July 18, 2016


15 Pitchfork Music Festival Performances, Ranked By My Dad

Ollie Millington/Redferns
Ollie Millington/Redferns

Watching my 61-year-old father dance to songs like “Birthday Sex” never gets old.

I haven’t watched him gyrate to “Birthday Sex” before this weekend, but I have watched him shimmy to A$AP Rocky’s “F—kin’ Problems,” Björk’s “Crystalline,” iLoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday” and Grimes’ “Oblivion” over the past five years, as he and I have attended every Pitchfork Music Festival since 2012 and have unabashedly danced like goons at all of them. This year I got to witness a lot of dad-dancing at Jeremih, especially when Chance The Rapper graced the stage; my father, a lawyer from New Jersey, knows Chance’s music very well now, after watching him headline in 2015. The older student, once unfamiliar and curious with this scene, is now the expert.

I’ve been writing Pitchfork Music Festival recaps with my dad for a half-decade now because getting his take on some of the more promising artists within the indie world is always more fascinating to me than reading (or writing) a standard festival recap. What does my dad think of Savages’ live show? Does Car Seat Headrest impress him like they impress me? And did Brian Wilson dazzle him since they’re from the same generation? Each act we see represents another potential agreement or argument, as he and I see eye-to-eye on a lot of Pitchfork acts, while some, he or I just don’t get.

For this year’s father-son opus, I asked my dad to simply rank every performance he watched at Chicago’s Union Park this weekend, from worst to best. I give some quick takes below his just to show how often we did and did not see eye-to-eye, but the rankings belong solely to David Lipshutz, Pitchfork veteran, new Jeremih fan club member, and Best Old Musichead. Click on to get started! - Jason Lipshutz

#1FKA Twigs

DAD: She has superb vocals and her effort is all-out, but, for the second time seeing her, I couldn’t get any kind of handle on this performance. The songs are monotonous and screechy to me, and I was obviously too thick to understand the meaning of the various dance arrangements. She’s quite popular, so this was clearly me just not getting it.

SON’S TAKE: Don’t mince words: You really, really don’t like Twigs! Her weirder musical impulses remain pretty thrilling, but yeah, her current Broadway-ready stage setup is pretty inscrutable. Maybe this would have panned out better if Miguel and Twigs had switched spots on Sunday night, and the headliner was a little more accessible…

1 of 15