The 5 Best Sets of the 2017 Pitchfork Festival

Joyce Edwards
Yahoo Music
Pitchfork Festival 2017 (photo: Eric Gray)
Pitchfork Festival 2017 (photo: Eric Gray)

Three days, 41 bands, and one pair of really tired legs… yet another successful Pitchfork Music Festival has come to a close. About 19,000 Chicagoans sought out the fest each year for its approachable stages, small park, big headliners (LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, Solange), and noticeable lack of tweens.

The weekend was marked with many memorable moments including a cleanly shaven George Clinton & Parliament Funk igniting a full dance party despite sound issues, Danny Brown maxing out his own hip-hop caricature as he graduated to a main stage slot this year, and Hamilton Leithauser crooning soulfully sans the Walkmen.

However, as usual with festivals, people come for the headliners but stay for the new, the sentimental, or final farewells. Here are the five best Pitchfork acts that everyone’s talking about Monday.

LCD Soundsystem

It seems like retirement got a bit too boring for LCD Soundsystem after their “farewell tour” in 2011, but no one was complaining as James Murphy curated the ultimate dance party on Friday night. Starting off with “Yr City’s A Sucker” and going straight into “Daft Punk Is Playing In My House” really doesn’t leave room for any side-eye, truthfully. Even after finishing their set 20 minutes early with ‘Dance Yrself Clean” and “All My Friends,” an encore wasn’t needed — but LCD Soundsystem’s comeback album American Dream, out in September, should do the trick.

LCD Soundsystem (photo: Eric Gray)
LCD Soundsystem (photo: Eric Gray)


Mitski’s victory lap for 2016’s Puberty 2 drew a major crowd that far exceeded her midday Saturday slot on the smaller blue stage. Her soft singing steadily built up to roar throughout her set, and the crowd eagerly awaited each imminent explosion. “Townie” and “Best American Girl” accomplished just that, offset by sweet chit-chat and a steady willpower as she quietly noted she’d make it to the big stage next year.

More @mitskileaks cuz she was really good @pitchforkfest #mitski #chicago #livemusic #puberty2 #pitchforkfest

A post shared by Music.Defined. (@music_defined) on Jul 15, 2017 at 2:52pm PDT

A Tribe Called Quest

A Tribe Called Quest performed the most anticipated set of the weekend, as the first show of their farewell tour and a first for Jarobi, Q-Tip, and Consequence since the passing of founding member Phife Dawg. Unlike LCD, this goodbye will probably be for keeps, and there wasn’t any room for frills. “We ain’t got no disco balls or that s***,” Q-Tip called out in an aptly timed zing to LCD’s Friday performance. An empty fourth mic stood tribute to Phife Dawg; a reminder that lent a somber yet strong presence throughout the performance as the crowd bobbed along to everything from “Check the Rhime” to the more recent “Dis Generation.”

A Tribe Called Quest (photo: Eric Gray)
A Tribe Called Quest (photo: Eric Gray)

Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen was coming in hot on Saturday, as she returned to her former home to perform her latest material off of My Woman. Fiery in spirit and retro in style, Angel started with 2014’s “High & Wild” off of Burn Your Fire For No Witness before launching into the ever-popular “Shut Up Kiss Me” and an epic, eight-minute rendition of “Sister.” Quirky and mischievous between songs, Angel got the last word with “Woman,” belting, “I dare you to understand what makes me a woman.”

Angel Olsen (photo: Eric Gray)
Angel Olsen (photo: Eric Gray)


Closing out the weekend with vibrant energy, synchronized choreography, and colorful red-on-red stage lighting, Solange commanded the entire festival’s attention as she theatrically performed her latest release, A Seat at the Table. Highly stylized and with a stripped-down sound wholly different from her big sister, Solange finally graced the main stage this year and was more than ready. Featuring more than 20 band members, dancers, and backup singers, the performance was a study in restrained dance moves, thoughtful reflection, and fearless vulnerability, as Solange proved yet again that her discography stands alone.

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