Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 Preview: Saturday
By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 16, 2015 7:00PM
Bully, photo by Pooneh Ghana
Every year we recommend a few acts the staff is personally excited about for each day of Pitchfork Music Festival. Today we're highlighting the bands we're most excited to see at Union Park this Saturday. This list is by no means comprehensive, so if we missed an act you're looking forward to seeing, let us know and tell us why you're excited to see them!
RELATED: Friday preview
Best reason to get to Union Park already.
Protomartyr on the Red Stage at 1:45 p.m.
You’ve waited all year to enjoy an onslaught of scuzzy guitar in the park so don’t delay at brunch or get hung up in the entry line. Detroit post-punks Protomartyr will take you for an early ride with a hooky garage sound that growls of rust belt grit. Singer Joe Casey delivers guttural musings with a darkly humorous twist alongside ample riffage imbued with the sense of urgency you’ll need to get things going. —Jessica Mlinaric
Catch her while you can.
Bully on the Blue Stage at 1:55 p.m.
Bully is this writer’s favorite new band of the past year and the buzz agrees, with the Nashville four-piece appearing on both the Pitchfork and Lollapalooza line-ups. It’s a simple enough formula, with lead Alicia Bognanno recalling ‘90s grunge goddesses wailing over fuzzy, frantic guitar. Her self-reflective lyrics are set to rollicking pop punk and slow burning scuzz. With a nostalgia-tinged sound and songs recalling shark teeth and milkshakes, Bully’s playground is the place to be this summer. —Jessica Mlinaric
Future Brown, photo by Benjamin Alexander Huseby
Best Chance to see MC Tink (and other hip-hop guest stars).
Future Brown on the Green Stage at 2:30 p.m.
Fairly new on the scene, Fatima Al Qadiri, Asma Maroof and Daniel Pineda of Nguzunguzu, and J-Cush of Lit City Trax released their debut single as Future Brown late last year. They followed up with a self titled full length in February crammed with guest stars from a new generation of hip-hop. There’s R&B reminiscent of late '90s, sexy with a side of badass, but this group and their “signature take on urban music” also have influences of dancehall and world beats. They’ve got major ties to the Chicago hip-hop community, too, teaming up with on-the-rise MC Tink on “Wanna Party” and the infectious “Room 302,” and with the Sicko Mobb duo calling out Chiraq on “Big Homie.” If we’re lucky, we’ll see these hometown acts make a guest appearance. —Michelle Meywes Kopeny
Earliest opportunity to gaze at the sky from your concert blanket.
Mr. Twin Sister on the Blue Stage at 2:50 p.m.
This chillwave quintet originally named Twin Sister released their first album In Heaven in 2011, but had a rough go of it afterward. In one year the band split from their record label, survived a mid-tour van crash and saw their vocalist Andrea Estella suffer a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. After some much deserved time off, the New York based group added the Mister and got back to work on their self-titled follow up album, a slightly darker, decidedly more mature effort that still has danceable moments on tracks like “Out of the Dark” and “In the House of Yes.” You can also catch these guys (and girls) opening for Ariel Pink at Lincoln Hall tonight. —Michelle Meywes Kopeny
Ex Hex, photo by JonahTakagi
Earliest chance to get your riot grrrl on.
Ex Hex on the Red Stage at 3:20 p.m.
One thing that struck me when I saw the initial Pitchfork 2015 lineup is that unlike many other large music festivals, it’s heavy on female-fronted acts. Not only that, but it’s a Riot Grrrl fan’s dream. Sleater-Kinney is back and headlining. Kathleen Hannah’s latest band, The Julie Ruin, will take the stage Sunday and Mary Timony’s new three-piece Ex Hex will kick things off with a Saturday afternoon set on the Red Stage. Ex Hex are self-described as “that band your older brother’s friends listened to” which means it promises to be a hard rocking, punk rock sing-a-long. Ex Hex are known for their tight, straightforward and energetic live shows and with an afternoon set, they’ll be the perfect way for festival goers to get warmed up for the fest’s headliners. —Gina Provenzano
Best act to get your energy back up mid-fest.
Vince Staples on the Blue Stage at 3:45 p.m.
The middle of the second day of a festival can sometimes start to drag. If you’re there for three days, your adrenaline won’t be as high like it was the day before, and you know you have another day in the sun to look forward to. There will be no realistic threat of a drag at Pitchfork this year with Vince Staples holding down the midday spot. This Cali rapper has been slowly picking up much-deserved steam as his name makes it into more and more lists of musicians to check out. Do yourself a favor, don’t miss his set. —Sophie Day
Best time to chill the fuck back down if you’re too amped up.
Kurt Vile and the Violators on the Green Stage at 4:45 p.m.
When we first encountered Kurt Vile we admittedly wrote him off as a member of the then emerging freak folk scene. Over the years he’s taken some of those folk concepts and exploded them into full band arrangements, currently specializing in long winding compositions punctuated by flares of some wicked guitar work. The title of his breakout album, Walking In A Pretty Daze, actually does an incredibly accurate job of describing his musical style, though “daze” may be a bit of a misnomer. Vile knows exactly where he’s going with every song, it’s only the listener that is buoyed along by a pleasant sense of surprise at all times. —Jim Kopeny / Tankboy
Best Blue Stage act that will probably return to the Red Stage in a few years.
Ariel Pink on the Blue Stage at 4:45 p.m.
The Blue Stage has hosted a number of acts who have since returned to the fest on a larger stage at a later slot. If his live performance translates his fringy lo-fi recordings into the seductive and serpentine show it can be, Ariel Pink (given name Ariel Marcus Rosenberg) could very well be back. I for one appreciate Pink’s apathy toward self-editing, which powers through his music like, well, a “plastic raincoat in the pig parade.” Daylight can damper the vibe of certain shows, but we are loosening our belts and boot strings for a totally weird but can’t-stop-watching, can’t-stop-dancing set to tear us through the halfway wall. —Kristine Sherred
The New Pornographers, photo by Shona Kasinger
Best way to hear a real supergroup.
The New Pornographers on the Green Stage at 6:15 p.m.
The New Pornographers' solid power pop poignantly ushered in the 21st century after the band formed in 1999. Since then, many indie music stars including Neko Case, Carl Newman, Kathryn Calder and many more have called the band a kind of second home. Their evening show at Pitchfork on Saturday will hopefully contain the true highlights of their collective canon, such as Twin Cinema, Mass Romantic and last year's Brill Bruisers. I slightly hesitate to call them a "supergroup" and instead prefer to think of them as a collective who like to jam. No matter what other project or group the members are in at any given moment, as The New Pornographers, they experiment and harmonize, jam and bond and the music goes from indie to electric power pop, and everywhere in between. The thing about this band is how unpredictable they are album to album and performance to performance, so Saturday will be a sure treat to fans both old and new. —Carrie McGath
Best chance to say you saw him before all your friends.
Shamir on the Blue Stage at 6:45 p.m.
Pitchfork has already called it. By giving 20-year-old Shamir Bailey a Saturday evening spot in its festival lineup, they’re betting big on a musician that only has one full-length album under his belt. And it was released only this past May. Following his debut breakout LP Ratchet, Shamir will take to the stage with fun soulful, disco-inspired beats, androgynous R&B vocals and will belt out one of our favorite sassy lyrics of the summer: “Don’t try me, I’m not a free sample.” —Gina Provenzano
Sleater-Kinney, photo by Brigitte Sire
Future Islands on the Red Stage at 7:25 p.m.
One of many bands that struggle for years before one big break—in this case, a formidable, immediately exalted late night performance—Future Islands has been playing together for almost a decade. They self-released one album and recorded another before signing with locally-based Thrill Jockey in 2009; only in 2014 did they announce a relationship with other indie label-darling 4AD. Then came the Letterman show, Jimmy Kimmel, Jools Holland, a song of the year in "Future Islands," and this summer Glastonbury and Pitchfork (among dozens of other tour stops on both sides of the pond). If television adds 10 pounds, we hope Sam Herring and co.'s Red Stage debut, replete with mid-rise pants, plenty of guttural roars and a time slot capable of stealing the night, breaks the risers. — Kristine Sherred
Best way to channel your inner riot grrrl.
Sleater-Kinney on the Green Stage at 8:30 p.m.
Formed in 1994, Sleater-Kinney took a break from music in 2006 and re-banded last year. Members Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss will hopefully indulge their old fans and new ones alike with a set that will represent their intriguing and formidable career. Their latest album, No Cities to Love, won new fans over to their multi-dimensional, driven music while old fans were equally wooed. Their critically-acclaimed return with this highly cogent and musically layered record shows their staying power as well as their deep roots in the canon of hardcore punk. The riveting rock Sleater-Kinney consistently delivers live and on albums is not to be missed. Let the hardcore underground these incredible artists helped to evolve suck you in and rile up your radical riot grrrl. —Carrie McGath
Your other chance to say you saw him before all your friends.
Vic Mensa on the Blue Stage at 8:45 p.m.
This Kids These Days alumnus has already released a critically acclaimed mixtape (INNANETAPE), toured the States and Europe, collaborated with Chance the Rapper and Kanye West—performing with West and Sia on the SNL 40 anniversary special—and signed to Jay-Z’s label. Also, by all counts he still seems to be a really cool, well grounded cat. So yeah, nothing to see here. In other words, miss Vic Mensa's set at your own peril.
—Jim Kopeny / Tankboy