buzz staff share’s pick for Pygmalion Festival 2019

By buzz editorial staff

This weekend marks the 15th-anniversary iteration of Pygmalion Festival, an annual event celebrating music, comedy literature and more. Each year, the three-day event unites local and national acts and events for appearances on and around campus. In anticipation of this year’s offering, the buzz editorial staff shares their top picks and most anticipated moments of the upcoming weekend. Be sure to check out buzz online and in print to hear from local and national artists playing the festival.

So many great artists are coming to Champaign-Urbana for Pygmalion this year, I don’t know how I’m going to squeeze in everything I want to see. I’m most excited for the Japanese Breakfast and Beach Bunny show on September 26th at Canopy Club. I’ve been meaning to see Japanese Breakfast for so long and keep missing my opportunity, so now that it is so close, I can finally go for the first time. Beach Bunny is also opening which will be super exciting to see since they’re from my hometown. It’s so cool to watch a band of people I went to school with start to take off and play cool festivals, first at Lollapalooza and now Pygmalion. I’m also excited for Eric Andre and Michelle Wolf, even though I probably won’t be able to make it to either of those shows. I’m really jealous of everyone who got tickets because Andre and Wolf are both hilarious people that are sure to put on an entertaining and unforgettable performance. They’ll be at Canopy Club and Krannert, respectively, which are the perfect venues for those experiences. Overall, Pygmalion is bringing in a solid set of acts this year in every category. There is so much variety which is really exciting and refreshing. —Kayla Brown, Assistant buzz editor

Next Saturday, Eric Andre will be gracing the Canopy Club stage with his “Legalize Everything” tour at Pygmalion. He has gained millions of fans across the globe as well as notoriety when he first came on the scene in 2012 with “The Eric Andre Show” on Adult Swim. With the help of his sidekick, Hannibal Buress, he took and will continue to take audiences on a trip filled with nihilistic humor, street pranks, and overall randomness once season five hits tv screens. If anyone has ever wanted to see a guy wear a recovery cone and proceed to pour milk and fruitloops in it on a crowded New York subway train, Andre is the man for the job. With moments like these in the show, skeptics have questioned whether he’s an actual comedian or just a troll. Though the show has been put on hold until further development, this hasn’t stopped Andre in the slightest. He recently voiced Azizi in “The Lion King,” sharing the spotlight with stars like Donald Glover, Beyonce, and Seth Rogen. Andre also has a couple of projects lined up for this year including a feature film, “Bad Trip”, which releases on October 25th. Knowing Eric Andre, we don’t know what to expect at Pygmalion, but it’s going to be awesome either way.

Zzo is another act to look forward to as she performs on Saturday as well. This current jazz student at the University of Illinois hasn’t been on the local music scene for a long time but has proven herself worthy for a chance to play at Pygmalion this year. In fact, buzz Magazine voted her debut album, “Telling Other People’s Stories”, the best local album of 2018. It was well deserved as the quality of music and lyricism on the album, especially with songs like “1986,” almost compares to indie artists like Mac Demarco, Clairo, or Yellow Days. Anyone who listens to “Telling Other People’s Stories” will say that Zzo is underrated and Pygmalion will be the perfect place for her to shine and grow a bigger fanbase. —Jillian Little, Assistant buzz editor

On Saturday, Chicago based singer, songwriter and producer Tatiana Hazel will appear at the Blackbird in Urbana. Hazel’s performance is a must-see. She started releasing music on Youtube when she was only 15 years old and has since gone on to release several singles and a full-length EP featuring songs in both English and Spanish. She’s also made a splash in the Chicago music scene performing with artists such as Kweku Collins and Melo Makes Music. Her electro-pop beats and unique vocal vibrato are captivating on each of her recordings and it’s easy to imagine her captivating a room during a live show.

However, I believe the standout moment of the festival will take place on Thursday evening during Japanese Breakfast’s appearance at the Canopy Club. The solo project of musician Michelle Zauner, Japanese Breakfast offers listeners magical bedroom pop that explores pain both from the depths of it and from a place of distant reflection. Despite the somber nature of her catalog, Zauner is known for her energetic stage presence. I believe that her audience at Pygmalion will give plenty of that energy and emotion back to her as they take in her sound.

—Katie Powers, buzz editor