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DJ / Dance Thu Sep 01 2011
We'll be at Union Park (1501 W. Randolph St.) all this coming Labor Day weekend for the second annual North Coast Music Festival, but before we slather on the suncreen and grab a corndog, here are some best bets for sets that can't be missed, and info on the prime Chicago talent on the bill as well. Single day tickets ($60) are still available (will call info.), so come on down and join us! (Download a PDF festival map.) We'll be reviewing the best and bounciest beats all weekend long, too.
Best bet for a solid mosh pit: Gogol Bordello
With an Eastern European peasant blend, these gypsy punks are known for their rowdy live sets, full of crowd singalongs and seas of sweaty people. The band fuses together traditional Eastern European gypsy folk music with a punk rock energy, and their live setting includes everything from dancers playing washboards to violin and accordion. Imagine the band Beirut if they were hopped up on something, didn't shower for a few weeks, and made music for the Gulag instead of a nice sunny day. Expect Gogol Bordello to put the festive in festival with their Sunday night set at 7:30pm.
Best place to see booty bouncing: Major Lazer
The brainchild of producers Switch and Diplo, Major Lazer combines island music with an electronic mix and hip-hop flourishes. When the band played Pitchfork festival two years ago, their set included a Chinese dragon dancing around the stage and girls juking on ladders. Needless to say their chaotic dancehall hodgepodge theme translates well live, and even more mainstream acts are starting to catch on to their contagious style (Switch produced and sampled Major Lazer's "Pon de Floor" on Beyonce's latest hit "Run the World (Girls)"). To further prove their live shows get a little out of hand, I can personally attest to watching two strangers have a "physical intimate connection" during one of Switch's DJ sets a few years ago at Smartbar. So if you want the chance to get a little wild this weekend, cut lose with Major Lazer. Catch them at 6pm Saturday night.
The respect your elders set: Fatboy Slim
There are certain artist that have had a significant amount of impact on their genre (and others) that you pretty much have to stop by and check out their set just as a sign of respect. The artist that most deserves that nod this weekend is Fatboy Slim, a man that has contributed more than a lifetime's worth of work to the world of electronic music, and has crossed over to produce and remix for a variety of types of music. Not to mention he had a hand in creating one of my favorite music videos (and Christopher Walken moments) ever. And on a list from Q magazine of the top 50 bands you must see before you die, Fatboy Slim ranked number 26. Needless to say, you should probably stop by his set at 8:45pm Saturday night to pay your respects and decide where he ranks for yourself.
Best place to be engulfed by a cloud of weed smoke: Wiz Khalifa
Most people are familiar with Wiz Khalifa, ever since his breakout hit "Black and Yellow" soared up the charts and was played on every promo leading up to any Pittsburgh Steeler's game earlier this year (including every commercial regarding their Super Bowl appearance). But Wiz's real muse for many of his verses can be found if you simply look at the name of his debut album (Rolling Papers) and mixtapes (Kush and Orange Juice). The man loves to smoke, and loves to rap about smoking, so it's no surprise that when I saw him at Soundest festival in 2010, above me was the biggest mushroom cloud of marijuana smoke I have ever seen. Narcotics aside, Wiz's fast yet smooth delivery style over well known sampled beats is cause enough to check out his set. Also add in the fact that he's one of the fastest rising stars of hip hop in the past few years. But if you are really just searching for a new friend to mellow out with, than this will be your crowd at 9pm Friday night.
Best place to hear some seriously awesome Chicago-bred female pipes: The Right Now
Not only is the The Right Now bringing oldschool R&B and soul back to Chicago's music scene but they're doing so with the help of their seductive leading lady Stefanie Berecz. Complete with an impressive horn section, The Right Now will be playing tracks off their debut album Carry Me Home at North Coast this year. After scoring a win at the Toast of the Coast contest, they'll be hitting the main North Coast Stage at 12:30pm on Saturday.
Best place to mix your love of jam bands with electronica: STS9
Sound Tribe Sector 9 (or STS9 for short) can get a lot accomplished during a 90-minute set, like the one they'll be playing at NCMF this year. Slap bass, bongos, other-worldly synth sounds, an always impressive light show and more than 12 years of material are sure to make these futuristic jammers one of the standout headliners at Union Park. STS9 rounds out the night on Saturday starting at 8:30pm on the North Coast Stage.
Best places to get your funk fix on: New Mastersounds and Lettuce
Sure, North Coast Music Fest is mostly about DJs and MCs, but that doesn't mean there's not some great diversity dispersed throughout the 2011 lineup. If it's brass and rhythm you're looking for this Labor Day weekend, Union Park is the place to be thanks sets from New Mastersounds and Lettuce. Both bands play Saturday on the North Coast Stage at 2:30 and 4:30pm, respectively.
Best place to hear a saxophone solo over bass-thumping beats: Big Gigantic
Surprisingly, there's no shortage of saxes at this year's North Coast. DJ/drummer combos aren't much of a rarity on the electronica scene either these days. But, if you want a unique pairing of the two then hit up Big Gigantic's set on the Red Bull Grove Stage on Saturday at 4:30pm.
North Coast Music Festival splashed onto the Chicago festival scene last year and is now back for its second year. As many Chi-town music fans know, these festivals can be both great places to catch sets from national acts as well as pick up on some new tunes by local artists. If its local music you're looking for at North Coast this year, here's where to find it:
The Right Now - 12:30pm @ The North Coast Stage
Gemini Club - 1pm @ The Red Bull Grove Stage
Future Rock - 5:30pm @ The Named After Groupon Stage
Common - 7:30pm @ The Named After Groupon Stage
And don't forget to check out the Magic Hat Local Stage all weekend long for acts hailing from the Windy City.
North Coast Music Festival Lineup
Friday, September 2, 2011
The Hood Internet
Keys N Krates
Saturday, September 3, 2011
RJD2 with Break Science
Team Bayside High
Intonation Music Workshop
Sunday, September 4, 2011
The Budos Band
Soul Rebels Brass Band
The Ill & The Restless
The Arts of Life Band