The Best Moments From the 2022 Pitchfork Music Festival So Far

Pitchfork Music Festival 2022 is officially underway at Union Park in Chicago. You can watch at homeand each day our writers will be highlighting some of their favorite sets.

Arooj Aftab Was a Perfect Way to Start the Fest

As Arooj Aftab wondered during the first set of Friday, would we all have to make a run for it to dodge the thunderstorm? There was no such vibe crusher (during this set at least), with a pleasant sprinkle adding to the peaceful vibe, as Aftab’s voice wafted across the park alongside an acoustic guitar and violin. At the same time, she was wildly charming. Clad in a sick metallic power jacket, Aftab playfully bragged about her recent Grammy win: “Stole that gold! Just kidding, I deserved it.” Rock star that she is, she closed with the song that cinched that gold, “Mohabbat.” —Evan Minsker


Camp Cope’s Georgia Maq at Pitchfork Music Festival 2022. Photo by Alexa Viscius

Camp Cope’s Born-in-the-’90s Spirit

Did you catch Limp Bizkit’s set at Lollapalooza last year? Georgia Maq did, and she’s still talking about it. The Camp Cope leader leaned into a mid-to-late-’90s moment on Friday, soundchecking by singing fragments of Alanis Morissette songs and slipping Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag” chorus into his own band’s neurotics-in-love song “Blue.” They’re the perfect tasting notes for Camp Cope’s own jagged-edged songs about coming to terms with life when nothing is as clean as you’d hoped. —Anna Gaca


Don’t Rain on Tierra Whack’s Parade

Rain had ruled the day by the time Tierra Whack took the stage in the late afternoon, but the Philly rapper refused to let it thwart her plans for a good show. She perched up at the front of the Red stage in short blue galoshes, lavishing crowd members with birthday shout-outs and sprinting through snippets of her colorful songs. Though Whack led the charge in reinvigorating the soaked crowd, her set’s secret MVPs were the crew members clearing swaths of rain off the stage with push brooms—a choreographed dance set to Whack’s familiar chaos. —Allison Hussey


Dawn Richard at Pitchfork Music Festival 2022. Photo by Daniel Cavazos

Dawn Richard’s Future Nostalgia

Perhaps it was Dawn Richard’s dancers, with their LED surgical masks and Jetsons-esque bodysuits, that made her set feel beamed in from a sci-fi flick. Richard, in thigh-high boots and a stage-grazing red mane, looked like their intergalactic queen, leading them in angular choreography. Lurching between house, hard rock, and funk, Richard and her band banged out Second Line cuts like “Bussifame” and “Kid Creole.” She also peered into the past, covering ’90s classics like No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” and Sade’s “Pearls.” But her finest moment was smack in the middle of the Cranberries’ ripper “Zombie.” Richard kneeled in front of her guitarist, bending backwards as he tore through a solo inches from her face. Her shapeshifting set reaffirmed the declaration she belted during “Kid Creole”: “I don’t need a genre. I am the kind!” —Madison Bloom


Amber Mark at Pitchfork Music Festival 2022. Photo by Julian Bajsel

Amber Mark Has Arrived

New York singer-songwriter Amber Mark’s Friday set, the evening’s last under the verdant trees of the Blue stage, felt like a breakout celebration of everything she’s achieved in the last few years—foremost the eclectic R&B heard on her debut album Three Dimensions Deep, an exquisite collection that reflects the time it took to craft. My ears perked up at her cover of Sisqó’s “Thong Song” and her nods to Chicago house, but it was her emotional depth and stunning set-closer “What It Is” that deeply resonated. I felt it in my bones: Here was a star appreciating her moment. —Marc Hogan


The National at Pitchfork Music Festival 2022. Photo by Daniel Cavazos

The National’s Anthem

There comes a time in a band’s career where a song undergoes its final evolution into a standard. The song just is there, between the air molecules, invisible and everlasting. That’s at least how “Fake Empire” felt last night—not the most rousing barn-burner the National played—that was either classic closer “Terrible Love” or sleeper hit “England”—but it was the one that felt bigger than the band , given over to the crowd as if it was theirs. Also, Matt Berninger: I don’t know how much of your signature crowd weaving you’ve been doing over the last two years but as you start that up again, godspeed to you and your immune system. —Jeremy D. Larson

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