Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Tuesday, July 16

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


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.

Continue reading this entry »

Transmission / Comments (2)

North Coast Music Festival Sun Sep 06 2015

North Coast: Day Two In Review

North Coast Music Festival 2015 (photos by Rena Naltsas)

North Coast Music Festival's day two lineup was infused with stellar acts and standout performers. From D'Angelo and the Vanguard, to Chromeo, to The Roots, to Galactic with Macy Gray, a variety of musical legends entranced audiences with their unique sound in Union Park, amassing doting crowds of longtime fans. Julian Ramirez and Abigail Covington reviewed some of the best sets of the day, setting the bar quite high for the final day of the fest.

Continue reading this entry »

Transmission / Comments (1)

North Coast Music Festival Sat Sep 05 2015

North Coast: Day One in Review

North Coast Music Festival 2015 (photos by Rena Naltsas)

North Coast Music Festival brought about an eclectic variety of musical acts amid the sweltering heat in Union Park for its first of its three-day reign. From the helter-skelter light shows of EDM sets, to a bit of funk, to standout hip-hop acts, the first day of North Coast presented festgoers with some stellar offerings, with much more to come throughout the remainder of this glorious Labor Day weekend celebration.

Continue reading this entry »


North Coast Music Festival Fri Sep 04 2015

The Friday Night North Coast Twitter All-Star Lineup

I'm really happy that Julian Ramirez and Abigail Covington have the preview coverage for North Coast Music Festival locked down, because in all honesty electronic music isn't quite my cup of tea. It's one of those genres where I have a healthy appreciation for the talent of the artists and the work they put into their music, but I just can't get into the songs or the associated culture. I know North Coast won't exclusively feature electronic music, but the balance leans heavily that way.

That said, I'd feel bad not contributing anything to Transmission's coverage of the festival. Perhaps the aspect of EDM I appreciate the most is the artists' zany personas, and there's no better place to express those zany personas than the Twitterverse. So instead of telling you about the music you'll hear in Union Park, I'll show you the craziest tweets I found whilst trawling the Twitter accounts of every single artist who will be performing tonight. Because this is the Internet, and this is what the Internet does.

Continue reading this entry »

Zach Blumenfeld

North Coast Music Festival Fri Aug 28 2015

The Main Squeeze Bring The Funk to North Coast (+ a Contest!)


Local act The Main Squeeze is enjoying quite the successful year. With an appearance at Bonnaroo this past year, as well as an upcoming set at North Coast Music Festival, the group, who seamlessly blends funk, soul, and much more, will be releasing their next album, Mind Your Head, in the fall. They're looking forward to sharing their performance day with artists they greatly respect, including The Roots and D'Angelo, and are patiently awaiting showing a Chicago festival audience their energetic live show, as well.

I spoke with the group regarding their influences, who they would like to collaborate with, and their diverse range of musical experiences. In addition, we're giving away A PAIR of 3-day passes to North Coast Music Festival for you and a friend to enjoy. Simply comment on this article (use your email address!) with the artist you're most excited to see on on Saturday, other than The Main Squeeze, of course. The winner will be chosen today at 6pm. The winner has been chosen! Thank you all for your entries, and continue reading for future giveaways!

Continue reading this entry »

Sarah Brooks / Comments (26)

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!

Continue reading this entry »

Transmission / Comments (18)

North Coast Music Festival Tue Aug 04 2015

North Coast Music Festival Announces Official After Parties

northcoastafterparty.jpgFestival season is far from over as the North Coast Musical Festival is quickly approaching. We are month away from the summer's last stand which will fill Union Park with the most eclectic grouping of musical styles you'll likely see. Tickets are still available for the three day blowout, but what is a party without an after party (or pre party for that matter)? Well, NCMF has announced a multitude of official after-parties to keep the music vibes going well after the main festival. You can spend your evening listing to Knife Party, Galactic, Chromeo doing a DJ set, or any of the other 13 after parties going on around in Chicago. You can check out the full schedule below.

Continue reading this entry »

Julian Ramirez

North Coast Music Festival Fri Jun 26 2015

North Coast Daily Lineup Announced

NCMF flyer.jpeg

Good news, North Coast Music Festival attendees! The daily lineup has been released, so you can now plan out your schedule for a jam-packed weekend of stellar musical choices. Single-day and two-day tickets have also been released, as well as the availability of discounted 3-day passes for a limited time.

Along with the lineup, North Coast Music Festival will also be partnering with Do312 to announce the 6th annual Toast of the Coast competition. Up-and-coming performers, including one DJ and one live act, will compete to perform during one of the fest's coveted time slots. Suggest an act, and you could hear them live from Union Park.

Sarah Brooks

North Coast Music Festival Tue Apr 28 2015

North Coast Music Festival Announces 2015 Lineup


Who is ready for this year's North Coast Music Festival? If your hand is raised, you are not alone, as I became quickly elated after scanning this year's stellar lineup. This yearly Union Park three-day fest, occurring from September 4 through 6, features high caliber electronic, rock, hip-hop, and R&B acts to enjoy, and it seems to me that the lineup grows stronger with each passing year.

This year's headliners include D'Angelo and The Vanguard, The Chemical Brothers, and a surprise mystery headliner, to be announced. Additional standout acts include Atmosphere, Chromeo, Porter Robinson, Steve Aoki, Gold Panda, RAC, Tycho, Portugal. The Man, and many more. A bit of funk is featured within this year's crop of artists, including Galactic featuring Macy Gray, along with Dirty Dozen Brass Band. With musical stylings for all to be excited about, North Coast is proving to have one of the best lineups of the summer thus far.

North Coast Music Festival occurs in Chicago's Union Park from September 4 - 6. Tickets are on sale, with $159 plus additional fees for 3-day General Admission, with $259 plus fees for 3-day VIP passes. The festival is 17+, with VIP passes available to those 21+. Union Park is located at 1501 W. Randolph Street.

Sarah Brooks

Review Tue Sep 02 2014

North Coast: Day Three


Sunday was a rather chill day at North Coast. I started things off by catching some of Wild Belle, an indie band heavily influenced by Lee "Scratch" Perry and his stylings of reggae with pop sensibilities.

Continue reading this entry »

Justin Freeman

North Coast Music Festival Sun Aug 31 2014

North Coast: Day Two

SCS_5917-20140830-Future Islands_16.jpg

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.

Continue reading this entry »

Justin Freeman

Review Sat Aug 30 2014

North Coast: Day One


It all started before I even walked into Union Park.

Continue reading this entry »

Justin Freeman

North Coast Music Festival Fri Aug 08 2014

North Coast Announces Daily Lineups and After Parties


A few days ago, the North Coast Music Festival made a few announcements. First, the list of the after parties they're doing. Then they announced which bands are playing on each day. Below is a copy and paste of the daily lineups.

Continue reading this entry »

Justin Freeman

North Coast Music Festival Thu May 01 2014

North Coast Music Festival Announces Part of Their 2014 Lineup


A few minutes ago, North Coast Music Festival released the first wave lineup of this year's event. The late summer festival returns for its fifth year on August 29th through the 31st at Union Park. Weekend passes will run you $150 and can be purchased here.

The lineup itself looks impressive. North Coast has always focused on the intersection of rap, jam bands and EDM. This year looks no different with STS9, Bassnectar and Snoop Dogg all set to headline. The undercard looks intriguing too, with Future Islands, Riff Raff, Washed Out, Action Bronson, Dr. Dog, Cashmere Cat and a slew of others all scheduled to appear. Chicago acts have a sizable presence as Wild Belle, Prob Cause, Ghosthouse, Zebo and several others perform.

Check out the full announcement below.

Continue reading this entry »

Justin Freeman

North Coast Music Festival Wed Sep 04 2013

Here's Looking at You, Kid: North Coast Music Festival in Pictures

Photographer Steve Stearns took a lot of photos in a lot of different types of weather over last weekend, while he braved the crowds at the North Coast Music Festival. Check out photos from each day, starting with Friday:

Friday: Day One

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

North Coast Music Festival Mon Sep 02 2013

North Coast Music Festival (Day 3)


Crowd at North Coast by Steve Stearns

Sunday was the final day of this year's North Coast festival and certainly one of the most anticipated. Crowds at the fronts gates swelled into the hundreds as people waited to get inside Union Park for a last day of music and dancing. Helping to bring this anticipation to it's crescendo were the headliners of the entire festival, the iconic Wu-Tang Clan. A palpable energy filled the air as questions were asked; are they actually going to show up? If so, how many of them? What are they going to do about ODB's verses since, you know, he died a few years ago? Will the rumored hologram ODB make an appearance?! (They are seriously trying to get an ODB hologram to "perform" at the Rock the Bells festival next month.) But these questions would have to wait a few hours as myself and the crowd walked into the gates one last time. - Justin Freeman

Continue reading this entry »

Justin Freeman

North Coast Music Festival Sun Sep 01 2013

North Coast Music Festival (Day 2)

Since the music was cut short on Friday, the second day of North Coast Music Festival came with fairly high expectations. Everyone was praying for blue skies and smooth sailing to make up for the torrential storm that momentarily shut down the party the night before. - Brianna Kelly

Continue reading this entry »

Justin Freeman / Comments (2)

North Coast Music Festival Sat Aug 31 2013

North Coast Music Festival (Day 1)


North Coast evacuees seeking shelter by Steve Stearns

Yesterday marked the return of the North Coast Music Festival, the Labor Day weekend event that takes over Union Park for three days of music and dancing. Usually, it goes smoothly and good times are had all around. Sometimes though, things happen that can make your experience at the festival less than fun, and yesterday was one of those days. Most of us know that it rained here in Chicago Friday. At around 6pm, a rainstorm took over the city. Lightning flashed in the sky, torrential rain and strong winds rocked against buildings, people leaving work suddenly found themselves drenched and major outdoor concerts around the city were evacuated. -Justin Freeman

Continue reading this entry »

Justin Freeman

North Coast Music Festival Thu Aug 15 2013

North Coast Music Festival Schedule Announced

This just in! North Coast Music Festival finally announced the finalized schedule of its 4th annual gathering, returning to Union Park on Labor Day weekend. For several months, music fans across Chicago and the greater Midwest have anticipated which artists they can catch at the fest, but now they can begin to hash out their day-to-day game plans and create their own custom schedule. One of the toughest decisions comes at the very end of the festival, during the final performances on Sunday. Legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan plays at the same time as popular "jamtronica" band Lotus. Though it may be a difficult call for many, it can also serve as a welcome reminder of the musical diversity that NCMF has to offer.

General admission three-day passes sold out last week, but there are still limited amounts of three-day VIP passes and single day tickets available. There are also plenty of tickets left for the myriad of official NCMF after parties. Except for The Disco Biscuits show at Concord Music Hall, which went like hot cakes, selling out in just a few short days after the tickets were initially released. For those who plan to attend any late night shows, the good news there will be plenty of time to regain your strength, as the music doesn't resume on the festival grounds until 1:30pm the following afternoon.

Continue reading this entry »

Brianna Kelly

North Coast Music Festival Mon Sep 03 2012

North Coast Music Festival: Sunday

Well, we did it. North Coast Music Festival is a relatively rain-free wrap. The glitter, rage sticks and neon-colored tutus are going back in the closet for another year as festival season comes to a close in Chicago. What did we learn this summer, the first that offered real competition with other EDM-focused fests like Spring Awakening and Wavefront? Perhaps it's that excess is not always a good thing. By the end of the day yesterday, after having attending both the previously mentioned festivals and other dance music events throughout the summer, I was exhausted and, quite frankly, a little womped and wobbled out. We certainly went out with a bang though.


Photo by Steve Stearns

Continue reading this entry »

Katie Karpowicz

North Coast Music Festival Sun Sep 02 2012

North Coast Music Festival: Saturday


(Photo by Steve Stearns)

If you learn one thing at North Coast festival, it's that people love to put things on giant sticks at dance festivals. Everything from handmade signs to stuffed animals to blowup dolls, if it's weird and covered in glitter, it probably has a stick shoved up it. The difference between North Coast and Lollapalooza (and really Pitchfork at this point) is that North Coast is still very much a niche festival. That's why you'll see the crazy club outfits, the odd things on sticks, and for better or for worse, the large amount of people selling club drugs right outside the gate. To the outsider it's a surreal culture shock if one happens to stumble into the body glitter and fur boot crowd around Union Park this weekend. - Lisa White

There's something weird in the air at North Coast this year. I can't quite tell what it is. When describing this festival I expected to be using words like "raging" and "wild." Instead, so far the words that are coming to mind are "mellow" and "uneventful."

Excision's set at 4:45pm was the first of the day that I anticipated. The Canadian DJ's beat-making is almost mechanic, both in its metallic, glitchy sound and its formulaic composition of swoops, drops and flows. Technically, this had all the makings of a wildly insane dance party. Except the energy never seemed to live up to what I expected. Excision was great however, save for a steady wave of arms bumping to the beat, there was little crowd reaction to match that performance. Maybe it was the overcast backdrop. Maybe it had something to do with a certain herbal scent that constantly hung in the air. Or maybe, quite simply, it was just too darn packed to cut loose.

Continue reading this entry »

Katie Karpowicz

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

Continue reading this entry »

Lisa White

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

Continue reading this entry »

Katie Karpowicz

North Coast Music Festival Wed May 30 2012

North Coast Music Festival Announces Second Wave of Acts

Adding to an already stellar lineup, North Coast Music Festival announced its second wave of artists today. In the hip hop department, Alabama-bred, Slim Shady protege Yelawolf and West Coast crew People Under the Stairs join the bill. The fest has also scored dance music veteran Paul Oakenfold, who's been spinning for decades. Other new additions include dubsteppers Knife Party and Dutch DJ Chuckie. Perhaps the biggest news, though, is that Chicago's own Umphrey's Mcgee is joining the list of headliners alongside the previously announced Pretty Lights.


What I'm looking forward to: Yelawolf's set. Saw him at the Bottom Lounge last fall and the self-proclaimed "white trash rapper" can put on show. Here's hoping his set doesn't conflict with any of the other big name rap artists playing the fest like Atmosphere or Big Boi.

What I'm not looking forward to: hearing the live version of Umphrey's "Chicago"--the band's much laughed about attempt to create an anthem for our city with the help of Buddy Guy and Chicago (the band). Here's hoping this debauchery is absent from the setlist come Labor Day weekend.

North Coast Music Festival hits Union Park August 31-September 2. Tickets are on sale now.

Katie Karpowicz / Comments (2)

News Mon Apr 16 2012

North Coast Music Festival Announces First Wave of 2012 Lineup

North Coast Music Festival has been teasing fans all night on twitter about some big news, and just now the festival announced the first wave of acts to play Union Park this year. Gracing the stages August 31-September 2 are the following acts:

-Pretty Lights
-Big Boi
-Steve Aoki
-The Rapture
-Mord Fustang
-Felix Da Housecat
-Dan Deacon
-King Khan and The Shrines
-Rebirth Brass Band
-Van Ghost
-Maya Jane Coles
-Com Truise
-Auto Body

and many more to be announced. The initial lineup is already looking solid for the third year of the festival, with the promise of even more headliners and other impressive acts to follow. Check out their site here with more information including how to purchase tickets.

Lisa White

North Coast Music Festival Tue Sep 06 2011

North Coast Music Festival: Sunday


North Coast by Steve Stearns

While Sunday is a day of rest for most, North Coast goers knew that the third and final day of the fest was their last chance to get all the raging out of their system. It was one of, if not, the most rock-heavy days, with acts like Of Montreal, Gogel Bordello and locals Van Ghost hitting the big stages, but you didn't have to search too hard to find some bass thumping. -Katie Karpowicz

If Saturday was sloppy, Sunday was a bit strung out, as tired hippies hooped a little slower and in general the crowd (until Bassnectar) seemed a bit more subdued. Granted there was a raging circle pit at Gogol Bordello and the kids at the Red Bull stage were still dancing hard (that might be the Red Bull), but overall I saw more people relaxing in the shade, taking it easy on the suddenly chilly afternoon. I also thankfully saw more security around the areas surrounding the sound board, a problem that was apparent in my Saturday coverage, so it was nice to see the festival staying on their toes and trying their best to improve any newbie mistakes. -Lisa White

Continue reading this entry »

Lisa White

North Coast Music Festival Sun Sep 04 2011

North Coast Music Festival: Saturday


Rusko by Andy Keil

Oh, North Coast. A stoner's oasis. An epileptic's worst nightmare. While Day One started off slow and steady, Saturday seemed to go from zero to sixty in a matter of minutes. Union Park remained almost eerily barren through the first couple rounds of acts Saturday afternoon--too much raging on Friday night, I suppose--but once the rain started around 2:30pm, festheads started pouring into the park like moths to a flame.

What followed was a bit of sensory overload. Bass thumping from three stages simultaneously at almost all times; strobes, lasers and glowsticks everywhere you looked; the overwhelming scent of a certain, ahem, herb in the air; and a day and night-long battle between waves of sweat and rain made for quite the experience on Saturday. I'm honestly amazed at the relentless energy Coasters were still able to produce though despite the natural and chemical elements that, in the end, helped turned Saturday into the ten-hour party that it was. -Katie Karpowicz

My Saturday at North Coast involved a lot of soggy kids tripping on a variety of things, yelling at a kid who almost tipped over a toilet while dancing on it, yelling at some other kids who almost toppled over a girl in a wheelchair, and watching a bunch of kids buy nitrous balloons from some sketchy guys on a corner. Needless to say Saturday got a little rude and sloppy, but it didn't stop the artists from giving it their all to the more than entertaining crowd. -Lisa White

Continue reading this entry »

Lisa White

GB store

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

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

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...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15