Chicago’s North Coast Festival is one of my favorites of the season. It’s mix of electronic, hip-hop, and soul makes for an eclectic combination compelling to any music fan. Not only do they attract a lot of national headliners, they also feature a good amount of local talent that definitely deserves attention. It’s only in its fourth year, but the people putting on North Coast have already proven that they definitely know how to throw a party.
I’m unable to attend this year, but if I were going, here’s a list of who I would want to see:
My first stop on Friday would be 4:00 at the North Stage for The Heard. The funk/soul group puts on a great, energetic show. I caught a set they did at aliveOne on Halsted and it was most excellent. They didn’t even have all their members for that show, and they still put on a three hour marathon set that kept the crowd moving late into the night.
Next I’d hop over to the Coast Stage for Capital Cities. I’d never heard of the duo before catching them live at Summerfest in June. They do really fun pop music, and they have a good time on stage. The trumpet player they tour with is excellent. I was the only one in the audience who hadn’t heard their music, and the girls in front of me were crying when they played the single off their record “Safe & Sound.” They also played four covers that ran the gamut from Pink Floyd to Madonna.
I’d probably just stick it out at the Coast Stage for the rest of the night. Paper Diamond is a must-see. If you decide to skip his set at NCMF, I would highly recommend checking out the afterparty at House Of Blues. The headliner is Passion Pit. I’ve seen them twice, and if you like their music they will totally entertain you. I wasn’t a big fan of their last album, but the Chunk Of Change EP is still one of my favorites.
Other possibilities: Jamie Lono at the Tent Stage 5pm, Aluna George at the North Stage at 6, and Just Blaze at 9 on the Dos Equis Stage.
Saturday is a little lower on the acts you can’t miss, but there are a bunch of curiosities I’d like to see.
At 2 on the Dos Equis Stage, Brassft Punk will be taking you “Around The World.” Yes, you read that right-it’s a brass band that just plays Daft Punk covers. I assume many people will “Get Lucky” to these guys. The rest of the day should be spent zig-zagging between the North Stage and the Coast Stage. At 3:30 it’s Conspirator on North, then Aloe Blacc on Coast. Back to North for Future Rock, then again over to Coast for Gramatik. The big guns come out next, with Nas on the North Stage at 7:30. After that you have a choice between Afrojack on the Last Stand Stage and Big Gigantic on the Coast Stage. I’d lean toward Afrojack, but really it’s up to you on this one.
Sunday is the best day for overall quality-the hits come early and often, so get plenty of rest before you show up.
The Dos Equis Stage is where it’s at, with a 3pm set by Gemini Club followed by K. Flay at 4. If you’re desperate to see Danny Brown at 4 on the North Stage (I understand), you can catch Flay in Chicago again at Metro with Icona Pop on September 12th. At 5 you could go check out Datsik at the Coast Stage, but I’d hang out a bit and catch A-Trak on the Last Stand stage at 5:30. Take a walk through Midnight Conspiracy’s set on the Dos Equis Stage as you make your way over to the Tent for Team Bayside High at 7pm. Follow that up with Purity Ring on the North Stage at 8, and finish the weekend off with none other than Wu-Tang Clan on the Coast Stage at 9.
You can find all the pertinent info about North Coast Music Festival on their website. Be sure to check out all the sweet after parties. If you can’t get to Chicago this weekend, there will be some webcast options including most of the best sets.
Have fun, be safe, and enjoy the last big fest of the summer! Here’s a playlist I made to get you pumped!