Piqniq: a celebration of rock music

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Piqniq, WKQX’s annual music festival, rocked Tinley Park on Sat. May 19. With a powerhouse lineup of ten bands performing on two stages, fans braved the gloomy weather to be a part of this experience.

The Saint Xavier University Stage was set up in the parking lot and featured smaller acts to kick off the day. As the night went on and the skies cleared up, the crowd traveled to the Main Stage to check out the headlining acts.

While all of the bands gave great performances, here are the top 5 sets:

5. Lucky Boys Confusion

This name may sound familiar — Lucky Boys Confusion performed at The Union as part of the NXNC festivities during Springfest. The Chicago-based rock band was the first to perform at Piqniq, starting the day of with a mix of old and new music. Their set included songs from their latest album, “Stormchasers.” Released in April, this album has received positive reviews, and this was apparent during their set. The crowd rocked out to the set, showing that Lucky Boys Confusion was the perfect band to get people excited about what the day had in store: a celebration of rock music.

4. K.Flay

A self-described genre-defying artist, this Chicago-born singer poured her heart into the second-to-last performance on the SXU stage. K.Flay’s music, a mix of pop, alternative and hip-hop, may be hard to explain, but the feelings it evokes could be seen in her crowd. After killer sets from Lucky Boys Confusion, Warpaint and Joywave, and given the task of opening for Sum 41, the singer had to put her all into this set. Performing songs from 2014’s “Life as a Dog” and 2017’s “Every Where Is Some Where,” K.Flay gave fans and new listeners a taste of what she is all about.

3. Jimmy Eat World

A staple for fans of rock music, Jimmy Eat World has been cranking out tunes since 1994. Following the success of 2001’s “Bleed American,” they have been one of few emo bands from the early 2000s to continue finding success in recent years without changing their sound. One of the more popular bands at Piqniq, they drew in a massive crowd for their set at the main stage. Fans of all ages were singing along; from the barricade to the lawn, everyone was enjoying the performance. Over a decade’s worth of songs made the setlist, most notably their 2001 hit, “The Middle.”

2. Sum 41

Initially, it seems odd that one of the biggest bands of the late 1990s and 2000s would be closing the small stage. However, it is fitting that a pop punk band would be performing in a parking lot littered with smashed beer cans and cigarettes. A high-energy performance from the band, who garnered the largest crowd at the SXU stage, had everyone off the ground and jumping into the mosh pit. It was great to see them performing new songs from 2016’s “13 Voices,” but most people were there to see their more popular hits, and the band did not disappoint: “Still Waiting,” “In Too Deep” and “Fat Lip” made the cut; had their set been longer, they would have taken the number one spot.

1. Bleachers

The best of the best performances at this years Piqniq was undoubtedly Jack Antonoff’s pop project Bleachers. Piqniq being the first show of their new tour, promoting their upcoming sophomore album “Gone Now,” Bleachers was dynamic as ever, their performance dripping of the energy and enthusiasm that is the backbone of Bleachers’ sound. Their set consisted of both a healthy dose of tracks from their debut album “Strange Desire,” such as the opener “Wild Heart” and “Rollercoaster,” as well as a taste of their new work like the saxophone-framed single “Everybody Lost Somebody.” Bleachers played eight songs in total, sending the crowd off, per usual, with the standout single of their last album, the triumphant “I Wanna Get Better.” After hitting the last note, Antonoff promised fans that as the tour began in Chicago, they would be back before it saw its conclusion. So, rest assured if you missed the best performance of 2017’s WKQX Piqniq. They’ll be back soon.

Contributing reporting by Peter Medlin.

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