Can’t make it to this year’s (nearly) sold-out Pitchfork Music Festival? Don’t fret. There are enough pre-parties, after-parties, and supplemental events to fill the weekend—and part of the week. From performances by festival bands to post-fest club nights, here's how to attend Pitchfork without even setting foot in Union Park.
MCA Talk: Thurston Moore
Pitchfork’s series of talks at the Museum of Contemporary Art continues as editor Jenn Pelly sits down with the onetime Sonic Youth frontman. Expect anecdotes from Moore’s decades-long career and analysis of his new solo material, which he’ll perform at the festival later this weekend.
Details:Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. 6 p.m. $7–$15.
The Thurston Moore Group, Shells
Three hours after his MCA Talk, Moore performs with The Thurston Moore Group in support of their new full-length, Rock n Roll Consciousness. The album blends Sonic Youth's propulsive energy with the noise of groups like My Bloody Valentine—try and save some energy for the festival.
DETAILS: Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 21+. 9 p.m. $20.
This literary event features new music adapted from the writing of 826CHI students. Organizers promise 11 stories from writers aged 6 to 18 as performed by 11 local bands, including Tasha Viets-VanLear, Black Bear Combo and Nashon Holloway. Stand-up comic Molly Kearney hosts.
DETAILS: Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co., 1276 N. Milwaukee; 7 p.m. $5 suggested donation.
The Annual P4K BK4T Pre-Party
Pitchfork Fest's on-site literary tent Book Fort kicks off a weekend of programming with this pre-party at the Whistler. This year features readings from writer Fred Love-Smith and musician Nat Baldwin.
DETAILS: The Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee, 21+. 7 p.m. Free.
Witness the future of dance music at the Jersey Club Queen's set, which will volley between hip-hop, R&B, and obscure electronics. Local favorites Cqqchifruit, Ariel Zetina, and the Them Flavors DJs round out the night.
DETAILS: East Room, 2354 N. Milwaukee, 21+. 9 p.m. RSVP for no cover.
Derrick Carter, Pat Mahoney & Friends
When he's not drumming in LCD Soundsystem, Pat Mahoney is a multi-faceted musician with an enviable record collection. Mahoney’s DJ set, which takes place one day before he joins LCD Soundsystem at Pitchfork Fest, should skew toward disco, post-punk, and silly house experiments. Local house pioneer Derrick Carter makes the bill extra special.
DETAILS: Smartbar, 3730 N. Clark, 21+. 10 p.m. $15.
While her band-mate spins at Smartbar, LCD Soundsystem synthesizer player Gavin Russom performs a DJ set around the corner at Berlin. This one should be popular—grab a ticket ahead of time. (Also performing: Men’s Room Chicago resident Harry Cross.)
DETAILS: Berlin, 954 W. Belmont, 21+. 10:30 p.m. $10.
Charles Bradley w/ Seun Kuti at House of Vans Chicago
Though it's not billed as an official pre-party, this set is close enough to Union Park to get wrapped up in the revelry. RSVP to reserve a spot at Vans's new combination skate park/concert venue.
DETAILS: House of Vans, 113 N. Elizabeth, 18+. 8 p.m. Free.
Jamila Woods "In The Round"
More of a pre-show than an after show (Woods performs at Pitchfork on Sunday), this unique performance situates the local R&B singer on Thalia Hall's main floor, surrounded on all sides by the audience. Rapper and poet Malcolm London and Party Noire’s DJ Rae Chardonnay also perform at the rare, intimate gig.
DETAILS: Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport, 17+. 8:30 p.m. $16–$18.
Nancy Whang DJ Set
The Virgin Hotel again goes all out for Pitchfork weekend. Things kick off with an early DJ set from LCD Soundsystem keyboardist Nancy Whang just hours before she takes the stage with her band for a headlining festival set.
DETAILS: Virgin Hotel's Cerise, 203 N. Wabash, 21+. 4 p.m. Free.
Bump & GrindFork: an R&B Pitchfork Fest afterjam
It wouldn’t be Pitchfork without Bump & GrindFork, the annual R&B “afterjam.” This year’s edition, hosted by Ernest Wilkins and Lorena Cupcake, features DJs Haute to Death, SomeGuyNamedTy, and All the Way Kay. Dance to r&b and hip-hop tracks old and new, with a portion of proceeds going to youth poetry non-profit Young Chicago Authors.
DETAILS: Beauty Bar, 1444 W. Chicago, 21+. 9 p.m. $5.
If you can’t make guitarist William Tyler’s early Pitchfork set (4 p.m. on Friday), grab tickets to this late-night show, where he’ll perform selections from his fourth full-length album, Modern Country.
DETAILS: Constellation, 3111 N. Western, 18+. 8:30 p.m. $10–$15.
Ace Previews Vol. II
Peer inside one of the most anticipated new hotels in the city. A short walk from Union Park, the Ace partners with local funk party Slo ‘Mo for this bash, which features a set from Pitchfork performer Madame Gandhi, DJ Smiles Davis, and Audio Jack.
DETAILS: Ace Hotel Chicago, 311 N. Morgan; 10 p.m. $15.
Wild Belle DJ Set
Festival staple and local brother/sis duo Wild Belle hit the decks for this casual after party set at Cerise, the Virgin Hotel’s rooftop bar.
DETAILS: Virgin Hotel's Cerise, 203 N. Wabash, 21+. 10 p.m. Free
Joey Purp and Knox Fortune DJ Sets
The first of three appearances by West Side rapper Joey Purp this weekend, this DJ set features local producer Knox Fortune. Purp also plays Bottom Lounge on Saturday and the festival on Sunday.
DETAILS: Virgin Hotel's Cerise, 203 N. Wabash, 21+. 11 p.m. Free
Pitchfork Aftershow: Cherry Glazerr w/ Pool Holograph, Curt Oren
Epic, weird, moody, and intelligent, Cherry Glazerr is the sound of indie rock's future. On its latest album, Apocalipstick, the California trio blends the passion of '80s hard rock bands with the vision of '90s punk-rock riotgrrls. If you can’t make their 2:45 p.m. set on Saturday, prioritize this late-night show.
DETAILS: Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 9 p.m. $15.
Frankie Cosmos, Hoops, and Divino Nino
The dynamic Frankie Cosmos headlines the Virgin Hotel’s tiny upstairs space—for the low, low price of free.
DETAILS: Virgin Hotel (Upstairs), 203 N. Wabash, 21+. 9 p.m. Free.
The locally bred and internationally beloved dance crew has made a tradition of performing at Smartbar during Pitchfork. This year’s bash includes footwork legends DJ Spinn, DJ Taye, and RP Boo, who performed at last year's festival-proper. Additional special guests are promised throughout the night.
DETAILS: Smartbar, 3730 N. Clark, 21+. 10 p.m. $13–$18.
Stefan Ponce and Madlib DJ Set
The Grammy-winning local producer spins the eclectic set that's earned him a devout following, while Madlib takes the decks just hours after his Pitchfork set.
DETAILS: Virgin Hotel's Cerise, 203 N. Wabash, 21+. 9 p.m. Free.
Priests, Deeper, Espejos
Blending muddy post-punk guitars with punchy, powerful vocals, Priests have emerged as an indie-rock savior in a year when the genre’s presence continues to diminish. $1 from every ticket sold to this show will go to Casa Ruby, a D.C.-based organization serving the LGBT community.
DETAILS: Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 8:45 p.m. $15.
Joey Purp w/ Southside, Kami and Valee
Purp's second show of the weekend (before his third, official set at Pitchfork on Sunday) is an all-local bill featuring Southside, Kami, and Valee.
DETAILS: Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake, 18+. 10 p.m. $22.
Pitchfork Aftershow: Ne-Hi w/ Parent
Chicago’s very own NE-HI have crossed over from local DIY shows in Logan Square to a set at this year’s festival. This late-night after show is sure to be a special treat for their loyal local fans who’ve supported the group since their earliest beginnings in 2013.
DETAILS: Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln, 18+. 11 p.m. $15.
Multi-instrumentalist Laetitia Tamko crafts delicate but powerful tunes that shed light on a rich interior world—perfect for the tiny Beat Kitchen. Local singer Tasha, who sounds like a kindred spirit of Tamko, opens.
DETAILS: Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 17+. 11 p.m. $10–$12.
Daytime Party on the Roof
Three Floyds and Dark Matter throw a day party on Virgin Hotel's rooftop, featuring DJ Tim Zawada and Michael Serafini, the resident DJ at Smart Bar's beloved party QUEEN!.
DETAILS: Virgin Hotel's Cerise, 203 N. Wabash, 21+. 2 p.m. Free.
The late-'90s emo pioneers continue their years-long reunion, which began in 2014 and, last year, yielded an unlikely sophomore album.
DETAILS: Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 21+. 9 p.m. $25.
Colin Stetson and Justin Walter
Best known for his deft saxophone playing, the Ann Arbor multireedist Stetson has performed with the likes of the Arcade Fire and Bon Iver. Catch him at Constellation's weekend-capping cool-down.
DETAILS: Constellation, 3111 N. Western, 18+. 8:30 p.m. $15–$20.
Kilo Kish, Oddcouple, and Vagabond
The rapper and vocalist Kilo Kish released one of the most underrated albums last year, chock full of winsome lyrics and catchy melodies. Oddcouple, the producer behind local acts, Jamila Woods, Chance the Rapper, and Vagabon, an early-afternoon billing at Pitchfork, also perform.
DETAILS: Virgin Hotel (Upstairs), 203 N. Wabash, 21+. 9 p.m. Free.