RECAP: 2018 Pitchfork Music Festival, Day 3

by Gabby Powell

Runners talk about a runner’s high, well, I think concert-goers would agree that you can definitely also get a festival high. That’s how I felt after Pitchfork day three. Every artist brought their own style and energy to the table and the crowd readily gave it back.

I will only briefly touch on Kweku Collins. I couldn’t find a deep, spiritual meaning in the lyric “I got bandz, I got bandz, I got bandz, I got bandz…” et cetera. The most interesting part of his set was a brief visit from Miwaukee’s own WebsterX.

Ravyn Lenae owned the Red Stage with her vocals and catchy riffs. Her red, boa-wrapped microphone and stand were the cherry on top of a great show.

Japanese Breakfast solidified their place in the hearts of modern rock lovers’ hearts with a thrilling performance that would turn anyone into a fan. One of the things I always talk about with my friends is the importance of an artist really enjoying their job. There was no doubt in my mind that these people wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world while they were playing.

Next, Smino amped up the crowd with his hip hop. The energy this person brought to the stage is nearly unmatched. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he’s got bars. His music was punctuated by banter that had us laughing and crying. At one point he talked directly to the men in the crowd, saying that they needed to watch their space to make sure everyone around them is comfortable. This is the first time I’ve heard a male artist say anything of the sort at a show and it definitely made me respect him not only as an artist (he’s amazing), but as a person.

Noname, coming from relative obscurity just a few years ago, has proven her worth in the game. She’s funny and insightful lyrically and her live band really rocks out. She makes her shows fun and easy to get involved in. She instructed the white people in the crowd that they were not to sing a certain word, I think you know which one. I’m really happy to see artists speaking to their audience about more important things than just “Chicago, scream if you’re in the house!”

Dram blew me away. I had never really gotten into his music except at parties, but his live show was incredible. I also didn’t realize what an amazing singing voice he has. The guy’s got chops! I’ll definitely be checking him out the next time he swings through Milwaukee.

Chaka Khan drew on her expansive career to give an amazing show. She was all smiles and gave it everything she had. She had the crowd dancing through the generations.

Finally, Ms. Lauryn Hill’s set was ready to start. This marks the second time I’ve seen her, and she has the voice of a raspy angel. This may be biased, but I truly believe she’s the best emcee out there, even today. Playing with a live band, her music is fleshed out and intricate while being entirely accessible, which is probably one of the reasons many consider her debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill to be the best debut album of all time. Ms. Hill was the perfect closer for Pitchfork 2018. If next year’s lineup is anything like this year’s, you can count on me being there.

Crowd Participation award: Dram and Smino (tie)

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