Pitchfork Music Festival 2023 is underway this weekend in Chicago’s Union Park! Here are some highlights from the first day of this year’s fest. Check back after days two and three of the festival for more of the best moments.

Friday, July 21

The Smile at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023
The Smile at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023. Photo by Pooneh Ghana.
The Smile’s Big Experiment

The Smile have been on the festival circuit for a while now and they have it down to a science. There’s Jonny Greenwood’s right arm, sawing his guitar with a violin bow, or strumming it with the fury of a locomotive coupling rod. Here’s Thom Yorke looking wizardly with his hair down, capable of commanding a crowd simply by being himself. There’s Tom Skinner behind the kit, precise and consistent even when nearly subsumed by Yorke’s wail, and live saxophonist Robert Stillman, whose exits and entrances are practically invisible. The setlists are consistent too: Even the newest song first popped up last summer. But if the live production is a cleanroom environment, that’s because the real work is intellectual: Check Greenwood’s classical guitar-inspired solo on that newest composition, “Under Our Pillows,” or the proggy rendition of Yorke’s solo single “Being Pulled Apart By Horses” that closed the night. Good experiments are replicable. —Anna Gaca

Leikeili47 at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023
Leikeili47 at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023. Photo by Daniel Cavazos.
Leikeli47’s Pop-Up

Girl dinner who? Only Brooklyn rapper Leikeli47 brings you “girl blunts” and “it’s my pussy, I can do what I want.” And behind the mask, she has an eye for talent, because somehow every fan she pulls onstage can really move: modern dance spins, vogueing struts, good ol’ booty shaking. Pitchfork Festival crowds are not traditionally known for pussy popping, but last night that might’ve changed. Hey, it’s yours—do what you want. —Anna Gaca

Big Thief, The Smile, Bon Iver

How to Watch the 2023 Pitchfork Music Festival Livestream

Perfume Genius at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023. Photo by Pooneh Ghana.
Perfume Genius at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023. Photo by Pooneh Ghana.
Perfume Genius May Differ From Photo

Perfume Genius sets always feel dangerous, like we’re somehow about to lose him—if only to a dramatic onstage tug-of-war with an institutional metal chair that ends with Mike Hadreas wrapped up in a gob of pale yellow tulle fabric, like a spider’s next meal. He’s got a way of making a mic stand look like it’s physically oppressing him, and with a five-piece band tearing through the biggest ever “No Shape” and a thunderous “Slip Away,” the entire operation feels intimidating. Just one problem: Those heaps of tulle he ordered online were supposed to be “antique gold,” not whatever this color is: “It’s pee pee!” —Anna Gaca

Jlin at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023. Photo by Julian Bajsel.
Jlin at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023. Photo by Julian Bajsel.
Jlin’s Symphony of Rhythm

As the afternoon sun descends, the rays strike the stage at lower angles, advancing toward Jlin’s mixing desk. Her tight, hallucinogenic beat patterns go beyond classic Chicago footwork, even if that’s the kind of dancing you’re likely to see in the front row. Sometimes the music slows like it’s shorting out, or it turns on a dime from heavy, blurred bass to hop-skipping woodblocks and flurries of horn samples: sounds that feel like they’re hurtling at you from all directions in space—even outside in the sunshine, which by this point is illuminating Jlin’s wide smile. Spotted in the crowd: RP Boo. —Anna Gaca

Grace Ives at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023
Grace Ives at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023. Photo by Alexa Viscius.
Grace Ives Is All Over the Place

Having fallen off the stage at last night’s Sleeping Village show (oops), Grace Ives announced that she’d be taking it easy today. I don’t know what “easy” looks like because she was in motion practically the entire set, minus Gatorade breaks, hyping herself up to her own beats as she hopped between songs like “Loose,” “Mirror,” and “Shelley,” an unnamed demo track with a big, stutter-stepping synth vamp, and an improv cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop” with new lyrics about Greta Gerwig’s Barbie. Maximalism can be a lot of fun. —Anna Gaca

Sen Morimoto at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023
Sen Morimoto at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023. Photo by Daniel Cavazos.
Sen Morimoto Still Believes

This time 12 years ago, saxophonist and jazz-rap technician Sen Morimoto said, he was slinging vinyl in the Pitchfork Festival record tent. This year, he appeared alongside a seven-piece band, including Chicago native KAINA on backing vocals, and surprised fans with “a brand new song”—that is, Cher’s “Believe” as a low-key lounge rocker. But there was also a real new song, “The Answer Is Enough,” a preview of an album forthcoming in November. Believe that. —Anna Gaca

Nourished by Time at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023
Nourished by Time at Pitchfork Music Festival 2023. Photo by Daniel Cavazos.
Nourished by Time, Working Artist

“I’m not a full time artist yet. I wanna be,” Nourished by Time’s Marcus Brown told the crowd at Friday’s first set, after recalling how they wrote “Daddy” while working at a Whole Foods supermarket during the pandemic. It’s one of the highlights from this year’s Erotic Probiotic 2, the album of shimmering R&B dance-pop that helped take Brown to their first-ever festival stage—and first-ever festival, period. “You start to see your internal reality become your external reality,” they marveled. “You gotta just stay consistent with it.” Brown came to put in the work. —Anna Gaca

Source: pitchfork.com

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