is that elements of songs that start as minuscule pieces, eventually become major parts and in some cases, the backbone to a song. Jamie xx has released two of the hottest tracks of the summer, and the crowd on Sunday came out in full effect.

“I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” is an undeniable summer anthem, so it was an obvious must-see for the weekend for many people. But what Jamie xx demonstrated on Sunday, is that the producer and DJ not only controls his music to near-perfection, but he also can control a crowd. Leading up to the song of the summer, Jamie spun the near full version of the sample to the song, “Good Times” by The Persuasions. Then the keys dropped, the crowd lost their fucking minds, and one of the best moments of the summer was born.



I’d never seen Chance The Rapper before his headlining set on Sunday, and to be honest, I’m not sure I ever should after this. Chance’s set was so good, it prompted an think piece to be written by Noisey about the meaning and symbolism his set had on Chicago as a city and a population of people. At first glance, I scoffed at this idea, but reading the piece, written wonderfully by lifetime Chicagoan Britt Julious, I appreciate the meaning behind his words. But this isn’t a site to offer a heap of rebuttals and reactions to others’ writings.

Chance had been hyping his scheduled performance all week, and I had my doubts, but this was unlike anything I’d ever seen at Pitchfork Music Festival, or any festival for that matter. The stage setup was insane, featuring Chance’s collaborative band The Social Experiment raised 15 feet above the ground and an enormous video board. The 75-minute performance featured a couple of special guest appearances as well, but the special guests weren’t the big named clichés many people expected. Chance The Rapper brought out Chicago’s Bucket Boys (who often perform at The United Center during sporting events) for “Wonderful Everyday” the surprisingly amazing cover of the theme song from children’s show Arthur. Chance also brought out one of the most immensely popular gospel musicians Kirk Franklin for “Sunday Candy”, a fitting appearance for the track which feels like a modern hip hop tribute to gospel music.

Chance’s set was deeply personal, not only for the audience but for Chance himself. I can’t imagine he actually made any money from the performance, putting seemingly any profit he’d made from the set directly into stage production. This was a show for Chance, by Chance. And he absolutely knocked it out of Union Park.



After reading that, you’re probably thinking that Chance’s set should’ve been Number One on this list. But to me, no artist’s set was better than Run The Jewels on Sunday evening. By my books, from footage I’ve seen and recaps I’ve read, this was the second best RTJ set they’ve ever performed, second only to the momentous show performed by the group in St. Louis, days after the events in Ferguson, MO.

The crowd was ready to explode by the time 7:30 came around on Sunday night. My crowd shots are a mess of people pushing their way to the front, flashing the “fist and a gun” hand signal made famous by the duo of Killer Mike and El-P. By the time they took the stage, with their always phenomenal DJ Trackstar, those in attendance were ready. Not only that, but fellow photographers were equally as excited; it’s not often that photographers rest their shudders to applaud the band on stage in between songs.

“We’ve got some surprises for you tonight,” El-P proclaimed, and instantly I knew exactly who he spoke of. In addition to amazing guest spots from BOOTS for “Early” and Gangsta Boo for “Love Again” the real pleasure was what I had in mind: None other than Zach De La Rocha of Rage Against The Machine. De La Rocha’s voice was representative of so many important movements when he led Rage Against The Machine in the 90s and 2000s, and his appearance on “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)” is equally as important in today’s modern age. “Close Your Eyes…” is exactly what the counterculture needs in today’s society, voicing issues in racist America, and Zach’s appearance on it only bolsters its importance.

With this, Run The Jewels’ performance on Sunday was not simply “great” it was life changing.