Pygmalion Festival 2018

Established in 2005, Pygmalion is the baby of Co-Producers Seth Fein and Patrick Singer. The larger than life lineup performs at various venues tucked away Champaign-Urbana, Illinois such as The Canopy Club, the Independent Media Center, and a public street stage. Besides attending concerts and mingling with artists, festival-goers can also buy artisan goods, handcrafted items, and food from local vendors.

Pygmalion is, and always will be, a staple to WLUW’s festival season for it’s relaxed setting and casual crowd. Check out the recap and review of this years fest below!

Thursday–Sept 27th

Whitney (Duo)

Whitney photo courtesy of Kaylie Plauche

It wasn’t too long since we last caught Whitney performing, (heck, you can check it out here if you’re interested), however this performance was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Max and Julien left the rest of the band in Chicago, and came down to work through some new songs in front of a live crowd. With Julien playing an acoustic guitar, instead of being behind a drum kit, and Max questioning why there was a microphone set up in front of him, the intimacy of the performance carried from the stage to the back of the auditorium.

From what seemed to be a jam/practice session between the two, Max and Julien performed a mix of songs from their debut record, “Light Upon the Lake”, and a few new tracks from the forthcoming sophomore record. Prior to playing some of the new tracks, Julien apologized to the crowd as they wanted to play the new songs, however they weren’t finished yet, both lyrically and musically.

One of the three new songs performed has a tentative title: “Day and Night”. A graceful song about love in the city, Julien introduced the track, and double checked with Max that he has his capo on the right fret. The two other new tracks the duo worked their way through (even having to stop a song, and pick it up due to a little mess up) were tentatively titled “My Love” and “Dancing Slow”. Toward the last of their set, Max reminisced over his first time playing Pygmalion, where he opened for Unknown Mortal Orchestra and drank underage at the disposal of generous bartenders–which got a good laugh from the crowd. The duo closed the intimate set with “No Woman,” as everyone in the theatre hummed and lightly sung along.

-Kaylie Plauche & Paul Quinn

Diet Cig

Diet Cig photo courtesy of Kaylie Plauche

I’ve seen Diet Cig far and wide, but watching them through a packed crowd in Canopy Club’s front room was definitely a treat. Rocking a large black knee brace, singer and frontwoman Alex Luciano still gave the crowd her all. The indie-rock duo played fan favorites “Barf Day,” “Sixteen,” and  “Harvard.” Alex also made a point for the crowd to register to vote in for their local elections coming up at their merch booth where they gave aways free stickers and collegiate banners to those who did register. At the end of the show, the band beckoned the sound engineers to play “Cha Cha Slide” as they exited the stage while the entire crowd joined into dance. -Kaylie Plauche
Friday–Sept 28th

JPEG Mafia photo courtesy of Kaylie Plauche


This was my third time seeing JPEGmafia play, and all I can say is that man KNOWS how to putin a show. The first time I saw him play, it was to a crowd of hundreds at Concord Music Hall. This time, it was to a crowd of roughly 100 (and that’s being very generous). Either way, his set had so much energy. JPEG ran into the crowd several times, and elicited a mosh pit of about four people. Seeing him keep the energy up in such a small venue was truly inspiring.

-Carolyn Droke

Kweku Collins photo courtesy of Kaylie Plauche



Kweku Collins

The Evanston native, signed to Chicago record label Closed Sessions, casually strolled around the venue to greet fans, friends, and family. The coolest thing about Kweku, beside that he tends to dress like “Arthur,” is his friendly demeanor and humility. He played a majority of his set from his debut album “Nat Love” (“Stupid Roses”) and more recent releases such as “Jump.I” from the EP “Grey.” In the middle of his set, he made a point to talk about his own personal conception of race (being biracial himself), sexual assault, and consent within daily life as well as in the music industry. After his set, Kweku stuck around to sign fans merchandise and take pictures before heading back to Chicago.

-Kaylie Plauche

Cuco photo curtesy of Kaylie Plauche


Cuco was definitely the most packed show of the night, to my surprise. Fans were screaming for at least 20 minutes before the 20-year-old graced the stage. He shouted out the latinx crowd several times in the set, which seemed to get a huge response. Cuco had a fairly large band with him, about five other members that he shared the stage with. Although Cuco himself didn’t play an instruments, he did whip out his trumpet for a few solos. Towards the end, he played his most popular songs “My Lover is a Day,” and “Amor de Siempre,” and “Lo Que Siento.” He even got the crowd to start a circle pit, which was impressive considering he’s a bedroom pop artist. We ended up seeing him after the show, and he was completely swarmed by fans. -Carolyn Droke

Mount Kimbie

Unfortunately, nearly everyone left the venue after Cuco, which means they missed Mount Kimbie. And let me tell you, they MISSED OUT. There were roughly only 50 or so people in the room when Mount Kimbie’s set ended, but it was absolutely incredible. This was my first time seeing Mount Kimbie live, and my eardrums have not been the same since. Their light show was entrancing, including the visuals they projected on screen behind them. They played their hits like “Blue Train Lines,” and “Marilyn”. Although King Krule didn’t come out on stage, it was still as beautiful as I could have possibly imagined. -Carolyn Droke

Saturday Sept 29th

Playboy Carti photo courtesy of Kaylie Plauche

Playboi Carti

Despite being late by 20 minutes, Playboi Carti still put on a hell of a show with limited time. The rapstar came out on the stage and the crowd instantly erupted like a volcano. Security had to push back people spilling over the barricade and escort rowdy individuals out. Carti’s hypeman egging the crowd on to open up a mosh pit didn’t help the situation. Carti performed many of hits such as “New Choppa,” “Do That Shit,” “Wokeuplikethis*,” “Lean 4 Real,” and “Poke It Out.” Throughout his set, he got down to it, stripping off layers of clothing and dripping in sweat. Fans swarmed to one side of the venue when he threw his t-shirt into the crowd. The rapper also gave an emotionally intense go at the song “Home (KOD)” that took fans such myself by surprise. For his last song he popped off to “Magnolia” and displayed his body with with crucificatory form onstage to the song “Fucked Up” by Xxxtentacion & Ski Mask The Slump God.

-Kaylie Plauche

Post Animal 

Post Animal hosted, what seemed to be, the second Polyvinyl party at Pygmalion (and also the final Polyvinyl artist to perform). Taking the stage at 1am, yes, 1am, the band had to compete with festival attendees with Playboi Carti performing at the same time across town. However, fighting the struggle of having such a late show and competing with Playboi Carti, Champaign-Urbana showed up. Having gained some attraction as “the band who had Steve from Stranger Things in it”, a packed room and a rowdy crowd made the evening one of the festival’s highlights. Performing the majority of the songs from their debut album “When I Think of You In A Castle”, Post Animal performed one of the loudest sets at the festival (with help coming from three different guitarists). Chicago – if you haven’t seen Post Animal yet, not the type of band you wanna miss out on as they know how to put on one heck of a show.

-Paul Quinn

Frankie Cosmos

Frankie Cosmos was in her element at Pygmalion Festival. She played to a standing room of about 75. Her shrill voice echoed

Frankie Cosmos photo courtesy of Kaylie Plauche

throughout the room. Frankie Cosmos seemed to be on autopilot during this show. She didn’t spend much time talking to the crowd or announcing songs. She played all her hits. I don’t normally listen to Frankie Cosmos, but I will say one song I can tolerate is “Young.” I was prepared to get up and start moving when the beat hit, but instead of hearing the familiar opening line, I heard the strum of a guitar. Frankie Cosmos decided to make this an acoustic rendition, much to my disappointment. The crowd filed out after her short set ended. -Carolyn Droke

Having never played Champaign-Urbana before, Frankie Cosmos filled the venue with fans who have been waiting for this moment for some time now. Coming on the stage in shy and reserved manor, Greta Cline and her band led the swoon/dance party at an early show at the festival. Performing songs dating back to her first record (2014), Frankie Cosmos performed an expansive set, featuring fan-favorites such as “If I Had a Dog”, “Young”, and “Jesse”. A highlight of the performance was them playing “Being Alive” and watching the crowd dance hard to the upbeat moment of the song, then watching the transition to a heartfelt sing-a-long of the chorus when the tempo slows down. Giving the audience a good taste of the Frankie Cosmos catalog, Greta talked to and thanked fans as they were being ushered out after the show. -Paul Quinn

V.V. Lightbody

V.V. Lightbody photo courtesy of Kaylie Plauche

With a tightly knit crowd of about 30 people, I never thought I would be able to witness such an intimate set with V.V. V.V’s smooth guitar playing toppled with her vibrant voice created such a great aura for an awesome night. With every song, the crowd couldn’t help but gravitate closer, dedicating their silence to V.V and her band’s full sound. Playing songs like “Fish in Fives” and “Fig Leaves”, Vivian kept her crowd in a constant sway. Combatting the windy, cold air from outside, V.V’s songs forged a warmth that tastes like a hot chocolate and felt like one big hug. Truly a magical experience.  -Austin Edington

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