Spread across five days and encompassing 14 events, Pitchfork Festival’s second year in London seemed to inspire a comradely spirit among its attendees, who came together by the thousands to celebrate live music in a moment of post-pandemic crisis. Playing in churches, theaters, and some of London’s most iconic venues, the artists at the festival—from avant-garde rappers to tender-hearted indie rockers—testified to the sanctity of live music, while proving that people were still willing to show up for it. Here are some of the highlights.

Photo by Sam Huddleston

They Hate Change, Village Underground, Thursday, November 10

Andre and Vonne of Tampa duo They Hate Change aren’t particularly acclimatized to the harsh English winter, though they soon warmed the Village Underground up to Floridian temperatures. With the buoyancy of Camp Lo, the mischief of De La Soul, and the goofy charm of Will Smith, They Hate Change inspired a boy-band level of enthrallment from the audience. A couple of music nerds bouncing across the stage in white boiler suits, the duo combined British breakbeats with Miami bass and Tampa jook—clearly a winning combination for the crowd, who didn’t appear to stop moving throughout their set.

Photo by Sam Huddleston

billy woods, Village Underground, Thursday, November 10

In contrast to his intense beats and caustic poetry, billy woods rapped with the composure of a friend rocking a house party. Switching between a mug of tea and cup of coffee in between songs, Woods kept things low-key with only a laptop full of beats for accompaniment. “The Alchemist, I think he has a future in this…If he keeps working at it,” he joked, before rapping “Indian Summer,” one of the highlights from Haram, his joint album with the producer. At high points, woods stepped nimbly to the front of the stage and closed his eyes, spitting dense and poetic bars with prophetic humility.

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