All Good Things Come in Pairs: Pitchfork Music Festival 2016 in Review

Over the past couple of years, the second weekend in July has quickly become one of my favorite weekends of the entire year. Why? Three words: Pitchfork. Music. Festival.

Since I am living in the Midwest, I have to go to Pitchfork Music Festival every year, because it is the best music festival here. I consider it to be not only the best music festival in the Midwest but also one of the best around the country. Pitchfork always does a fantastic job of handpicking the line-up and keeping a steady balance between rock, pop, hip-hop, r&b, jazz, and electronic music. A number of my favorite artists from that year always play, and every year I come back with at least one new artist that I love and have never heard of before that ends up blowing up in the next couple of years. Hats off to Pitchfork for making 2016 no different. What a great weekend!

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My squad on day three.

I could talk on and on about the reasons I love the music festival, including venue choice (Union Park, West Loop Chicago) and crowd energy (everyone is there to actually to listen to the music and not just to do drugs and take pictures), but, instead, I want to focus in on a couple of my favorite acts from this year. My 2016 Pitchfork Music Festival experience can be summed up with the phrase “all good things come in pairs.” Really, everything from music to food this year came in a pair. Every day, two music acts would really blow me away.

Friday Picks: Whitney, Carly Rae Jepsen

Gosh, I am a huge Whitney fan, and since they are from Chicago, they play here often. I have seen them a few times in the past couple of months, but they just keep getting better and better every time. Last time I saw them, back in the spring at Thalia Hall, they played a few new songs off their album that was not yet released at the time, but I have not seen them live since the actual release of their new album. Drummer and lead vocalist Julien Ehrlich croons, while the guitar players strum along and trumpet player Will Miller goes to town. It is always fun to see them doing what they do best live, and they always sound even better live than on their recordings, which is the sign of a really talented rock band.

People were calling Carly Rae Jepsen “the Queen of Pitchfork,” but it really is true. Jepsen brought down the house on Friday night on day one of the festival. She has transitioned out of the role of Canadian teen pop star into an indie pop rocker, and her new adult role suits her much better, in my opinion. She really got the crowd going with her new material, but “Call Me Maybe” was still the biggest crowd pleaser. I know I am not the only one now who is considering copying her Joan Jett black mullet haircut.

Saturday Picks: Blood Orange, Anderson .Paak

Speaking of Carly Rae Jepsen, her good friend and producer of her latest album Dev Hynes did not come back to Pitchfork Music Festival just to play one song with her (which he did and it was really cool, though). He had his own very important and fabulous set to put together. From the vocals to the guitar to the keyboards, Dev has a captivating and unique style that keeps the audience engaged from start to finish. His last album was especially impressive to me and it was a treat to see it performed live.

Anderson .Paak really kept me grooving all night long on Saturday. His latest album Malibu is one of my favorite albums of 2016, and it sounded even better live. The crowd was so into it and could not keep from dancing. I was so excited to see this act that I had it marked down, and it did not disappoint.

Sunday: NAO, FKA Twigs

I love NAO and I was expecting a solid show, but I was blown away by just how amazing she is. This sweet British artist was up on the stage breaking it down, having a great time, and winning the crowd over while doing it. The soulful concert and NAO’s beautiful voice reminded me in the best way of when I saw SZA at the Blue Stage a couple of years ago. NAO deserves much more recognition and attention than she is getting right now, and I can definitely see her being a big deal on the music scene in the future.

Wow, I could not think of a better way to close out the weekend than with FKA Twigs. This woman has dance moves that rival Beyonce’s and gave an incredibly captivating performance on Sunday night. Every detail of that show was so well thought out, and I know that Twigs thinks it all up herself, which is so very impressive. Also, I cannot forget to mention her beautiful voice! It was amazing to see her music come to life.

Food: Döner Box from the Dönerman Food Track, Nachomales from Dia De Los Tamales

I read about the Döner Box online after day one, so I had to try it on day two, and, man, it lived up the hype. The spit-roasted chicken and other Mediterranean vegetables and sauces on top of a bed of greens and fries is just the best of all worlds colliding. You really cannot go wrong.

Now you do not have to choose between nachos and tamales, thanks to the Nachomales at Dia De Los Tamales. The rich Cuban pork tamale on top of smothered nachos could not have been any tastier after a hot summer afternoon in Union Park. All that dancing made me hungry!

Shoutout to all the artists (and the food) that I did not mention, because there were so many other awesome acts at Pitchfork (I am looking at you, Porches and Woods). I have to give one more final shoutout to Pitchfork for bringing such a unique and talent-filled schedule to Chicago, and providing other music fans and me with a space to listen to music that we love and music that we do not even know we love yet. See you next year 🙂

**Cover photo: my friend Hannah in front of the Goose Island arcade van (side note: I was also a huge fan of the Twin Peaks/Goose Island collaboration beer, my favorite of the festival). 

Published by Ally Spiroff

I am Ally Spiroff, and what seems like seven short years ago I created a Twitter account, @runningforlife2. I tweeted how I felt and what I was doing. I tweeted about my greatest passion in life, running. I also tweeted about my other passions, food, music, movies, books, pop culture, writing, traveling, and life. Before I knew it, people (mostly those people in the running community but others too) began to latch onto my life. Then, I realized, “hey, this Twitter thing is pretty cool.” I get to write about what I love. I get to tell my story. The world around me, all of my people, get to ride along with me as I take on the world, one day at a time. People can watch me grow. I can watch other people grow. The Twitter handle has evolved into @allyspiroff over time. With it, the content has also evolved, but the same crazy woman is behind the content. :) So what exactly is my story? Who exactly is Ally Spiroff? I graduated with a Master's in Communication from Loyola University Chicago in May 2017. I was a Division I collegiate athlete there for five years, all four of my undergraduate and one of my graduate years. I graduated with honors in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s in English. In the winter/spring 2015-2016 due to a redshirt season of indoor and outdoor track, I returned to run a fifth year. Since I have always thought that it is more fun to jump over water and other obstacles than just run normal laps around the track and I like a good challenge, I am a steeplechaser by nature. I got to chase fast steeple times for one more season at Loyola, as well as run the 3k, 5k, and even the mile/1500 with my teammates that double as my best friends, sisters, inspirations, and the greatest people you will ever meet. Now, you might ask, how did I still run at Loyola if I graduated in the spring of 2015? I started the cutting-edge graduate program Digital Media & Storytelling in the fall of 2016 at Loyola. It was a two-year program, so I was blessed with another year at the wonderful Jesuit institution to finish up my Master's degree. After obtaining both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I have become an experienced writer and researcher. Through graduate work, I have become well versed in Adobe Creative Commons software programs, specifically Photoshop and shooting and editing video in Premiere Pro, and in Google Analytics, along with other search engine optimization tools. Through an abundance of internship experience, I became extremely proficient in news editing software programs. I have lots of experience in the newsroom and writing for news producers as well as out in the field on assignment and in working with a variety of people. My experience as an undergraduate and a graduate student while simultaneously being a Division I collegiate athlete on Loyola’s cross country and track teams as well as in a variety of jobs/internships and volunteer work has helped develop my confidence, drive, responsibility, time management, sense of teamwork, people skills, communication, troubleshooting skills, attention to detail, critical thinking skills, leadership, planning skills, and even a sense of humor. I also have extensive experience with all outlets of social media. As I mentioned before, I am an avid tweeter and Instagram user, with 1,450+ followers on Twitter. I have lots of experience with creating and building content for websites. I also run the website I created for my graduate school capstone project, titled "Wise Old Women." I am on Pinterest, Foursquare/Swarm, and Facebook as well. I wrote in the arts and entertainment section of my university’s award-winning newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. You can find my running profile on the Loyola Ramblers website. You can find all about my collegiate running career on TFRRS. Of course, you can also catch me on LinkedIn. I am lucky because I get to tell people’s stories for a living online, through digital media and other means. Currently, I live in New York City and I'm the Digital Editorial Assistant at Runner's World magazine, and I'm a freelance writer for VICE's health vertical, Tonic. I really love life. I have big dreams. I do not know where my dreams will take me, but I am confident that they will take me far. I am an open book. I like sharing myself with anybody who wants to listen. I am enjoying the opportunity to further my education every day and perfect my craft. I love learning something new every single day about myself, others, and the world around me. Besides being a multimedia journalist and a city dweller, I am a literature (Hemingway and Plath are my favorites) and grammar nerd, a hippie, a music fanatic, a foodie, a concert-goer, a traveler, a huge sports fan, a fashionista, an art lover, and an urban explorer who likes natural adventures (like hiking up mountains in Alaska) as well. Wherever I go and whatever I do, I conquer it. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, though, and no matter where I go, I never forget my roots. Milwaukee will always be my city and where my heart truly lies. I have quite the eye for unique knick-knacks. My spirit animals are the grasshopper and the gazelle. When I take the Essential Enneagram Test, I am #3. I am a hard worker with relentless energy. I am everyone’s sister. I am nutty but in a way that I like it. I think that God is so good and we are blessed to get to walk this earth every day. I believe that every person has the right to be exactly who they are. I am dreaming big, with my head in the clouds, but there is still some common sense in there somewhere. ;) Turning over a new leaf in my life, at the start of grad school, I wanted to create a comprehensive website where I could connect you to all of my social media outlets. I will continue to share my running experiences and life journey through this awesome outlet we now have called the World Wide Web, and I hope that everyone continues to enjoy all things Ally Spiroff. Peace, love, and running (fast), Ally Spiroff

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