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Truth be told, I’ve never been much of one to “jump to the beat of the party line” and for this, the world should be grateful. So when Belle & Sebastian’s slot at the 2019 edition of the Pitchfork Music Festival was billed as “Performing If You’re Feeling Sinister” it was beyond compelling. Real life got in the way of attending all of the three day Chicago based festival, but the Saturday lineup was one not to be missed.
Poor Chicago always seems to be suffering from some sort of weather catastrophe. Over the winter it was the Polar Vortex and this weekend in July brought the dreaded “Heat Dome”. Having lived in Texas and Florida for extended stints this seemed only something for the uninitiated to fret about. Arriving in Chicago late Friday night it was clear this was no trivial matter. The heat index was still pushing triple digits after 10pm with Saturday’s forecast no more friendly. On Saturday with some level of trepidation and shallow breathing the Green Line train took us quickly to the gates of Union Park (certainly the easiest festival commute I’ve ever had).
First up on our dance card was Tokyo’s Chai. Twin sisters Mana and Kana along with their high school buddies Yuna and Yuki know how to throw a party. In matching pink
Not having seen Cate Le Bon perform before, in spite of her cool demeanour she handled the heat well in a full-length purple
With full intentions of seeing Jay Som’s set given they have new music coming out, the pull of seeing Parquet Courts perform in triple-digit
It was with mixed feelings that a brief thunderstorm swept through the area. It obliterated the “heat dome” and the need for “cooling buses” (city buses on the grounds with the A/C cranked - a festival first for me), but deeply disappointed that it also swept away Kurt Vile’s much-anticipated set. Apparently, this happened to him at Pitchfork once before, but sure that KV took it in with a shrug.
Once back on the grounds with a bit muddier, but much more tolerable day, Stereolab played a slightly shortened set to a wildly enthusiastic
Given it was my primary purpose in being there, I was relieved to find that Belle & Sebastian maintained their full slot and was able to play all of If You’re Feeling Sinister as advertised. It was clear from the stage set-up that a horde of musicians were about to come on stage, but it
As if unexpected reunions and play throughs of twenty-year old albums were not enough, the Saturday line-up included the Isley Brothers 60th birthday party (or something
All photos: Christa Joyner Moody