Pitchfork Music Festival: 16-18 July 2010 - Chicago

Daniel Boczarski

Despite a blistering heatwave and some sound issues, Pitchfork put on their most electrifying music festival yet.

The Pitchfork Music Festival, going on its fifth year now, brought fans in droves to see a medley of artists perform across 3 days. Over 54,000 fans attended the sold out festival, which took place in Chicago's Union Park and included a lineup of over 40 bands, which played on 3 stages.

Friday's lineup was much smaller in comparison to the rest, and differed in the fact that for the first time the festival had given a comedy stage a try, which was hosted by Les Savy Fav's Tim Harrington. While the crowds seemed to enjoy themselves, some comedians made jabs at the fact that they were most likely in the shaded area to escape the blaring heat elsewhere, which I can see not being too far from the truth. The musical acts that day brought out artists such as Robyn, who is making her musical comeback happen and definitely had people in the dancing through her whole set. Modest Mouse were the headliners of the night.

For Saturday, fans were able to check out hip-hop artist Raekwon, who while experiencing some delays due to technical issues still managed to get the crowd going, even with a little freestyle action thrown in while his DJ was doing his best to get the sound back up and running. Titus Andronicus managed to get the crowd into fervor, with the most audience activity of the festival up until that point. To close off the evening, James Murphy took the stage with LCD Soundsystem. By this point the audience had turned into party mode, with beach balls traveling from each direction of the crowd, as James opened up with “Us V Them” and ended the night with “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down”.

Most considered Sunday's line up to be the biggest draw, and it did indeed provide acts which did not disappoint. The tumultuous duo Lightning Bolt played a set that could be heard for blocks, and while they performed on the stage as opposed to the floor as you may normally see them do, the crowd still managed to make the best of it. Major Lazer also had their set that day, with Diplo amassing a group of Chinese dragon dancers, ballerinas, and his regular mainstay MC, Skerrit Bwoy to keep the audience entertained. It definitely does provide a better experience than just standing in the crowd looking at the DJ, and Diplo has really formulated the perfect combination. Soon after everyone was finally able to cool down from Major Lazer's set, Big Boi took the stage and treated the crowd to a number of Outkast songs. On the smaller stage, Sleigh Bells performed to a crowd which could barely squeeze into the designated stage area. Singer Alexis Krauss tore through the bands limited number of songs, but judging by the size of the crowd the duo won't be playing side stages for long. The festival's final performance came courtesy of the recently reunited Pavement, with Stephen Malkmus and the band performing fan favorites such as "Cut Your Hair" and "Grounded".

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