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« Review: Gotye, Missy Higgins @ Charter One Pavilion, 8/24 Review: Lindsey Buckingham @ Chicago's City Winery (and a Look at the New Venue) »

North Coast Music Festival Tue Aug 28 2012

Best Bets for the North Coast Music Festival

It's back again: North Coast Music Festival, one of our favorite festivals of the summer. In fact, it's one of the last until we're engulfed in cold weather once again. If you've got tickets to "summer's last stand" this weekend you'll want to make sure you do it right and find exactly what you're looking for amidst the heavy hitting lineup. We've got some recommendations on how to do just that:

Best chance of getting onstage: Girl Talk

It's a known fact that Girl Talk puts on the kind of show that feels more like one big,
communal dance party. Greg Gillis--the man behind the mashup moniker--doesn't like to
feel left out. In addition to toilet paper guns and confetti, a mob of dancers--handpicked
from the crowd--is also a part of nearly every Girl Talk show. Keep yours eyes and ears
out before his headlining slot as his onstage dance mob is often selected throughout the day leading up to the set. It's been a couple years since Gillis dropped All Day so--if you don't wind up lucky enough to join him onstage--you can still be hopeful for some new cuts. Gotye vs. Chief Kief, anyone?
- Katie Karpowicz

Best place for some dirty south hip-hop (tie): Yelawolf and Big Boi

If you're a fan of southern hip-hop, North Coast has a real double whammy for you this year. First thing first, check out some of Big Boi's set, if for no other reason than out of respect. The man makes up half of OutKast, the duo that has given us some of the most creative hip hop in the last 20 years. Just try listening to "B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)" and try to tell me it's not one of the most heady, original, socially provocative, and aware tracks in hip hop. That alone should make you check out his set. Except a good mix of OutKast hits, but stay for his stellar solo work. Big Boi's Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty was one of my favorite albums of the year when it came out, and includes some of the fastest rhyming around and an impressive lineup of guests, including fellow North Coaster Yelawolf.

Yelawolf is a bit more southern fried than Big Boi, a definite twang to his voice, but he spits quick verse after verse detailing his roots and lifestyle in the south. His sound is a bit less funk than the sounds coming out of Atlanta (he's originally from Alabama), but it's still a perfect example of the deep south style of hip hop and a testament to why this genre has had such great success. Check out his 2010 mixtape Trunk Muzik to get a taste of what he'll be showcasing at North Coast. Here's hoping he sticks around until Sunday so he can jump onstage and perform with Big Boi on their collaborative track "You Ain't No DJ," one of my favorite bounce heavy tracks from Big Boi's solo debut.
- Lisa White

Best place to relive NCMF '11: STS9

Returning for their second consecutive year, STS9 will round out the opening night of the festival on Friday. It's an interesting choice for a festival to select the same headliners two year in a row, but then you have to consider who those headliners are. STS9--or Sound Tribe Sector 9, for long--are practically made for this festival, which focuses primarily on electronic and jam-based music. These guys combine both. Last year's set was a combination of synth-riddled rocking and a enough lasers, glow sticks and strobes to impress even the most experienced of ravers. Now the verdict is out on whether or not they can top it this Labor Day weekend.
- Katie Karpowicz

Best place for some freaked out weird garage rock: King Khan & The Shrines

Most of the acts at North Coast usually, at least to me, fall under the base of one of three categories; electronic, jam, or hip hop. Of course there are your offshoots (Gogol Bordello and Of Montreal) and this year one of those not like the other bands playing is King Khan and The Shrines. The gritty garage rock outfit has more a classic scuzzy sound, so if you like your rock 'n' roll a bit rough around the edges, this afternoon set will be perfect for you. Expect some weirdness as well, since King Khan is know for his random and odd stage antics. It will be a nice break from the club bangers and bass heavy beats that will take over North Coast the rest of the weekend.
- Lisa White

Best place to make some Internet friends: Knife Party

You know that song you've most likely heard mixed into at least one performers' set at
pretty much every electronic dance music show this summer? That one with the creepy
female anamatronic voice: "You blocked me on Facebook and now you're going to die"?
These guys. The dubstep staple, not surprisingly, enjoyed instant viral success and
gave Knife Party the momentum they needed to land one of the highest billed spots at North Coast this year.
- Katie Karpowicz

Best chance at audience participation: Dan Deacon

The last time I saw Dan Deacon, it was in a tiny loft with no air conditioning where he taught the audience synchronized dance moves and the cost to get in was a few shots of vodka if you didn't have any cash. This was after he played Lollapalooza earlier that day, truly showing that Dan Deacon shines his best when following his DIY roots. To this day Deacon seems most comfortable when he isn't onstage, but instead surrounded by his audience in the middle of his show. Deacon makes you work though, whether it be a conga style dance line, a swirling most pit around him, or teaching you some sweet jazz hand moves. Just trust him, follow along, and have a great time.
- Lisa White

Best chance of finding your new favorite local band: Digital Tape Machine

If STS9 doesn't fill your electronic jam-rock quota on Friday night, you might consider
turning to the local version of the Atlanta natives. The Chicago six-piece Digital Tape Machine does bear a notable sonic resemblance to STS9, they find originality in a more ecclectic and worldly blend of beats. Still, the similarities are no surprise considering DTM is made up of of members of STS9's pals Umphrey's McGee, along with other local acts. That alone should tell you that this band will blow up. This is your chance to catch them before the fuse ignites.
- Katie Karpowicz

Best "More Cowbell" option: The Rapture

I've seen The Rapture a handful of time, and without fail at some point the band will bust out a pretty agressive cowbell solo mid dance party. And who doesn't like a little cowbell in the middle of their glittery disco breakdown? The Rapture first caught on in the early 2000s as part of the post punk dance revival in New York, signing on as part of the DFA Records family. If you aren't familiar with DFA, it's the label that was co-founded by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, so it's no surprise how danceable of a show The Rapture put on. Not just a one trick pony though, the band went on to release a well executed and meticulous second full album produced by Danger Mouse and then opened for Daft Punk on tour. Like many of the acts at North Coast, don't expect to just stand there, because chances are you'll end up dancing during this set.
-Lisa White

Best place to hear see some funky bass-slapping action: Auto Body

Another carry-over from 2011's lineup, this Texas two piece was one of my most
pleasant surprises last year. The sound of a superb slap bass rhythm wafting across
Union Park was too enticing for me to pass up. With that bass guitar and a combination of synthesizers and samplers Auto Body are essentially an '80s new wave band using modern day technology while throwing in just a pinch of funk. It's poppy, but it still rocks
- Katie Karpowicz

Sure shot you'll hear a familiar track remix: Digitalism

When artists like Justice and and Soulwax actually spin your remix of a song, something you're doing has to be right. Such is the case for Digitalism, who have put their own personal touch on a who's who list of great acts such as Daft Punk, White Stripes, Depeche Mode and many more. Their own music isn't too shabby either, especially the slick electro flow of their 2011 release I Love You Dude. The German duo have already played some of the bigger festivals around (Coachella, Ultra, Lolla) so expect a crowd pleasing set from them Sunday night.
- Lisa White

Best place to go when life gives you lemons: Atmosphere

It's been a few years and a couple releases since Atmosphere dropped their critically acclaimed fifth studio album, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Sh*t Gold, but it had a major effect on their live show. Following this album Atmosphere--rapper/MC Slug and DJ/Producer Ant--made performing with a full band a true priority. This year at North Coast you'll find the seminal hip hop duo performing alongside a live guitarist and keyboardist. God might love ugly, but I'm going to go out on a limb here guess he's pretty fond of excellent live music, as well.
- Katie Karpowicz

North Coast Music Festival hits Union Park this weekend (August 31-Sept. 2). Three day passes are sold out but you can still get your hands on single day passes here. We'll see you there.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
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Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
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Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
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Largehearted Boy
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Live Fix Blog
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Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
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Theft Liable to Prosecution
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