Like most festivals with more than one stage, Pitchfork sometimes books two great acts to play overlapping sets, forcing fans to make a painful choice. Reader writers found quite a few of those conflicts on the fest’s schedule, and thought long and hard about who they’d go to see. These write-ups compare those decisions with the “winners” as determined by Pitchfork itself, via rounded averages of the ratings the site has given to each artist’s releases.
Saturday, 8:45 PM, Blue Stage
Saturday, 8:30 PM, Green Stage
The last two sets on Saturday feel like victory laps. Post-riot-grrrl icons Sleater-Kinney take to the Green Stage behind this year’s No Cities to Love (Sub Pop), a fierce, fun album that’s totally worth the ten-year wait since The Woods. After going on hiatus in 2006, the three members juggled other projects and responsibilities before beginning to rehearse and write in 2012; Sleater-Kinney took their time with this comeback, and their songs sound familiar but renewed and vital. Meanwhile, Chicago MC Vic Mensa adds another feather to his cap by headlining the Blue Stage. The 22-year-old has been rapping since before he could drive legally, and his forthcoming studio debut, Traffic, will come out on Jay Z’s Roc Nation label. Kanye West appears on Mensa’s recent single “U Mad,” and Mensa contributed to two tracks Kanye has released from his forthcoming Swish—Mensa might end up on West’s album as much as Paul McCartney. As far as who to see? Sleater-Kinney may not return to Chicago anytime soon, given their busy lives outside the band. Fortunately Mensa plays here a little more often, so it won’t be too difficult to skip him tonight.
Pitchfork’s call: Sleater-Kinney, 8.7 > Vic Mensa, “Down on My Luck” named 25th-best track of 2014