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North Coast Music Festival Tue Aug 18 2015

Our Picks for North Coast Music Festival 2015 (and a Giveaway!)

North Coast Music Festival is swiftly approaching, with an outstanding crop of up-and-comers as well as longstanding electronic, hip-hop, and funk acts, to name just a few genres. From the long-awaited headlining set from D'Angelo, to a Galactic and Macy Gray collaboration, to hometown favorite Lili K., the festival is sure to be a good time once again during its 2015 three-day stay in Union Park.

We've rounded up some of our most coveted acts to see throughout the weekend, encapsulating the various genres that North Coast effortlessly promotes. One lucky reader will be the winner of one three-day pass to North Coast - all you need to do is leave a comment below (make sure to include your email address!) regarding who you're most excited to see and why, and we'll pick the lucky winner at 6:00pm today. The winner has been chosen! Thanks to all who entered!


It's not surprising that Atmosphere, Sean "Slug" Daley and Anthony "Ant" Davis, have been making albums together for 18 years. The duo work together so perfectly, blending Slug's storytelling flow with Ant's flawless production. Live they are a completely different animal, blending live instrumentation along with Ant's DJ percussion. Atmosphere was the first rap concert I attended and it set the bar for hip hop performances, implementing their opening acts on top of having live art created on stage and given out to the crowd. The group is full of explosive energy and with a repertoire that spans eight albums, including the beloved albums like God Loves Ugly and You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having, the North Coast audience is sure to have a blast.
-Julian Ramirez


Still riding the wave of 2014's surprise album, Black Messiah, D'angelo's presence at North Coast makes this an unmissable music festival. Similar to his hero, Prince, D'Angelo is known for giving his live performances his all. He invests in his audience and demands their attention in return. With a deep catalogue and a backing band, the Vanguard, capable of playing any and everything, D'Angelo has spent the first half of 2015 doling out 3+ hour sets across the country that feature extended versions of the irresistible "Sugah Daddy" and "Really Love" from Black Messiah. D'Angelo's smart and funky music has brought him many fans in high places, including Questlove from The Roots, which means North Coast attendees might just have the lucky experience of seeing both acts perform together over the weekend.
-Abigail Covington

The Roots

When The Roots announced that they would be acting as the house band for Jimmy Fallon during his time at Late Night and now The Tonight Show, I was worried it would mean the loss of the best hip hop band going. I figured their time would be held up with the everyday work of the huge talk show. Little did I know that not only would the position not only gain them way more exposure then they ever have, but that they would continue to tour and produce worthwhile albums. The Roots exceeded their already prolific career in the last six years by collaboration with the likes of John Legend, Betty Wright, and Elvis Costello on top of releasing three fantastic albums. There is no better time to see this soulful hip hop band than now.
-Julian Ramirez

Lili K.

When it comes to soul music, Chicago's own, Lili K. is no slouch. She has the vocal chops to pull off the audacious jazz arrangements she creates with her band and also isn't afraid to improvise in the middle of a song. Her willingness to experiment is what makes her an exciting live act. North Coast Festival is Lili K.'s largest booking to date so attendees can expect her to be in high spirits, ready to give it her all.
-Abigail Covington

Twin Shadow

Twin Shadow's music is consistently dark and sultry while letting itself be highlighted by vibrant synths that cut across his songs. George Lewis, Twin Shadow core component, lets the contrast of his voice and instrumentals twirl together in immensely interesting synth pop. It would be easy to point out how everything about his sound screams with eighties influences, which it undeniable does, but Lewis manages to never let them fully over take his songs. His voice ranges from R&B crooning to emotional resonant cries, always serenating his listeners to breathtaking highs.
-Julian Ramirez

The O'Mys

I'm going to go ahead and say that The O'My's are my favorite Chicago band. This group of six recently released a new EP entitled Keeping the Faith that is so sharp and sexy it straightens my spine every time I turn it on. "Let it Rain" is particularly seductive with all of its stabs of saxophone and lead singer Maceo Haymes' soulful crooning. The song is a slow-moving plea in which each instrument wails to tremendous effect. Featuring a 3-piece horn section, The O'My's sound is loud and raucous and will undoubtedly fill each corner of Union Park.
-Abigail Covington

DJ Zebo

There are going to be plenty of DJs performing at North Coast, but I can assure you that DJ Zebo will grab the crowd like no other. I saw him open up for Brazilian Girls earlier this year and was left in awe at how skilled he was that evening. Zebo arrived without warning and took complete control of Thalia Hall, finding the vibe with ease and keeping it up for a very lengthy set. He's the kind of DJ that just knows how to captivate an audience, not with just crazy lights or videos, but pitch perfect tunes.
-Julian Ramirez

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Joshua Melendez / August 18, 2015 12:38 PM

I've got to see atmosphere again!

Ari / August 18, 2015 1:13 PM

wale because I've never seen him before and it'll be incredible!

Tanita / August 18, 2015 1:16 PM

I would add Main Squeeze to the list. They are such a great live act.

Tanita / August 18, 2015 1:16 PM

I would add Main Squeeze to the list. They are such a great live act.

Stephanie Wallin / August 18, 2015 1:18 PM

Very excited for D''s been way too long and the performance clips I've seen are pretty great.

Maria / August 18, 2015 1:25 PM

The Legendary Roots crew because they put on an amazing live show!

Amanda Garcia / August 18, 2015 1:25 PM

The Roots!!!

Julie Aldridge-Garcia / August 18, 2015 1:29 PM

So Excited!!!!! Can't Wait!!!!

BunnyBear / August 18, 2015 1:44 PM

Would love to see Twin Shadow. They keep getting better.

BunnyBear / August 18, 2015 1:44 PM

Would love to see Twin Shadow. They keep getting better.

Jennifer Moy / August 18, 2015 1:48 PM

I'm super stoked for The Chemical Brothers because they were the soundtrack to many dance parties from my teenage years. I would love to relive the experience with my friends at NCMF!

Ken Bolt / August 18, 2015 2:47 PM


Matt Lingenfelter / August 18, 2015 2:50 PM

I would love to see D'Angelo and The Vanguard!

Argiro Jaramillo / August 18, 2015 3:51 PM

Didnt see it mentioned, but Goldfish are playing Sunday. They're like audible happyness. Granted to get you shakin' and smilin'.

Christina / August 18, 2015 3:52 PM

I can't wait to see Twin Shadow - I remember first seeing them at Schubas at TNK. They keep rocking!

Argiro Jaramillo / August 18, 2015 3:53 PM

-sent from a selfcorrecting turd of a phone.

Phil Merker / August 18, 2015 4:40 PM

The Chemical Brothers! They're the North Coastiest headliner there is

Bryan / August 18, 2015 5:12 PM

Absoleutly D'Angelo! Missed out on the epic Voodoo tour. All the live stuff I've heard is great.

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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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