Festivals

A Few of the Best Things to See at North Coast This Year

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We are one week away from Summer’s Last Stand, the North Coast Music Festival! Since 2010, the festival has called Union Park home and brought a wide array of musical acts. Rock, hip-hop, and a heavy dose of DJs make up the NCMF year in and year out and this 7th edition of the fest is no different. There are 40 main stage acts and plenty of DJs taking the reigns over at the Heineken House and Silent Disco areas, making it impossible  to stop dancing and partying throughout the fest.

The diverse lineup will feature NCMF headlining favorites like Umphrey’s McGee and Bassnectar taking the stage once again and big newcomers like Logic and Odesza bring out their best for NCMF. With so many acts to see,  Justin Freeman and Julian Ramirez have picked a few artist that you should try to experience during this year’s festival.

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Photo via Facebook. Photo credit: Zoe Rain / Whitney Middleton

Jamila Woods

Jamila Woods’ debut album, HEAVN, is breathtaking.

Inspired by neo-soul artists such as Erykah Badu and the activism of black women such as Angela Davis, Woods’ words and cadence are serene yet unshakably powerful.  “HEAVN is about black girlhood, about Chicago…” Woods said in a press release. “…For black and brown people, caring for ourselves and each other is not a neutral act. It is a necessary and radical part of the struggle to create a more just society.”

Woods’ message of perseverant love in the face of adversity is showcased throughout the album, but is arguably best presented during “Blk Girl Soldier” as Woods sings “See she’s telepathic. Call it Black Girl Magic. Yeah she scares the government. Déjà vu of Tubman.” over a subtly rhapsodic beat.

Even if you haven’t heard HEAVN, you’re probably at least passively familiar with her music. Woods was the core of the gospel choir arrangements of Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment’s “Sunday Candy.” She also sang the chorus on Chance the Rapper’s “Blessings.”

Jamila Woods is on from 3:45 to 4:30 at the North Stage on Friday afternoon. That’s admittedly a little early, but it should be an exhilarating and chill way to get your weekend started right. – Justin Freeman

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Photo Credit: Charlotte Kemp Muhl

The Claypool Lennon Delirium

I’m not sure about anyone else, but when I thought of dream collaborations, Les Claypool and Sean Lennon weren’t necessarily on the top of my list. Claypool’s bass mastery has kept him at the top of funky metal tunes emerging from his primary outfit Primus, while Lennon ‘s solo work has been centered around alternative rock sounds. Both have shown versatility as is evident with Claypool’s numerous side projects and Lennon’s relative ease to drift in and out of bands. Even when taking into account Lennon’s psychedelic The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger with his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl, the idea of Claypool and Lennon didn’t seem to mesh. That is until now.

Together they have formed into The Claypool Lennon Delirium and suddenly they are one of the best musical partnerships of the year. The two work surprisingly well together, committing fully to what may end up being a one off band and album (I really hope not). Lennon’s voice jumps back and forth between serenity and oddity; while Claypool’s bass playing is as exciting as ever. Their debut album Monolith of Phobos is eccentric psychedelic madness that never tries to be anything other than fun trip into otherworldly realms.

The Claypool Lennon Delirium will be taking the North Stage on Saturday at 7:45 -8:45. This is pretty much an ideal time to let their hallucinogenic songs take you on trip through far off universes filled with “Crickets and Genies”, creepy men, and Michael Jackson’s monkey Bubbles. – Julian Ramirez

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Photo via Facebook

Farley Jackmaster Funk

We don’t care about Cook County’s goofy classist arguments. We still believe that house music qualifies as “fine art.”

Detroit techno DJ, Seth Troxler, articularly wrapped up our feelings about this matter when he said on Twitter earlier this week “a great retort can be [made] that Chicago musicians and house music have been Chicago’s greatest cultural export of the century.”

It’s difficult to overstate just how influential house been to Chicago’s identity. It was just last year when the city had a summer long exhibit celebrating the history of house music downtown at the Cultural Center. Frankies Knuckles was so loved, that a mural was painted in his honor shortly after he passed away. A street was also named after him. We could go on. DJs like Derrick Carter, labels like Trax, clubs like Smartbar. These things are iconic figures of “fine art” that symbolize the greatness of this city. Another symbol? Farley Jackmaster Funk.

Funk is one of the originators of Chicago house known for his sets at The Warehouse. His singles, “Aw Shucks” and “Funkin With the Drums” became pillars of the genre. Funk has spent the last few years touring around Europe, performing at prominent clubs and festivals in Spain, Sweden, the UK and more.

Farley Jackmaster Funk headlines Heineken House, the DJ stage, Sunday night from 7:15 to 8:45. Don’t miss this chance to one of the best of Chicago House put on a masterclass in his hometown. – Justin Freeman

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Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records

Action Bronson

Action Bronson’s empire has grown considerably in just a few short years. Starting his career as a chef before transitioning to full time rapper, he’s now the host of multiple shows on Vice. Every passing year sees Bronson getting more and more opportunities that are only matched by the amount of dabs he uses. There seems to be no stopping Bronson’s ludicrous personality.

Mr. Wonderful, his latest album, continues the trend with comical and nonsensical lyricism that begs not to be taken seriously. As with every new release, Bronson adopts a new personality that is wilder and more insane than the last. Whether it’s the motorcycle riding madman or the green mink wearing Terry, Bronson delivers a fun sense of ridiculousness.

Bronson’s stage presence is just as commanding and unpredictable as his songs.  If past performances are an indication, there is a chance that Bronson will eschew the stage altogether and make his way through the crowd, maybe pick up some food or possibly partake in the crowds’ proclivities. Hell, he might toss electronics and baggies of weed into the crowd. He can take the most timid crowd and turn them as crazed as he is an instant. There is no telling where his mind will take him.

Action Bronson will be doing his thing over at the North Stage from 7:30 to 8:30 on Sunday. Prepare for what sure to be a hazy and fun show. – Julian Ramirez

Tickets for North Coast Music Festival are still available, so jump on this fun festival. If the fest is too much to handle, the NCMF Afters offer quite a few of the acts playing after-party shows throughout the weekend. You can check out our rundown of Afters here. The warm season is coming to an end, so make its final days a blast with Summer’s Last Stand.

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