The third and final day (July 18) of the Pitchfork Music Festival was filled with blog-approved openers pushing their debut albums and ruled by two veteran headlining acts with deep catalogues. Concertgoers at Union Park in Chicago once again endured sweltering heat, but a cool night breeze had set in by the time a reunited Pavement took the stage at 8:30.
Kicking things off with a pitch-perfect version of "Cut Your Hair," the indie giants ended the festival under strings of twinkling lights and in front of a rapt audience. As frontman Stephen Malkmus gave local restaurant recommendations and played his guitar behind his back, he and the rest of Pavement remained in step and delivered a steady performance of classic material like "Silence Kit" and "Frontwards."
If Pavement was the much-anticipated rock act of the weekend, hip-hop fans salivated when Antwan Patton, aka Big Boi, took the stage an hour earlier. The performance doubled as a victory lap for the Outkast rapper's just-released solo debut "Sir Lucius Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty," as he dazzled the crowd with old Outkast tracks like "Rosa Parks" and "So Fresh, So Clean" before delving into his new songs.
"I go by many names," Big Boi told the audience, and after rattling off a few monikers, he concluded, "but tonight… I'll go by Sir Lucius L. Left Foot." The combination of a brass section, synchronized video monitor and brilliant solo tracks like "General Patton" and "Shutterbugg" made for a celebratory set that was arguably the most enjoyable of the weekend.
Major Lazer, the dancehall project of DJs Diplo and Switch, offered an unhinged performance that included Chinese dragons, ballerinas, stage dives from steel ladders and dance moves that heavily relied on humping. The wild energy sharply contrasted with St. Vincent's set, which arrived an hour earlier and showcased Annie Clark's subtle guitar work. Wearing an orange dress and black sunglasses, Clark praised the crowd for withstanding the heat and let loose on the solo of "Your Lips Are Red" to end her otherwise subdued performance.
Early highlights came from Beach House, who turned "Zebra" into a driving sing-along; Local Natives, who played most of their debut LP "Gorilla Manor" to a massive crowd on the side stage; and Lightning Bolt, whose drummer, Brian Chippendale, pounded his kit at warp speed. Although they were scheduled at the same time as Big Boi, Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells sounded like up-and-coming stars as they capped off the side stage with a raucous performance of "Crown on the Ground."