Concert Reviews

Solange, Jamila Woods, Ride at Pitchfork Festival Day 3

Despite having some technical hiccups and a cancellation, Day 3 of Pitchfork had some of the best artists of the weekend. The biggest highlights came from hip-hop and R&B artists, including Isaiah Rashad. The Tennessee rapper combines fast-paced beats and deeply personal lyrics on his debut album The Sun’s Tirade. Rashad gained notoriety as the support act during Schoolboy Q’s international tour in 2014, which is also the year he debuted at Pitchfork. Coming back to Chicago for the second time this year (he played two sold-out shows at the Double Door in January), Rashad has made it clear that this is only the beginning of his career.

Chicago rapper Joey Purp played hits from both of his mixtapes, including the single “Girls”, which is probably his most well-known song. Purp is a founding member of Savemoney, a Chicago collective of hip-hop artists including Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa. Purp brought out Mensa and fellow Savemoney member Towkio during his show to perform tracks they had collaborated on. Chicago rappers often bolster one another and promote each other’s work, making the local hip-hop scene a mostly positive place to be.

In the late afternoon, The Avalanches informed us that they would not be playing due to a severe illness in one of the member’s families. They were due to perform only an hour after this announcement, leaving many Pitchfork goers sympathetic but saddened. On top of this, shoegaze rockers Ride experienced technical difficulties before their set and started 20 minutes late. They were met with raucous applause when they did start, however, lifting the mood of disappointed Avalanches fans. Their set was extended by 15 minutes due to The Avalanches’ open time slot, which was taken over by Jamila Woods.

Woods was originally slated to play the smallest stage, but she was moved to the largest stage (where she rightly should have been to begin with. She was the perfect act to listen to before Solange, and her soulful, powerful voice highlighted her lyrics that focus on being a black woman in a still-divided city (Woods is from Chicago). Her song “Blk Girl Soldier” is a call to black women to be the voice of the oppressed, and it spread through Union Park like wildfire.

As the sun set, everyone gathered in front of the stage to witness the visual masterpiece that was Solange’s performance. Dressed all in red and adorned by a full brass band, backup dancers, and massive set pieces, Solange channeled last year’s FKA Twigs performance while still maintaining a persona all her own. She played older pop hits while also highlighting her newest album, A Seat at the Table. At one point. Solange got off the stage and walked into the crowd, serenading her most avid fans who had waited hours to get a front row spot. Her performance was the perfect way to end the weekend.