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Noname @ Pitchfork (Festival Review by Aly L.)

Noname delivered a performance much different than expected but left us wanting more. She was so real and bodied her set around how she was feeling. At one point she stated, “this isn't a normal set, I’m feeling sad and frustrated with the world today”. This was clearly translated through her performance. Pitchfork stated it best on their Instagram saying that Noname was “deeply invested in her interiority and that of the world around her”. She was so in tune with the crowd and stopped several times in the middle of the set to make sure people were hydrated and feeling alright. 

 

Beyond this, there was lots of crowd participation as she taught us call and response parts to her unreleased songs. Noname also reassured the crowd that we don’t need to scream and cheer to appreciate something fully and that there is value in simply listening. A highlight of the performance was when she shared some of her poetry without music in the background as the crowd stood and listened in complete silence. The mellowness of such a large group of people coming together in silence was something I will not forget. Beyond this, the songs “Montego Bae” and “Song 32” were my favorites.

 

Midway through the set, she brought her mom out on stage and wished her a happy birthday which was so heartwarming. Her band members were on point. The bassist was especially eye-catching and her outfit rocked my world — leather patchwork pants, an oversized black button-up, and a red bucket hat. I often found myself focusing on her over Noname. 

 

 

She played several songs but none of them all the way through — she made great use of her set time and covered lots of ground from her older songs from 2015 to her newer music from 2021. Set ended early which was a little disappointing. It felt like she was encore-baiting the crowd because she walked off so suddenly after her last song. Her live vocals had me doing a “diddy-bop” of my own. They were smooth yet slightly imperfect rasps which made the songs that much more exciting. I would highly recommend seeing her live if you’re given the opportunity! Her music is fantastic and seeing it brought to life was a highlight of the day. 

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