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Monday, November 29

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North Coast Music Festival Sun Aug 31 2014

North Coast: Day Two

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I started the second day of North Coast with Future Islands, who I soon discovered are kinda captivating. I really didn't know much about them. I knew the name, I've heard a few random singles that I've enjoyed, and was about it. It was that in mind that I went to see them not quite knowing what to expect.

Placed on the smallest of the three main stages and deep in the shade under the trees, vocalist Samuel T. Herring charmed the audience with his theatrics. Herring looks somewhat unassuming. He's a middle aged man with deep blue eyes and a receding hairline. Dressed in all black, he visually seems to take inspiration from frontmen such as Morrissey and Henry Rollins as he pranced around stage, taking breaks to punch the air and his chest for emphasis. The rest of the band was equally as impressive, playing somber post-punk in contrast of Herring's overflowing charisma. At some point during their set, they played "Seasons (Waiting on You)," which is their current single. During the chorus of the song, Herring seemingly becomes possessed and starts dancing like Tom Jones with reckless abandon. It was great.

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Little Dragon are Swedish a neo soul band who created a dense wall of reverb and impeccable style. The groove of crisp, clean, and thunderous bass filled the air with smooth and minimalist electronics. Seemingly taking inspiration from singers such as Erykah Badu, vocalist Yukimi Nagano created a quiet storm with her voice as the audience danced in an enraptured state in front of them.


I left Little Dragon a little early to try and check out a favorite of mine, Zebo. A fixture of the party scene, Zebo is a local DJ whose been around for awhile now. I tried to catch a chunk of his set, but quickly that became problematic as the stage he was booked on was packed due to the large crowd he attracted and became a bottleneck of traffic as people tried to navigate the area. Being too popular for the stage you're on isn't a bad problem to have. So after a few moments, I left feeling happy for his continued success. I recommend checking out his recent mix of all footwork in tribute of DJ Rashad. That can be found here.


I walked in on Cashmere Cat as played the lead single, "With Me," from his recent EP, Wedding Bells. A recent Norwegian transplant living in NYC, Cashmere Cat is a producer known for his remixes of rappers such as Drake as well as R&B crooners such as Jeremih. His beats are dynamic and chill instead of aggressive bass for the sake of aggressive bass. He finished his set with an extended version of his remix of Miguel's "Do You..." Arpeggio piano chords glittered as Miguel repeatedly asked in his devious falsetto "Do you like drugs?" The bass dropped and Miguel started hypnotically chanting "Drugs" as synths swirled around his vocals. It seemed to be heavily inspired by UK producers such as Mount Kimbie, Julio Bashmore, and James Blake. What I enjoy is that he's taken the arena ready EDM scale and flipped it so that sounds joyful and frankly, fun.

Adventure Club followed immediately and for better and for worse, I felt like I was was pretending to be in Ibiza for awhile. Nothing is wrong with that. Every song they played was a potential EDM anthem aiming to be in the Top 40. Everything sounded like a clone of Zedd's "Clarity." Mainstream EDM is big business worth millions and millions of dollars and has become finely tuned in the process. Adventure Club clearly are masters of this process. 1) The vocals of a pop singer are heard singing a verse of a top 40 single which is currently being remixed. 2) Pop singer starts to sing the chorus. 3) DJ yells "TURN UP" or whatever to get the crowd excited. 4) The bass drops. Suddenly we see lasers and/or billows of smoke as the crowd goes crazy. 5) Repeat. Or as those t-shirts so eloquently say, "Eat, sleep, rave, repeat." Once again, nothing is wrong with any of this. I personally find it uninteresting, but i get it. I took a few minutes to marvel at and respect the spectacle before heading out to grab a good spot for Kid Cudi.


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Backed by a full band, Kid Cudi's vocals seemed hollow and full of dissonance which fit the crooning of his dark thoughts rather well. He opened his set with "Soundtrack 2 My Life" and stuck mainly to the hits. "Day N Nite," "Erase Me," and "Pursuit of Happiness" turned the park into a manic emo rap dance party as Cudi asked us to tell him what we know about night terrors. The set ended as a series of weirdly placed, and probably coincidental, fireworks lit the night sky.

That wrapped day two of North Coast and I left feeling very much like this guy.


All photos by Steve Stearns.

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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.

Read this feature »


  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
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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