The Top 10 Must-See Artists at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival 2018

Beyond the headliners, there are a number of awesome acts scheduled for this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. Here are our must-sees:

Pitchfork.

Pitchfork.

Kweku Collins

Kweku Collins is from a suburb just north of Chicago, but has been lumped in with the rest of the Chicago artists on the scene. Collins’ music is a unique blend of self-produced beats over his own lyrics, which float somewhere between rapping and droned-out singing. He performed a wild set at Lollapalooza last year, and is sure to bring that same energy to the Pitchfork stage.

Ravyn Lenae

Pitchfork is notable for bringing a collective of artists together at this festival, but something they’re especially good at is tailoring the talent to represent not only the diversity of the industry, but also the Chicago acts who are hustling to the top. Ravyn Lenae is one of these special acts, along with Saba, Noname, Chicago transplant Smino, and northern suburban Kweku Collins. Ravyn Lenae recently released an EP with one of The Internet’s members, Steve Lacy, and went on tour as an opener for Sza, both have which have skyrocketed Lenae’s career this year. Lenae has migrated from a local Chicago favorite to a worldwide obsession. Still, she hones in on her city’s spirit and is sure to have a truly magical set.

Smino

Smino is a St. Louis native, but moved to Chicago to pursue his career as a rapper. He slept on studio floors while working non-stop and was eventually welcomed into Chicago’s tight knit music scene. Along with Ravyn Lenae, Smino was on tour with Sza, helping boost his tunes up the charts as well. His punchy lyrics and riffs of deliverance set him apart, so his set is sure to smash.

Syd

Syd is the breakout star hailing from two of Los Angeles’ most notable artist groups, The Internet and Odd Future. She worked with The Internet’s album Ego Death, which was nominated for a Grammy and has helped shape the sounds of many of LA’s influential artists. Since her debut album, Fin, Syd has been receiving nothing but accolades for her sultry blend of current hip-hop production with a voice that harks back to 90s R&B pop. Syd is a hallmark artist of our generation and an openly gay female who started off in two all-male rap groups and hustled her way into the world’s most competitive music scene.

Listen to our must-see artists on our Pitchfork playlist:

Saba

Saba is one of Chicago’s most special artists, and is the performer you should count yourself lucky to catch this year. At only 23 years young, Saba not only writes some of the most powerful lyrics you’ll listen to, he has also started a foundation and scholarship in the name of his recent friend John Walt. He’s an artist that not only puts on for his city, but he puts on for people. He dropped his second album prior to touring this year called CARE FOR ME, which is a migration from his previous sound but retains his incredible ability for raw storytelling (listen to “LIFE” for a reference on this ability).

Blood Orange

Dev Hynes, better known by his stage name Blood Orange, brought his ethereal sound to Pitchfork a few years ago and we’re more than excited to see his name on the lineup again. His 2016 album, Freetown Sound, combined a blend of sounds in and outside of music to create a textured landscape unlike any other. He claims he sat in Washington Square Park in New York City to write most of this record. It was there where he caught and recorded a lot of the extra sounds you hear throughout this album, such as a saxophone being played in the distance. The integration of these environmental sounds creates a mysterious, diary-like experience for the listener. You won’t want to miss catching these vibes in the late afternoon sun on Saturday.

Big Thief

Brooklyn indie rock band Big Thief are bringing their synth-tinged guitars and rock-influenced siren-like vocals to Pitchfork’s fest. Their songs are a nice mix of slow, dreamy tunes and more aggressive rock beats. This sonic mix has landed them on a tour with Conor Oberst (frontman of Bright Eyes, one of indie rock’s most legendary acts), as well as an NPR tiny desk concert.

Julie Byrne

Being compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell takes a special person, and Julie Byrne is evidently one of the rare ones. Leaving home at 18, she stumbled into music to quench her own happiness and has since established a name for herself. Living a wandering lifestyle prior to her recognition has molded her music into a soft and observant sound, which will sound beautiful outdoors at Pitchfork.

Joshua Abrams

Joshua Abrams will be bringing some much needed jazz to Pitchfork, a genre too often underrepresented especially at festivals. An early member of the group The Roots, Abrams has built up his career in Chicago’s strong jazz scene. His set will be a unique vibe on Friday, and will set the weekend off perfectly for any music enthusiast.

The War on Drugs

Indie rock veterans The War on Drugs recently won a 2017 Grammy for “Best Rock Album.” They tell fantastic stories in their lyrics while also making some thought-provoking statements, simultaneously rocking into immense guitar tangents that take listeners to another dimension, and Adam Granduciel’s voice has a hauntingly beautiful tone guaranteed to give a listener chills.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Colorado Halloween 2017: Your Guide To All The Best Halloween Shows Happening This Month

By: Mirna Tufekcic

‘Tis the season of witches and warlocks, zombies and monsters, and some kick-ass parties honoring All Hallow’s Eve. If you’re anything like us, you’ve already started gearing up for the most fun weekend of the year- the one that celebrates the weird with music, costumes, and more music. Colorado music lovers, we’re here to tear you apart with choices of all the celebrations taking place around the state for this year’s Halloween weekend.

Boulder

Papadosio.

Papadosio.

Thursday 10/26: The Boulder Theater presents the unmistakeable: The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Colorado’s Elusive Ingredient- Denver’s Rocky Horror Shadowcast will perform along with the film. Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or a virgin to this interactive movie and theatre performance, it’s sure to make a great start to a funky weekend. The key word for this event is interactive.  Expect to touch or be touched.  

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: Halloween weekend at The Boulder Theater will host a two-night “Rave from the Grave” party with Papadosio and friends. Papadosio plans to pay tribute to some of the 90s and early 2000s electronic artists that influenced their path as a band. To pop the cherry of this event, Boulder’s own Dynohunter will take guests on a journey through deep, grounding house tunes, just to lift you up through organic electro peaks and valleys you can rave about all over the dance floor. Saturday night, the party will start with Bass Physics, a one man show put together by Denver’s esteemed Arja Adair guaranteed to provide positive tunes while mixing up acoustic guitar and electronic sounds. Two-day passes are already sold out for this weekend, but click here to buy a one day ticket before they’re all gone. This event is likely to sell out soon.

Sunday 10/29: The Fox Theatre is hosting Sinful Sunday Halloween Party with Midnight North and All Chiefs. This ought to be an upbeat, dancey, bodies-grinding-all-night kind of show as Midnight North brings their soul, country, rock’n’roll, and All Chiefs their indie beeps, boops, and digital sprinkles to make any body groove. The show is free to industry folks; if you’re not one of those get your hands on some tickets here.

Tuesday 10/31: Snakehips make their return to Fox Theatre for Halloween, where we expect to see lots of fun costumes groovin' to their bass drops. Tickets here.

Denver

Marilyn Manson.

Marilyn Manson.

Saturday 10/07: The Mile High City has big things on the agenda throughout October in almost every music venue. The spirit of the season starts with thousands of living dead wannabes at Denver’s Zombie Crawl, and the city will no doubt be bustling with dark spirits from then through the end of October.

Thursday 10/19: Marilyn Manson will bring his tour to the Fillmore Auditorium, as long as he’s healed up from his recent stage injury. While not a Halloween weekend event, it’s close enough, especially since he’s known for having the most disturbing Instagram account around. Enjoy. UPDATE: This show is rescheduled for 01/20/18 - details here

Friday 10/20: The Gasoline Lollipops are bringing you one scary hoedown at Denver's Lost Lake tonight. Hosted by 105.5 The Colorado Sound, Grayson County Burn Band and Whipperpool will join Colorado's favorite alt-country outfit on good 'ol Colfax for an eerie time. 

Friday 10/27: Lost Lake Lounge is throwing their Terrified Halloween party with Modern Suspects, a “popternative trio,” Optycnerd, an electo-indie-pop beats duo that bring the heat to the dance floor, and Vynyl, an electronic hip-hop pop duo. This one’s set for a full house of Denver-based musicians and beat-makers bound to terrify you into dancing the night away.

Friday 10/27: Syntax Physic Opera will host an early event starting at 7PM called Hell Toupee, A Lounge Night in Hell, which is a comedy and variety show. Then starting at 9PM, you can check out Lillian’s album release party.

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: The Oriental Theater will have a weekend packed full of halloween celebrations. Friday night is the Third Annual Monster Ball with Alice in Chains and KISS tribute bands. Need I say more? Saturday night is reserved for a costume contest event called MORTIFIED, an international storytelling event where adults share their most embarrassing and hilarious childhood artifacts in front of total strangers. Dare I say terrifying?

Optycnerd.

Optycnerd.

Saturday 10/28: Bar Standard/Milk Bar will host a Colorado HELLoween Ball with TR/ST. It's the biggest event of the year from promoters Ritual Noize. TR/ST is considered a popular goth/industrial/dark electronic artist and HELLoween is a party for just such fans, so it should be a hell of a time if you’re into that scene. According to Ritual Noize, “HELLoween has always been about mixing club culture, the Halloween tradition and live musical performances with a horror theme attached.” This year the decor will be Psycho-themed; hurray for Hitchcock fans!

Saturday 10/28: Halloween Hootenanny at The Bluebird Theater will feature Denver DJ Wesley Wayne and a costume competition that can score you year passes to some of Denver’s most beloved venues. Click on the Hootenanny link above for details and if you plan to attend, you’d better come in your best costume yet.

Saturday 10/28: Gothic Theatre is throwing Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery party with Deer Tick and special guest Chris Crofton, who will open up the event with, hopefully, a very funny set before things get groovy and ghosts begin to apparate. Deer Tick hails from Providence, Rhode Island with a rebellious take on alternative, folk, rock’n’roll, and country vibes.

Saturday 10/28: Larimer Lounge is hosting their Halloween Edition of Dance Yourself Clean with DJs inspired by the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Grimes, Blood Orange, and more. Shake off the sugar with this one.

Estes Park

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Saturday 10/21: The Shining Ball at the Concert Hall of the famous Stanley Hotel will have yet another yearly Halloween staple with Denver’s beloved Gasoline Lollipops. We imagine the band will truly bring the spirit of Halloween to life, with growls from frontman Clay Rose and howls from the audience over the band’s poignant lyrics and dark, stompy tunes.

Saturday 10/28: The legendary Masquerade Ball at the Stanley Hotel will conclude the Halloween events at the haunted property with live music by Jonny Mogambo backed by a full band.

Fort Collins

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Friday 10/13: Mishawaka Amphitheatre will host a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening all its own with a troupe of actors, games, and trivia. There will also be a costume contest and drink specials. Practice your time warp now.

Friday 10/27: Hodi’s Half Note is getting metal with Skinned, A Flood Foretold, Inficier, and Voracious Souls. Headbang until witching hour.

Greeley

21731399_1707445302601793_8471734089881918703_o.jpg

Friday 10/27: Sweaty soul outfit The Burroughs are headlining Moxi Theatre’s 4th Annual Halloween Extravanganza, and chill wave beach band Slow Caves are opening. No word on if the bands are dressing up yet, but fingers crossed.

Sunday 10/29: The Moxi is also throwing a purely metal Halloween show this weekend with Bash, Skinned, Last Word, Infinited Conscious, and Cyber Zodiac. Go get weird.

Jamestown

The Alcapones.

The Alcapones.

Saturday 10/28: If it’s in your interest to get away from all the debauchery and chaos of city life during Halloween, then the quaint town of James has something for you. They are hosting The Alcapones at the good ‘ol Merc. A ska/reggae band with a mountain flare, The Alcapones will definitely bring the house down and set this mountain roof on fire.    

And finally, for those of you wanting to see and hear live music without all of the Halloween hype, here’s what’s good:

Friday 10/27: Tonight at the Hi-Dive in Denver is Jocko Homo, an event to pay tribute to 90s and 2000s alternative rock bands like Incubus, Weezer, and Modest Mouse, with cover bands honoring all three respectively. Sidenote: Actual Incubus and Weezer play Red Rocks this month.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

Friday & Saturday 10/27-10/28: Denver’s The Ogden Theatre will host two nights of The Infamous Stringdusters this weekend. Party down.

Saturday 10/28: Red Rocks Amphitheatre will be abuzz with Russ, an American hip-hop singer/songwriter, recording artist, and producer.

Tuesday 10/31: Dream pop four-piece Alvvays  are ringing in actual Halloween night at Denver's Bluebird Theater with Jay Som.

Tuesday 10/31: Denver's own Itchy-O play Summit Music Hall on Halloween, which is fitting for this avant-garde and experimental marching band. The show is sponsored by Meow Wolf, so expect to get weird. 

See you out there somewhere Halloweenies.

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Have something to add to this list? Let us know here.

Brian Wilson, Blood Orange, & Anderson Paak: Day Two at Pitchfork Music Festival Was a Success

By: Annie Kane

Day two at Pitchfork was quite a success.

Pitchfork Music Festival.

Pitchfork Music Festival.

The weather yesterday was something festival goers wish for every year, and in Chicago, those humidity-free 80 degree days are quite a rarity. With a crowd that seemed almost double in size compared to the day before, every stage was bumping and filled with trendy music listeners.

Blood Orange.

Blood Orange.

Blood Orange’s set was just as magical as I was hoping it would be: donning simple jogger pants and a headband, Devonte Hynes started things off by playing the audio track off of the first song from his recent album, Freetown Sound. The woman’s voice on the track echoed off the park, as she spoke in slam-poetry style about feminism and media representation in today's society. You could feel the audience’s emotion as cheers swelled up in the strong points of her speech. Hynes then sat down on his low-set piano, playing simple notes that hushed the enormous crowd gathered to see him perform. As he rose to grab a mic, two of Hynes’ fierce backup singers strutted across the stage to their mics and the saxophonist grabbed his instrument as they all, in perfect synchronization, began “Augustine”. Later on, Hynes brought out Carly Rae Jepsen for the tune, “All That”. Hynes’ unique style blends the culture of off-pop 90’s music with clear inspiration from David Bowie and Prince, tied into his own unique vision. Hynes seemed so relaxed on stage, as he twirled around singing dreamy notes and with the sun shining behind him, the atmosphere of the set was almost ethereal.

BJ The Chicago Kid.

BJ The Chicago Kid.

BJ The Chicago Kid surprised me with a heartfelt emotion reflected on his face during his performance, and his hardcore drumming skills between songs. His backup guitarist absolutely shredded a few solos of his own, and BJ covered a lot of songs, including tunes from other notable Chicago artists like Kanye West (“THat Part”) and Chance the Rapper (“No Problem”).

Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson.

Brian Wilson started his set early, and as I ran up to catch the last spot in the photo pit, I found myself pausing for a second as the group sang “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”. The song sounded exactly like the Pet Sounds recording, making me question if The Beach Boys were all somehow back together on stage. Wilson remained behind his big grand piano for the length of the performance, staring at his sheet music and occasionally glancing into the jeering crowd. One fan at the front screamed out during a quiet pause, “This is my favorite album ever!” The band members all smiled, and for the whole set, they seemed happy to be performing some of the most beautiful music ever composed. Chicago natives John Cusack (who played Brian Wilson in the film “Love and Mercy”), along with his sister Joan, both came out for a song and sang at the front of the stage with one of the backup singers. Everyone seemed as if they were in a sweet stupor of nostalgia during Wilson’s set.

Anderson Paak.

Anderson Paak.

Since catching Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals at Red Rocks, I have had my eye set on snapping Paak again. I was buzzing with excitement as he ran onstage and went right into “Milk N’ Honey”. Standing between two speakers that were blasting bass so hard that my dress was being blown around, I couldn’t hear Paak’s voice well over the mic, but I was close enough to actually hear him from my spot near the stage. Being so close, I could feel the energy radiating off of Paak and his whole band. He brought so much more power to this performance, keeping energy high by going right into his almost trap-like song, “Drugs”, from the album Venice. He jumped over to the speaker next to me, singing down into my lens before stepping over my head. After the first three songs, security pushed press back, as I reluctantly left the pit. Despite being back in the crowd, the energy was still palpable as Paak got the audience to dance their faces off. It was fantastic.

Hands Up.

Hands Up.

I can say I’m glad to be here, and yesterday’s shows were incredible. Stay tuned for more Pitchfork coverage!

Check out more Pitchfork Festival photos here.

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.