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North Coast Music Festival Tue Sep 06 2011

North Coast Music Festival: Sunday


North Coast by Steve Stearns

While Sunday is a day of rest for most, North Coast goers knew that the third and final day of the fest was their last chance to get all the raging out of their system. It was one of, if not, the most rock-heavy days, with acts like Of Montreal, Gogel Bordello and locals Van Ghost hitting the big stages, but you didn't have to search too hard to find some bass thumping. -Katie Karpowicz

If Saturday was sloppy, Sunday was a bit strung out, as tired hippies hooped a little slower and in general the crowd (until Bassnectar) seemed a bit more subdued. Granted there was a raging circle pit at Gogol Bordello and the kids at the Red Bull stage were still dancing hard (that might be the Red Bull), but overall I saw more people relaxing in the shade, taking it easy on the suddenly chilly afternoon. I also thankfully saw more security around the areas surrounding the sound board, a problem that was apparent in my Saturday coverage, so it was nice to see the festival staying on their toes and trying their best to improve any newbie mistakes. -Lisa White

20110904-Souls Rebels Brass Band_5.jpg

North Coast by Steve Stearns

Benny Benassi

Much like Perry's proved to be the party spot at this year's Lollapalooza, things got at the Red Bull Grove Stage as the weekend progressed. Sets from Paper Diamond, ATB and Benny Benassi filled Sunday's quota on club hits, dubstep and dance-inducing grooves.

Most notable was Benassi's set. This shouldn't surprise anyone considering his veteran status in the club music game. His set rode the waves from his poppier, more radio-friendly remixes to grittier, low end-heavy cuts like his own "Satisfaction," the track that closed out the Italian mixmaster's time onstage. Red Bull Grove residents broke out their vocals when Benassi's recent hit "Cinema" came pumping through the speakers about mid-set and gladly dropped the bass when he allowed the track to flow into Skrillex's remixed dubstep version, proving their loyalty not only to Benassi but also to the DJs that have been inspired by his work behind the decks. -Katie Karpowicz

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Of Montreal by Steve Stearns

Of Montreal

I sadly only caught the first half of Of Montreal's set, but I can still say based on this and past experience that the group of whimsical rockers put on one of the most entertaining live shows I have ever seen. After a mere ten minutes of being on stage Kevin Barnes and co. had already exposed us North Coasters to balloons, confetti, full-body-spandex-wearing Mexican wrestlers, and a group of oversized skulls wearing footie pajamas. Trust me, you just had to be there. And despite all the onstage distractions, the band members still manage to create spot-on sounds. As if all the visual and sonic activity isn't enough to mesmerize you, Of Montreal provide plenty of irresistible sing-a-longs for audience members. Case in point: "We can do it softcore if you want, but you should know I take it both ways."
-Katie Karpowicz

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Of Montreal by Steve Stearns

Of Montreal are trying really hard to have their live show be the bastard child of The Flaming Lips and the Parliament Funkadelic. Their set includes a good dose of weird trippy visuals, absurd costumes, and a generous dash of satire. For example, the light glittery disco pop of "Like a Tourist" was backed by a live Lucha Libre wrestling match behind the band. And during a costume change for Barnes, the band covered a dancehall track while pink alien women shook their giant fake breast as they danced around. It's all in a day's work for the band, who combine their sometimes macabre and surreal theatrics to create a live band freak show. It's sometimes provocative, sometimes making a social statement, and sometimes just for fun. The band ended their set with Barnes crowd surfing in an inflatable raft and having a hoedown to a violin rendition of "Turkey in the Straw," the band members (and audience) all smiles as a true testament that performance art can be a lot of fun. -Lisa White

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Gogol Bordello by Steve Stearns

Gogol Bordello

As the sun set over Union Park, Gogol Bordello stormed the stage and energized the evening crowd, a giant circle pit forming in front of the stage while farther back the audience attempted their best Eastern European folk dance moves. The band is never low on energy, as lead singer Eugene Hütz bounded back and forth across the stage the entire set, while band members constantly encouraged the audience to scream along. Standouts included "Wanderlust King," the heavy metal infused "Break the Spell," and the bands live rendition of "Start Wearing Purple," which started as a cover of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" before morphing into the obvious crowd favorite of the night. -Lisa White


Bassnectar by Steve Stearns


As the second installment of North Coast Music Festival came to a close, thousands of ravers converged on the mainstage for a ninety-minute headlining set from longhaired California-bred spinner Bassnectar. If there's one word to describe Bassnectar's beats at Sunday night's set, it's "heavy." He wasted no time getting into the thick of his glitchy, bass-saturated sounds, dishing out drop after drop for listeners to get down to. Going off that, if there's one word to best describe the crowd that congregated in front of the main stage during the final set, it's "party." While I feared most folks would be too strung out from the rest of the weekend, people really turned out and let loose for the headliner — who was incredibly gracious in return.

It's no secret that North Coast Fest is not a secret anymore, but as one of the youngest and most promising festivals in the Chicago's scene, I'm thrilled to have attended and can't wait to see what's to come next year. -Katie Karpowicz


Bassnectar Crowd by Steve Stearns

I wasn't planning on seeing Bassnectar, but I didn't really have a choice Sunday night, as the sounds of dubstep bass rattled all of Union Park. I checked out a bit of Thievery Corporation, but was unimpressed by their live set (a little too much jamming on a reggae sound for my taste), and given the fact Bassnectar was overpowering most of their sound, I decided to check out the main field instead. Love it or hate it, dubstep seems to be all the rage with the younger electronic music audience these days. People all around me were violently jumping all over the place every time the beat dropped. Add in an excellent light show, touches of well known hits mixed in (Blur's "Song 2" made another festival appearance along with an excellent tripped out mix of The Pixies "Where Is My Mind?"), and, a DJ who is really working the booth, and you've got yourself a crowd pleasing set.

North Coast overall still has some logistical issues to overcome, but for a festival that is still so young, they put on an impressive weekend. The festival bills itself as "summer's last stand" and it truly was an enjoyable way to close out the summer festival season. -Lisa White


North Coast by Steve Stearns

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