Photo: Ray Whitehouse
“It honestly looks like you’re having the time of your life,” said Solange, looking out onto her audience. She had it right.
The ebullient, spry younger Knowles sister is not only an astute observer, she is also a fabulous performer who easily captures a crowd’s attention and devotion. Solange began her set with “Don’t Let Me Down” a track from her 2012 EP True (produced by Dev Hynes, a.k.a. Blood Orange, who takes the stage today at 2:50 p.m.). The single, like most of her EP, is a salute to ‘80s pop songs with lyrics that capture both girlish innocence and world-weary wisdom, with electronic drums that hang on the back beat.
The crowd may have been having a blast, but they were taking their cues from the singer herself; no one was having more than Solange. As she moved through tracks from True, Solange danced across the stage with an energy so infectious that one couldn’t help but absorb it. “I want to turn this into a high school prom fest!” she shouted at the crowd. Two guys standing next to me took it to heart, “I mean this is some sexy shit," one said, "should we go to the back and try and find some girls?”
While most of her songs off True are restrained and modest, when Solange did a sultry cover of Dirty Projectors’ “Stillness Is the Move” (a nice little homage to last year’s fest where the Projectors played the single during its set), her riffing and vocalizing were just as virtuosic as Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.
After singing with Destiny's Child as a teen, taking a detour into mainstream pop with her album SoL-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams, 2013 has been a year of reinvention for Ms. Knowles. And so far, it's working. If her Pitchfork set, and current momentum, is any indicator of things to come, it won't be long until Solange returns to Pitchfork as a fest headliner.