The Beat: Pitchfork Music Festival (Chicago, July 18-20)

The ninth annual Pitchfork Music Festival seemed to be having a stroke of bad luck in the weeks leading up to it (as detailed in Billboard's July 18 article "Is Pitchfork Fest Cursed?"). But perhaps the pall has been lifted, as it was all smiles in Union Park, with some of Chi-Town's most pleasant temps to date (high 70s all weekend).

Beck played a hits-heavy headlining set on July 18, while camera-shy Neutral Milk Hotel toplined a reverent set on July 19 celebrating the band's limited '90s discography. Kendrick Lamar graduated from 2012 side-stage performer to closing out the whole shebang with a ferocious crowd-pleaser the night of July 20, with "Backseat Freestyle" hitting hardest. Elsewhere, Giorgio Moroder celebrated his disco legacy on the Red Stage, Grimes previewed mainstream R&B-leaning material from her upcoming sophomore album, and St. Vincent redefined headbanging when she used her own visage as percussion for her set the night of July 19. ("Icing my face after the crazy fun show at Pitchfork Fest. Thank you, all!" she later tweeted.)

One of the best appearances at Pitchfork, however, wasn't on a stage: Marnie the Dog, a 12-year-old female Shih Tzu who has become a bit of an Instagram sensation, posed with musicians throughout the fest.


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