Pitchfork Music Festival Day Two: Kelela, Raphael Saadiq, And Moses Sumney Save A Dreary Day
Day two of the 2018 Pitchfork Music Festival lacked a certain umph, excitement and urgency. A few words that come to mind when describing the day would be “boring”, “delays”, and “wacky a** weather.” Although one shouldn’t hold the elements against them as festival officials provided ponchos for attendees.
The lackluster energy of the second day was brought on by the imbalanced diversity of genres. Saturday (July 21) was lead heavily by alternative pop, folk, soul, and rock acts and many of them, while talented lacked the stage presence to move the crowd. One could argue day two seemed to be the least stacked musical roaster compared to day one, and forthcoming day three. These factors along with random weather changes and set delays made day two, for a lack of better phrasing, kind of sucky.
Kelela is the first blue stage performer I’ve seen today who doesn’t have someone playing a clarinet #p4kfest
— Leor Galil (@imLeor) July 22, 2018
Things weren’t all bad though as there were still some litty performances from the lone rapper of the day, Berhana, along with Zola Jesus, Blood Orange, and Circuit des Yeux. However, it was the amazing sets of the legendary Raphael Saadiq, Kelela, and the rising star Mosey Sumney who saved the day.
Moses Sumney Becomes the Proverbial “Black Moses” And Captivates Attendees Like They're His Flock
Draped in all black choir-esque fit, Los Angeles indie artist Moses Sumney captivated fans as if he was the literal Moses himself. Singing from behind a uniquely shaped black and gold podium, fans watched him turn his voice and the mic into unorthodox musical instruments with different pitches and with great results.
With a bold blend of rock, folk, traditional R&B, Neo-Soul and funk, Sumney captivated fans as he delivered alluring performances of “Make Out In My Car”, “Plastic” from the Insecure Season One soundtrack, “Quarrel” and “Don’t Bother Calling.” With a standout set, it highly likely earned some new fans.
The Awe-Inspiring Moment: Sumber proved his musical Moses genes as he walked across the ramp between the barricades while performing, mimicking Moses parting the Red Sea. The moment continued as Sumney made contact with a fan and passionately sang to her.
Raphael Saadiq Brings Booming Stage Performance While Previewing New Album
Although it doesn’t rain much in Southern California, it certainly dripped on and off in hot and muggy Chicago. Luckily, it wasn’t enough disrupt Raphael Saadiq’s groover or set as it was the best one of the day.
After kicking things off with a lengthy jam session, Mr. Instant Vintage brought the funk, performing solo bangers like “Still Ray”, “Good Man” and “Go to Hell.” Saadiq energized the crowd when he brought out A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad for a brief appearance. The duo payed homage to their The Ummah days and honored J. Dilla by performing one of the late producer’s remixes. The 52-year-old musician did it all while a visual artist was behind him painting a beautiful Afrocentric black-and-white mural.
It didn’t take long for him to get into his classics as he generously went through songs like “You Should Be Here” (sans D’Angelo), Lucy Pearl’s “Dance Tonight”, and the lone Tony! Toni! Tone! cut he performed, “Anniversary”. He also took a moment to perform a yet-to-be-released song from his forthcoming album (which does not have a set release date) "Jimmy Lee," the title track inspired by the memory of his late brother who passed away from a drug overdose.
He wrapped things up by going through a medley of tracks he written a variety of artists such as D’Angelo’s “How Does It Feel” Erykah Badu’s “Love Of My Life”, and Solange’s (who headline last year’s festival) “Cranes In The Sky.”
The Awkward Moment: As Saadiq's performed Solange’s 2017 hit “Cranes in The Sky”, it proved to be cringeworthy moment, but not because of him, but because fans simply didn’t know the words. Being the master of the stage he is, the producer did the best he could to carry fans to the home stretch by having them sing funnier (and more fitting) version, dedicated to smoking some good “loud” (“I tried to smoke it awaaaayyyyyyy/I tried to blow one in the aiiiiirrrrr.”) Good times, folks.
Despite the Shortened Set, Fans Couldn’t Get Enough of Kelela’s Second Pitchfork Appearance
Kelela returned for the second time since the 2014 Pitchfork Music Festival as a much bigger act and it shows.
Even though the set started a bit late, Kelela didn’t waste any time dominating the stage with background dancers and DJ in tow. And to say that fans were ecstatic to see her is an understatement as they explodes when she opened to her smash “LMK”.
As the multi colored lights filled the stage, Kelela’s sultry, yet electrifying energy made for a spellbinding performance as she performed other sensual bops between her latest work, "Take Me Apart "and Hallucinogen like “Rewind”, “Frontline.”
Although she was well received and had one of the most fun and outright dazzling sets of the day, it would have been much better and felt more rewarding if she had more time as fans loudly clamored for an encore.
The Disappointing Part: While Kelela had one of the best sets of the evening, it was cut short due to the late start. Oddly enough, her set felt as if it went by quickly (but not rushed, thankfully). And even though fans loudly asked for an encore, our hope was shut down instantly when the mics were taken away.