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Tuesday, January 31

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« North Coast: Day Two In Review The Non-Riot Fest After Riot Fest Show »

North Coast Music Festival Mon Sep 07 2015

North Coast: Day Three in Review

North Coast Music Festival 2015 (photos by Rena Naltsas)

On Sunday, temperatures soared into the mid-90s while North Coast Music Festival's hodge-podge of attendees made their way to Union Park for the final day of summer's last stand. Sunday's lineup was as contradicting as the previous two days' lineups, and the divergence in sound was once again reflected in the crowd. Where else can Tycho fans bump shoulders with Disco Biscuit devotees while both groups of people try and avoid the youthful "squadlings" charging towards the EDM stages? Nowhere but North Coast.

North Coast Music Festival 2015 (photos by Rena Naltsas)


I'm not entirely sure what prompted Zebo to start his set as late as he did: Maybe it was technical difficulties, or the utter lack of people at Union Park at 1:30, but he use the 20 or so minutes he had to get the final day off to a fun start. In the couple of times I've seen Zebo at the helm of a stage, he has perfectly captured the vibe of the audience, essentially catering to the better of their whims.

His shortened set held to those standards, starting off to a tiny grouping of people as portions of "Drop It Like its Hot" followed by a nonstop barrage of "The Next Episode" ending's attracted a few passersby. The crowd never got as big as Zebo rightfully deserved, but those that were there were met with a capable set, sandwiching a sped-up Missy Elliot sample between some reggae and Kriss Kross that definitely made people want to jump. Barring some of the more overused DJ tactics, like that damn air horn, Zebo once again held a crowd together. I only wish he had all 45 minutes to do so.
-Julian Ramirez

North Coast Music Festival 2015 (photos by Rena Naltsas)

Porn and Chicken

Throughout the morning of day three, I kept seeing portions of Porn and Chicken fans and the stage show walking around the festival grounds. Blowup dolls on sticks raised to the skies, a penis costumed fella followed around by a girl holding a Porn and Chicken flag, and countless festivalgoers wearing the DJ's merch. They were all making their way to the 847 Stage, attracting more and more people with every passing step.

I have to admit, I'm not the biggest fan of Porn and Chicken's over the top, hold nothing back style of DJing. It's a little much for me, but It certainly wasn't for the enormous crowd they attracted. The area they were in was teeming with people just going nuts for them and their ludicrous stage antics. The DJs were bookended by the aforementioned penis and a guy in a chicken costume waving around another branded flag, while a woman in butterfly wings reveled in the sonic madness. It was definitely visually entertaining, but not necessarily for me.
-Julian Ramirez

Twin Shadow

It's been a spotty year for Twin Shadow. His 2015 album Eclipse failed to stand up to his previous effort, Confess, and that disappointment seems to be following him as closely as his own, well, shadow. At the very least, it's noticeably affected his mood. He didn't seem too invested in engaging with the audience, and as a result, nor did the audience with him. The anthem-rock, '80s-inspired, synth tracks from Eclipse that Twin Shadow performed were all dwarfed by the bright sun and open air environment of his surroundings. Imbued into a festival setting, those big, bawdy sounds simply didn't translate.
-Abigail Covington

Portugal the Man

Portugal the Man put forth a spirited set that had them digging deep into their catalogue for fan favorites like "Purple Yellow Red and Blue." They seemed to be in a great mood, especially for a band that had $8,000 worth of equipment stolen from them the last time they were in Chicago in 2011. These guys are festival heavyweights who came to Chicago seeking to give back some of the love they received after 2011's incident and with a set brimming with captivating activity, they did just that.
-Abigail Covington

North Coast Music Festival 2015 (photos by Rena Naltsas)


I have a lot of history with Atmosphere. The duo of Slug and Ant were my first hip hop concert nearly a decade ago, setting the bar particularly high for every hip hop concert I would end up seeing. Heading over to the 773 Stage at NCMF, I was filled with anticipation and was flooded with memories of my initial experience with the group. I knew that it was a tall order for them to meet up with my expectations, but Atmosphere delivered on slightly different terms. In the ten years since I initially saw them, I had heard murmurs that their live show hasn't been that great, but I think you can chalk those off as bad nights, because Slug and Ant looked like they haven't lost a step.

Slug came out to the stage completely heated, taking with the crowd about the pain in the world and pleading with them to throw up peace signs. As soon as the ocean of people reached out and obliged, he dashed into "Puppets." Slug's flow has a very big range, leaping between rapid and sing-songy cadences that feel heaven sent. Slug gleamed with pride as the track dwindled down, feeding of the crowd energy and appreciation for the group.

"Chicago, make some noise for your new shitty friends!" he exclaimed as he turned those peace signs in the crowd into scissor for "The Loser Wins". It the kind of set that seems obvious after the fact, but in the moment fills you up with its cleverness as you let go.

The set was composed of as many old favorites as Atmosphere could jam between newer songs. "God Loves Ugly" relished in the crowd's ability to recite a song as they chanted in line with Slug, overtaking him in that self-affirming chorus. During the Lucy Ford songs the audience popped hardest, as if they were getting a gift from Slug and Ant. These kinds of moments, where the NCMF crowd just knew every bit of his catalogue, just kept happening. Even newer tracks like "Kanye West", which was noted with Slug's approval of the namesake's future presidential bid, were met with hearty cheers.

It all led up to Slug thanking the crowd for making him feel young, something I'm sure that was rubbing off on everyone in attendance. Everyone's energy rose as the set got closer to the end of it's hour-long length, reaching a spike during "The Waitress", where fake cash fell from the sky. Atmosphere capped off the show with "Trying to Find a Balance", something I think they truly did with this performance.
-Julian Ramirez

North Coast Music Festival 2015 (photos by Rena Naltsas)

The Chemical Brothers

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night was The Chemical Brothers. Though there were many Chemical Brothers fans in attendance, there were an equal amount of North Coast stragglers who just settled on the largest stage for their final hoorah. For those people, having no expectations whatsoever proved to be a perfect primer. The Chemical Brothers, what with their effects-driven performance, had no trouble engaging the entire audience. From their popular opener, "Hey Boy Hey Girl" on down to their closer, fan favorite, "Block Rockin' Beats", the Chemical Brothers effortlessly wove together EDM and instrumentation.

Engulfed by keyboards, synthesizers, drum sets, and other bells and whistles, the duo performed house-heavy beats that called to mind the more modern stylings of Disclosure and also highlighted obvious influences like Kraftwerk. In the end, the conflating, rock-infused dance music of Chemical Brothers proved to be the perfect closer for a festival that made a weekend out of bringing disjointed genres together. Rave on and rock on, North Coast 2015.
-Abigail Covington

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p / September 9, 2015 3:34 AM

The "more modern styling's" of the retro house sounding disclosure, smh. A pretty psychedelic show, maybe more Beatles influenced than disclosure. Im just trying to think how the big beat sound of The Chemical Brothers resembled house music. I mean techno is techno right, wtf Abigail.

p / September 9, 2015 3:34 AM

The "more modern styling's" of the retro house sounding disclosure, smh. A pretty psychedelic show, maybe more Beatles influenced than disclosure. Im just trying to think how the big beat sound of The Chemical Brothers resembled house music. I mean techno is techno right, wtf Abigail.

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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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Alarm Magazine
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