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5 Pitchfork Performances to Watch (Ok…7 Really)

Written by on July 17, 2019

I’ll start this off by fully admitting that I’m going to cheat. Our Managing Director asked for five artists I think everyone should see at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, in Chicago’s Union Park, and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t narrow it down!

Every year, the folks at Pitchfork curate of the most looked-forward-to weekends of music of the summer and I had to sneak a couple of extra acts to check out into my preview. 

Forgive me, Team Vocalo. For, I am weak. WEAK FOR GREAT MUSIC!

So, let’s go to the park this weekend, and see and hear these greats…



(6:15 – 7:15, Green Stage, Friday)

I had the pleasure of catching Pusha T at last year’s Afropunk Fest in Brooklyn, and his hometown crowd may as well have lifted him up on their shoulders like Rudy Ruetigger. I can only imagine that his fans in Chicago will have similar reactions to hearing the GOOD Music prez IRL. If King Push really wants to get the P4K crowd hyped, he’ll treat us to a lil Clipse reunion. Please, Pusha? With sugar on top?


(6:30 – 7:15, Blue Stage, Sunday)

As the aforementioned Pusha T famously said, “If you know, you know.” and some of us GenXers have been known, and rocking with Neneh Cherry since 1989’s Raw Like Sushi, which features one of the greatest dancefloor fillers of all time in “Buffalo Stance”. Her very musical family includes legendary jazz musician Don Cherry, and her sound has incorporated more of that genre as time has gone on. But, there will still be room for “Buffalo Stance” and girl-powered Lenny Kravitz diss track, “Buddy X”, in the set, I’m willing to bet.


(6:30 – 7:15, Blue Stage, Saturday)

The hip hop pride of Gary, IN returns triumphantly to the Midwest on the strength of Freddie, Fetti, and Bandana, all released in the last year. The latter, his most recent collaboration with Madlib, is hot off the presses and already one of the standout albums of 2019. Expect cameos along the way, as your boi definitely plays well with others, like Curren$y and Killer Mike. Who knows who Gangsta Gibbs will have in tow? Even if he rolls in solo, you’ll still not want to miss this. 


(1:45 – 2:15, Red Stage, Saturday)



(2:45 – 3:30, Blue Stage, Sunday)

I told y’all I was cheating with this list, but I couldn’t leave two Vocalo favorites behind! Chicago’s very own purveyors of Black Boy Joy and Black Girl Magic take their respective stages this weekend, to make new fans and to delight those of us who have been following their careers for some time. This festival is always one where you can catch future superstars on the rise, and these two will bring the kind of summer time vibes that we live for. Disco Ric will surely be in the house, and Tasha’s dreamy sounds are a perfect start to Day 3 of the hottest weekend we’ll have seen in a while. 


(7:25 – 8:25, Red Stage, Friday) 



(8:30 – 9:50, Green Stage, Saturday)


What is there to say about these absolute legends of soul music that your own ears haven’t been telling all of us since the 50s? Mavis is Chicago’s musical godmother, and dang it if the woman still doesn’t bring it all to the stage. Expect solo numbers, some hits from when she was in that little family band she used to have, and maybe a Jeff Tweedy sighting.

The Isleys are celebrating SIXTY YEARS of doing the thing, and they’ve promised some special guests of their own. I’m selfishly looking forward to the largest “…a little bit softer now.” dance along I’ll ever have been a part of. The whole park needs to turn up for this. 

The 2019 Pitchfork Music Festival takes place July 19-21 in Chicago’s Union Park.

For tickets and more information, visit www.PitchforkMusicFestival.com and keep your eyes on Vocalo’s Instagram, @Vocalo, for on the ground coverage. 

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