07/15/2010 10:36 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Pitchfork 2010 Guide: Best Shows And Acts To See At This Year's Pitchfork Music Festival

It's finally here: the Pitchfork Music Festival takes over Union Park Friday afternoon. While there are a , whole, lot of guides to the festival, HuffPost Chicago couldn't resist getting in on the action as well. For the complete schedule and performance times, click here. And with that, our guide to Pitchfork 2010:


The Pitchfork Music Fest is, among other things, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see some of the biggest acts in indie rock. Two of them play Friday night: Broken Social Scene, the innovative Canadian collective that launched the career of Feist, among many others, and Modest Mouse, the seventeen-year standbys of the indie scene whose 2004 breakthrough Good News for People Who Love Bad News catapulted them to international success and won them two Grammy nominations.

LCD Soundsystem, the Saturday night headliner, is another big-name act not to miss. James Murphy, the DJ who's behind the band, spins his innovative and eminently danceable blend of electronic, punk, disco and other styles to perfection. His new album This Is Happening has kept audiences grooving, and his live shows are energetic, high-powered affairs.

On Sunday, lucky Pitchfork attendees will have a chance that, until March of this year, no one had for ten years: the chance to see Pavement live. The band never had a commercial breakthrough before splitting up in 1999, but became a cult favorite and influenced a generation of grungy lo-fi indie rock.

Broken Social Scene plays the (c) stage on Friday at 7:20; Modest Mouse plays the (a) stage that night at 8:30. LCD Soundsytem is on the (a) stage at 8:30 on Saturday, and Pavement is the same stage and time on Sunday.


This year's Pitchfork has done an admirable job of departing from the genres you might expect and bringing in some true talent in the hip-hop department. Perhaps the biggest hip-hop name it landed is Big Boi of Outkast fame, whose new solo album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty hit shelves just last week. Early reviews are raving about the album, an inventive blend of sounds from across the Southern-rap spectrum.

Another rapper who has seen success on his own as well as with a group is Wu-Tang Clan member Raekwon. "The Chef" released his first solo album, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... in 1995 to much critical acclaim. It took him 14 years to follow it up, but Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II was just as well received.

El-P, an emcee who also co-founded the influential label Definitive Jux (Aesop Rock, Del tha Funky Homosapien), and Freddie Gibbs, an up-and-coming rapper who's drawn comparisons to Tupac, help round out the hip-hop schedule.

El-P performs Friday at 4:35 on the (a) stage. Raekwon plays the (a) stage Saturday at 4:15, with Freddie Gibbs performing that night at 7:40 on (b). Big Boi performs Sunday on the (c) stage at 7:25.


Chicago acts are represented fairly well at this year's Pitchfork (though never as well as we might like). One, the off-kilter Netherfriends, is coming back home in the midst of an ambitious project: trying to record 50 songs, one in each of the 50 states, during the course of the year. Another member of the Chicago contingent is Cave, a group whose recent release Psychic Psummer has a distant, psychedelic feel and explores some wonderfully extravagant jams. The Smith Westerns, a band that delivers convincingly on lo-fi old-school-pop throwbacks, can also be seen around these parts, even when Pitchfork's not in town.

All three bands perform on the (b) stage: Netherfriends on Saturday at 1pm, the Smith Westerns that day at 4:45, and Cave at 1pm on Sunday.


In a late-in-the-game announcement, Pitchfork revealed that Friday would feature performances by some major stand-up comics on the (b) stage. One more local act made the cut here: up-and-coming standup Hannibal Buress, who has recently made appearances on some national talk shows and performed at Just for Laughs Chicago this summer. He's also featured in a minor role on Louis C.K.'s new FX show "Louie."

Wyatt Cenac, the "Daily Show" correspondent who was very nearly cast on "Saturday Night Live" (he was passed up in favor of Fred Armisen), is on the bill. So is Michael Showalter, star of the cult classic "Wet Hot American Summer" and the brilliant Comedy Central show "Stella." Closing the night is Eugene Mirman, whose hilariously absurd style of comedy has landed him appearances on TV shows like "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" and "Flight of the Conchords." He has also toured with a number of musicians, including Modest Mouse, Yo La Tengo, and Cake.

Hannibal Buress starts the comedy at 5:45. Cenac is on at 6:30, followed by Showalter at 7:15 and Mirman at 8pm.