In a city filled with 4am bars and late-night parties, it can be hard to drag yourself out of bed to get to a summer music festival by noon. There's nothing wrong with arriving at Union Park a few hours after the gates have opened, but if you're late you'll miss out on some great acts buried in this year's bill.
We took a look at the bottom of the Pitchfork Music Festival lineup and found some of the best lesser-known bands playing first or second on the Red, Green and Blue stages. Set multiple alarms, suck down an iced coffee and don't worry about those dark rings under your eyes.
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The best bands playing early at Pitchfork
Friday at 3:20pm, Blue Stage
Local guitarist Ryley Walker has dabbled in punk, noise and jazz, but his most recent record, Primrose Green, is a lush pastiche of folk and psych-rock. Backed by a group of Chicago jazz scene vets, Walker finds the heady intersection between the acoustic fingerstyle music of John Fahey and the lively folk arrangements of Van Morrison.
Friday at 3:30pm, Red Stage
Nashville singer-songwriter Natalie Prass has been described as sounding like a Disney princess, but her heartbreaking songs are a far cry from the saccharine ballads that fill the Mouse House catalog. On her self-titled debut, Prass gets in touch with her soulful side, finding solace amid the record's gorgeous string and horn arrangements.
Saturday at 1:45pm, Red Stage
If Interpol had listened to some Gories records, its debut might have sounded a bit like Protomartyr's recent Under Color of Official Right. The Detroit outfit lends garage rock energy to taut post-punk tracks, overseen by vocalist Joe Casey's rich, Ian Curtis-esque baritone.
Saturday at 1:55pm, Blue Stage
You can see Bully play at Pitchfork AND Lollapalooza this year, but we think the group's succinct, '90s alt-rock indebted anthems will be more enjoyable in a crowd of flannel-clad indie kids. Even if you're feeling a little hung over on Saturday morning, Alicia Bognanno's visceral screams should snap you out of your drunken stupor.
Sunday at 1pm, Green Stage
Those looking to ease into the last morning of the festival should grab a yoga mat and seek out the soothing new-age drones of Bitchin Bajas. If the expansive synth and sax ragas found on the trio's recent self-titled record are any indication, this will be the most relaxing set of the weekend.
Sunday at 1:45pm, Red Stage
Is the buzz already wearing off, or did Viet Cong draw the short straw when the lineup was being decided? It doesn't really matter—the much-hyped Canadian act's brooding post-punk will be just as sinister under the punishing midday sun (or an afternoon downpour).