Excitement was high for day two at the Pitchfork Music Festival …. and then the rain. It was in the back of everyone’s mind at the start of the day. But, no one thought it would hit with the intensity that it did. I blame Future Brown. Their constant imploring to “TURNUPTURNUPTURNUPTURNUP!” was taken very seriously, by the clouds.
I found myself in the record tent, again, when the hints of the deluge began. I swore I wouldn’t buy anything. But, I did. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea for $12?! I couldn’t pass it up. The flight home is going to be a mess. After leaving my purchases with the persuasive salesman from yesterday (he offered me whiskey this time; we’ll see what’s in store tomorrow), Sharee (our photographer) and I went to catch Vince Staples.
The mud was building up on the field. But, that wasn’t going to deter Vince’s fans. Previously tank-top wrapped show goers had turned into a mass of black trash bags. It was that sort of commitment that made the announcement so much harder to take.
“Pitchfork Festival will be closing in 20 minutes. Everyone is to evacuate the park immediately!”
The groans and cries of responsive discontent were overshadowed by a roaring blast of thunder. The timing was too perfect. People started dancing and ‘turning up’ right in the mud.
“My camera is going to get fucked,” Sharee said, “Follow me.” She pulled us into the sound booth in the center of the blue stage field, just as they were tying down the hatches. The staff was more than willing to oblige our presence, which was really nice honestly.
“Thanks for letting us take cover,” I said.
“Yea, no problem,” one tech said, looking at Sharee’s camera and lenses, “You guys need bags for all that?”
Whatever sort of rain dance the crowd had been engaged in ended quickly. The weather was pummeling, for a few moments it was damn near biblical. In our little sound booth ark we waited it out. Every so often peaking between the curtains taking snap shots of the soaked crowd.
Eventually the rain died down. Not enough to unwrap the cameras, but sufficient to make a beeline for the record shop. No records left behind!
We made our way to the record store, cutting across the chaotic borderlands of the food stands. Several mutineers were seen making off with six-packs of beers. It was every volunteer for themself.
Luckily, my records were fine. The rain was at cigarette permitting levels now. We hung out with the sales force. Good people all around. For another 30 minutes or so, rumors abounded of re-openings. No one was certain.
So, most of the highlight of day two was dealing with nature. Once things had died down a bit the total damage was muddy shoes and calves, soaked bodies, Vince Staples’s entire set, and the first 20 minutes of Kurt Vile.
Re-opening with Kurt Vile felt like a great reset. As the fields started to repopulate, and the sun came out, the schlock-y daze rock of Vile and company welcomed everyone back. It felt like a completely different day. We still had a full day of music after all.
A$AP Ferg was the next act that stuck out. The entire set was a trap overload. Amazing. Every song was a goddamn trap-a-long. “Shabba!”
When he started in on “Work” the crowd started rapping the far superior “REMIX” version. To which Ferg cut the sound, saying, “Aight, fuck that song.” He started the track over, “Gucci down to the socks like I’m biggie poppa/ BABBBBYYYYYYYYY” it was fucking lit.
I really wanted to catch the New Pornographers. I forced myself away from Ferg long enough to catch them do “Brill Bruisers,” which was all I really wanted to see anyway, and quickly made my way back to Ferg.
Shamir came really late. So late in fact, that SOPHIE, the act slated afterwards, announced they would be canceling. SOPHIE’s camp cited ‘weather issues,’ but considering that things had cleared up considerably, it seemed like a cover. For what, I’m unsure, but I would trade SOPHIE for Shamir any day so I ain’t mad atcha.
Shamir’s set was a total dance party. An amazing time. Ratchet is home to some of the best dance tracks this year, specifically; “On The Regular,” which absolutely slayed at the Blue Stage.
I had seen, and we’ve written about, Future Islands so much that I didn’t see the point of engaging in tautology. But I will mention this little morsel, credited to John who was staying in the same Air Bnb as I was.
“Yea, that was my first time seeing Future Islands. Dude, my god. That lead singer is my gut-concealing-button-up spirit animal.”
Right, the fuck, on.
The day ended with Sleater-Kinney and Vic Mensa. On paper, it didn’t seem like the scheduling conflict that it turned into. So many people kept going back and forth between the Blue and Green stage during those sets.
It was hard to make up your mind. Kinney was definitely louder, and their catalogue is so pristine that you were in for a great time.
But, how could you pass up the chance to see Vic do “Down On My Luck”? A direction that I really wish Vic Mensa was more interested in pursuing. At this point it seems like Mensa is the Travis Scott to Chance’s Kanye. “U Mad” and his newest work with Skrillex, “No Chill” is further proof of his darkening persona. “No Chill” is a great track to be sure (“Practice? What the fuck is Practice?!”) but I wonder if Vic will ever put out another track so perfectly House-Hop as “Down On My Luck.” But, considering how lame a genre like “House-Hop” sounds, maybe he’s making the right move.
Words: Ziv Biton
Photos: Sharee Allen
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