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« Chicago's Up-And-Coming: Interview with Cold Blue Kid North Coast Music Festival: Saturday »

North Coast Music Festival Sat Sep 01 2012

North Coast Music Festival: Friday


North Coast by Steve Stearns

Maybe I'm getting older or maybe it's a case of having to be on the same drugs, but each year I tend to get more baffled by the crowd at North Coast, mesmerized by the fashion, behavior, and dedication these fans bring to Union Park each summer. Blinded by neon and/or a stray glow stick flying at your face, the three day festival is a true testament to the popularity of dance music, all while throwing in a good dose of jam, hip hop, and rock. So grab some funnel cake, expect to be covered in body glitter, and rave the night away. -Lisa White

One of my favorite things about this festival is its absolute dedication to diversity. At first glance, you could claim that North Coast is nothing more than a bunch of DJs, some jams bands and a couple choice rappers. For the most part though, each artist offers a sound unique and independent from the last. My first day at NCMF '12 went from funky to crunk to crazy to mellow to dance-arific in the span of a mere five hours. -Katie Karpowicz


Auto Body by Steve Stearns

Due to some unfortunate scheduling overlaps, I was only able to hang out at the Red Bull stage for a third of Auto Body's set before rushing to catch Yelawolf. But these guys are exactly what I'm talking about when I mention diversity. Yes, technically their an electronic act, technically making them one in a billion, but by combining live vocals and instrumentation as well as dance-inducing new wave-sounding hooks, they're a far cry from anyone else who played Union Park yesterday. -Katie Karpowicz

After catching the tail end of King Khan, an act I've enjoyed many times at festivals over the year, I decided to wonder around a bit and take everything in. Right upon entering you've got your official merchandise tents, followed by live painting by artists, before you run into a car company showcasing their latest models next to the table selling "YOLO" and "I PARTY WITH SLUTS" clothing booths. Pass the Groupon silent disco (a bizarre concept that gained popularity last year as the weekend went on) you'll find even more bad club clothes, the organic farmer indoor growing kits (for herbs only one would assume), and vegan wraps next to foot long corn dogs. Thankfully I was drawn towards the smallest of the stages, the Dos Equis stage, which had a crowd swaying along to some old school beats. I've never heard of veteran Oakland duo Zion I, but that's the beauty of festivals and stumbling into something interesting and great. The duo had a throwback sound and an energy that was exploding from the tiny stage. The music was fresh but familiar, completely inviting to the afternoon crowd and the first positive surprise of the weekend. -Lisa White


Yelawolf by Steve Stearns

There is a definite "hooker with a heart of gold" white trash charm about Yelawolf. The Alabama rapper has true Southern pride, whether it be crafting songs about meth addicts in his small town to shouting out respect to Lynyrd Skynyrd, he's never one to shy away from his roots. Signed to Shady Records, Eminem's label, it's no surprise the resemblance in style, flow, and history between the two rappers. Yelawolf just delivers his tales with a bit more twang. He's a ballsy artist too, as he launched into a few covers of his idols including the aforementioned Skynyrd and Slim Shady alongside a few snippets of Beastie Boys. Rather than just playing samples Yelawolf gleefully jumped along in the air and actually covered each song (he did a pretty spot on Beastie Boys) leading the crowd in a rowdy singalong of "(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)" and "Brass Monkey." It was a fitting tribute to his idols as well as a nice roadmap to see the music that shaped the artist on stage. Other stand outs of the set included "Pop the Trunk," the Diplo produced "Animal," which features Fefe Dobson and is a nice slice of pop meets hip hop, party track "Good to Go" and "Psycho White," a track from his collaboration with Travis Barker that sounded sorta like a hillbilly artist channeling Bad Brains (interesting to say the least). Yelawolf surely won over some new fans Friday afternoon and continues to evolve into one of the more interesting rappers to come out of the Southern scene. -Lisa White


Knife Party by Steve Stearns

Until last night, I always thought this duo was a bit of a gimmick, jumping on the uber-trendy dubstep train and riding it to the top the first chance they got. I was wrong. It's an interesting proposition to make: what is the difference between a good dubstep act and a bad one? Truthfully one of the most exciting things about this genre is that it's so new we still haven't determined any definitive answers to those types of questions yet.

I do know this though: Knife Party's set was a blast. A heavy artillery of bass drops and grimy melodies made getting down irresistible and by the time they dropped an extended cut of their super popular "Internet Friends" there was no a single member of the surprisingly huge crowd that wasn't bouncing. If there's any one quality that determines a great electronic set it's energy. And it was definitely at the North Stage last night. -Katie Karpowicz


Paul Oakenfold by Steve Stearns

Paul Oakenfold is the embodiment of the scene he created, a legacy of British House and Trance and the UK/Ibiza culture I absorbed as a teenager as I flipped through the imported month old Mixmag at my local Barnes and Noble. He's one of those legacy acts at a festival that you have a sense of obligation to at least check out. Truth be told, Oakenfold was crafting House music before most of the crowd at North Coast was even born, so it's a definite lesson in the roots of this culture and style. It was exactly what I expected, a House heavy rave set while scantly clad women moved in slow motion on the screen behind him. At times Oakenfold can be a bit of a caricature of even himself, but for someone that has been around as long as he has in this world, you have to let the cheesy moments slide and respect your elders. -Lisa White


STS9 by Steve Stearns

When I first saw the final lineup for this year's festival, I thought there had been a typo. STS9 headlining again? But, okay, they always put on a fantastic show and their electro-jammy blend is so suited for this festival in particular.

But, sadly, as the lights dimmed and the first sounds of synth flooded the speakers, my anticipation still didn't amount to what I hoped it would. Donned in all white, the members of Sound Tribe were more on then ever, delivering a tight set of their more heavily electronic influenced hits...the same hits they delivered last year at North Coast and at their headlining set at Congress Theater in January. Perhaps a little more time in between Chicago appearances would have heightened the experience.

About half-way through STS9's set, I decided to broaden my horizons and check out an artist I knew little about. Even after watching the majority of this Swedish spinner's set, I still don't know quite how to describe his style. It's dancey for sure, but it's not at "Euro" as many of Axwell's contemporaries. It was a colorful set--both musically and visually. In between sing-a-longs and groovy breakdowns, the crowd was treated to burst of CO2, multi-hued flames and reigns of sparks. Not a bad way to end the night. Now if the rain can just hold off for days two and three, we're in for a lot more. -Katie Karpowicz

Keep checking back on Gapers Block for more coverage from North Coast Festival this weekend.

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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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