It was a perfect day for Pitchfork. The sun peaked out from time to time, and the temperature was almost chilly compared to average Chicago summer days. The lovely weather seemed to boost the crowd’s energy as they flocked to the Red, Green, and Blue Stages throughout the day. Playing hip-hop to dance and everything in between, Day 1 of Pitchfork this year was a tremendous success.
Vince Staples and Danny Brown stood out as the most energetic sets of the day. Staples performed in Chicago last weekend with the Gorillaz and played “Ascension” for this crowd too. His set was unique in that he was the only artist of the day who was onstage alone, but he had the hype and energy to carry it. Danny Brown’s persona is a combination of a rapper and a rock star; his grill is full of diamonds, but he loves to headband and stick his tongue out like Gene Simmons. The crowd at Danny Brown was the most insane crowd of any Pitchfork: there were circle pits, water bottles flying through the air, and thousands of people jumping over one another to get closer to the stage.
The more subdued sets of the day carried just as much weight. Frankie Cosmos, sporting a freshly buzzed head, charmed her fans with soft guitar sounds and a nymph-like voice. Dirty Projectors played mostly mellow electronic tracks, with frontman David Longstreth staring soulfully into my camera. Sonic Youth guitarist and vocalist Thurston Moore jammed out like it was 1995.
The biggest act (and headliner) of the evening was certainly LCD Soundsystem. After splitting up in 2011, the band went their separate ways but fortunately reunited in 2015. Playing their biggest hits, including “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” and “All My Friends”, James Murphy and company had everyone singing along. While the band has changed lineups, iconic keyboardist Nancy Whang has been a staple of the band for years. Her eclectic synths and harmonious voice are a perfect compliment to Murphy’s boisterous presence. The sun set as the band hit their stride, and their enormous disco ball lit up the entire park. James Murphy and company will release their fourth studio album, American Dream, in September.