After kicking off on Friday, the 2022 edition of Pitchfork Festival continued on Saturday (7/16) at Chicago’s Union Park. Mitski closed out the night with a choreographed set that was as much performance art as it was a concert. The Chicago Sun Times writes:
Mitski’s show is no run-of-the-mill concert; it’s full-on performance art in which she uses her entire body to translate the message of her songs. To fully get the volatility across, the artist employs a specific type of Japanese choreography called Butoh that relies on slowed-down dramatic gestures to evoke emotion, and it’s highly effective.
In opener “Love Me More,” Mitski — bathed in a theatrical dark blue light — was basically Lady Macbeth rubbing at her hands and arms as she sang, “Here’s my hand, there’s the itch, but I’m not supposed to scratch.” And in a performance of her stellar new single “Working For the Knife,” she suggestively used her microphone as a simulated weapon to mock slitting her own throat before turning it into a pleasure tool. Even after a brief moment of interacting with the clingy crowd, Mitski noted she had to “get back into character,” illuminating how seriously she takes her craft.
Japanese Breakfast‘s early evening set was another highlight of the day. She brought out Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, who appeared in conversation with Pitchfork editors earlier in the day, to join her on “Kokomo, IN” and a rendition of Wilco’s “Jesus, Etc” (which they also did together at Solid Sound 2022, and which Japanese Breakfast has covered on her own before, too). Watch fan-taken video below.
Earlier in the day, The Armed put on a wild, memorable show, including vocalists in Juggalo face paint, that had the crowd going off. “We were front and center for The Armed at Pitchfork Fest and holy shit,” Stereogum writes, continuing:
The Armed spent their whole set throwing an abrasively loud, admirably communal party onstage: trading instruments, sharing the spotlight, losing their tank tops when the moment was right. From the beginning, they invited the audience into that party. Stage dives and crowdsurfing abounded among the performers. The vocalists often put a mic in fans’ faces, who then eagerly shouted along. At one point the lead guitarist summoned a circle pit with nothing but a hand gesture. By the end of the set half the band (basically everyone with a microphone) was in the crowd sowing joyous chaos. When it was over, I felt elated for everyone who experienced this show and awful for all the acts that had to follow the Armed.
Watch video clips of their set below, as well.
Saturday at Pitchfork also featured Jeff Parker & the New Breed, CupcakKe, Hyd, yeule, Dry Cleaning, Magdalena Bay, Iceage, Lucy Dacus, Karate, Low, and more. See pictures of the whole day by James Richards IV below.
Japanese Breakfast was already flooring me with an incredible set and then they brought out JEFF TWEEDY. I haven’t seen a show quite like that in a long time. #pitchforkmusicfestival @Jbrekkie pic.twitter.com/TCEXcUphMB
— Jack Droppers (@JackDroppers) July 17, 2022