Festivals

Who We’re Excited to See at North Coast Music Festival 2017

Summer is on its way out and what better way to honor it that with North Coast Music Festival: Summer’s Last Stand. This year’s fest is once again taking over Union Park over Labor Day weekend and it is laser focused on bringing you as many diverse musical styles as they can. Huge portions of the crowd will be finding their way toward the stages for exciting headliners like Deadmou5 & Eric Prydz, Damien Marley, Primus, and Ween; but we want to shine some light on the rest of the music and activities going on in and outside of the fest! Check out our picks and start getting your schedule together for this weekend’s fest!

ALL WEEKEND

Photo courtesy of NCMF

After Parties – Throughout the city
Sometimes you want to keep the party going after the fest and NCMF makes sure you’re covered with a bunch of options! NCMF After Parties brings the music indoors for long nights of dancing and partying. As always, the After parties are spread throughout different clubs and venues in the city, giving everyone an opportunity for a more intimate but just as rowdy experience! So if you want to see more of Gucci Mane, Spafford, Carnage or any of the rest of the After Parties lineup, check out our calendar post with links to the available tickets!
– Julian Ramirez

Photo courtesy of NCMF

The Silent Disco / Living Gallery Graffiti / Yoga (yoga – 3:30PM on Friday and 2:00PM on Saturday & Sunday)
NCMF isn’t just about the amazing mainstage acts; it’s also about the creativity that is consistently flowing through the Living Gallery Graffiti and the Silent Disco. Last year, the two experiences came together in the same spot on the NCMF grounds. The combination of rotating DJs piping jams into your headphones and a slew of amazing artists creating stunning works of art throughout the weekend was spectacular. This year they’re adding a little bit of yoga to always solid lineup of artists and DJs. Yogi Cassandra Justine of Choose Joy will be instructing festival attendees through YogaVIBE Flo sessions to start their day off right!
– Julian Ramirez

FRIDAY

Akenya – 3:00pm Skyline Stage
It’s safe to say Akenya is due for a breakout moment. The singer, pianist and composer studied jazz for eight years at the Chicago Academy of the Performing Arts and received a degree in jazz voice. A 2010 EP called Overcome showcases versions of standards composed by Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Billy Holiday and more. On a single released in 2015, Akenya expresses her self-doubt-laden lyrics over an irresistibly head-bobbing beat that intersects jazz, soul and hip-hop. She’s worked with Vijay Iyer, Noname, Esperanza Spalding, and Chance the Rapper, just to name a few. But Akenya definitely has a voice of her own and she’s currently working on Moon in the 4th, the followup full-length to the EP. At only 24-years-old, this rising Chicago singer will be a great performance to kick off the weekend.
– Andrew Hertzberg

BadBadNotGood – 6:00pm Coast Stage
There are musicians that you simply can’t avoid if you listen to hip-hop and the Canadian jazz group BadBadNotGood is one of them. They got their start a covering rap songs like Gucci Mane’s “Lemonade” and O future tracks and have now had their smooth and infectious sounds underline flows from some of the best rappers in the industry including Kendrick Lamaar, Danny Brown, and Ghostface Killah. Beyond these collaborations lies their original work which mixes elements of improvisational jazz with electronica and hip hop beats, making for a fusion unlike any other. BadBadNotGood’s latest album IV was their first as a quartet and continues the group’s rise as innovative musicians blurring the line between genres.
– Julian Ramirez

Bonobo – 7:30pm, Coast Stage
The British-born, LA-based musician Bonobo is coming on almost two decades of performing with over thirty releases of full-lengths, EPs, remix albums, live recordings, and whatever else he’s decided to cobble together. Bonobo’s music is a collage of Afrobeat, downtempo, and ambient electronic, often using brass, strings, and other orchestral instruments in addition to electronic elements. While he’s often performed solo in the past, Bonobo’s set at North Coast promises a full band and will probably feature much of this year’s newest album Migration which reached #5 on the UK charts. Much of the weekend features heavier and more upbeat groups, so Bonobo’s soundtrack-like sounds will provide some much needed dynamic diversity to the lineup. Think of the set as a great way not to burn out before the weekend is over.
– Andrew Hertzberg

Derrick Carter – 8:15pm, House DJ Tent
It goes without saying that Derrick Carter is a Chicago house legend. He grew up in the Western suburbs and has been on the scene since the late 80s and still DJs worldwide consistently (the rest of September finds him in San Francisco, Glasgow, Ibiza, London, and more). Though firmly associated with the underground club scene, don’t be surprised to hear some disco, soul, funk, or anything else in the mix. He’s even remixed the Human League, Tortoise, Ricky Martin (yes that Ricky Martin) and more unexpectedly associated acts. If you can’t catch him at North Coast (or just need a second helping) Carter also spins at Smart Bar on Sunday night for Labor Day Queen!
– Andrew Hertzberg

SATURDAY

A Tribe Called Red – 3:45pm, North Stage
DJ trio from Ottawa A Tribe Called Red combine electronic music with that of the traditional musical elements from the First Nations, a catch-all term for the wide range of music created by the indigenous people of Canada. Their unique blending of influences won them a Juno award for Breakthrough Group of the Year in 2014. The trio are vocal about their activism within the First Nations community, human rights issues, and general cultural sensitivity. But that doesn’t mean this will be a somber set. Like the hip-hop group their name pays homage too, the trio crafts catchy and danceable beats while throwing socially conscious message for good measure.
– Andrew Hertzberg

Manic Focus – 5:45pm, North Stage
Manic Focus is the project by Chicago-based produce John McCarten. He was trained in classical piano from a young age but being introduced to hip-hop as a teenager opened up new worlds. His newest album Minds Rising, released earlier this year, mixes hip-hop, electro-soul, and dubstep and is full of collaborations primarily with fellow Chicagoans such as Psalm One, Probcause, and Carlile (who plays earlier in the day at 1 PM on the Coast Stage). While McCarten’s work sounds like it can be handled by one producer, he has been known to include live musicians and other production elements for his live performances. Considering his work with so many other artists, don’t be surprised if special guests join Manic Focus on stage this weekend. Manic Focus also play an aftershow with Russ Liquid the night before on Friday at the Bottom Lounge.
– Andrew Hertzberg

Big Boi – 8:00pm, Coast Stage
Outkast may be on permanent/indefinite hiatus but Big Boi has been busy even without Andre 3000 over the past few years. He’s developed an acting career, collaborated with the Atlanta Ballet in 2008, and has continued to work with and produce other artists like Little Dragon, Janelle Monae, T.I., George Clinton, and more. Big Boi just released his third solo album (fourth if you count his collaboration with Phantogram under the name Big Grams) Boomiverse, a collection of diverse tracks and collabs (Killer Mike, Gucci Mane, Snoop Dogg, etc.), that might not hit as hard as his earlier solo stuff, but still solidly produced with some trademark curve balls thrown in for good measure. This set is going to be a party.
– Andrew Hertzberg

SUNDAY

Rich Jones – 2:00pm, Coast Stage
Some days it seems like Rich Jones is supporting the entire Chicago hip-hop scene on his shoulders. He is tireless in promoting local artists and putting together showcases, including the monthly series All Smiles at Tonic Room which celebrated their five-year anniversary back in April. When not working behind the scenes, Jones is performing with the Second City Citizens and this upcoming set will most likely find him performing tracks from his most recent EP Vegas, a surprising departure from hip-hop into the pop world, full of catchy tracks that are sure to be in your head for days.
– Andrew Hertzberg

Chicago Turntablist Authority – 4:00pm, Beats DJ Tent
Over the course of the weekend, the side-stage changes name from the House Tent to the Bass Tent to finally the Beats Tent. If you’ve got an itch that needs a scratch, this is a set you’ll wanna catch. The CTA (do you see what they did there?) includes DJ Toltech, DJ Ambideckstriks, RTST, and J. Marz. The advantage of having four DJs is in the subtle transition, having one of the members working a background track that may unexpectedly jump out front at any moment. It’s Sunday afternoon of a long weekend, but the energy is going to be non-stop during this set.
– Andrew Hertzberg

Photo by Julian Ramirez

The Cool Kids – 4:45pm, Coast Stage
Chicago hip-hop has been in the national spotlight over the past few years and the influence of the Cool Kids cannot be overlooked or understated. The duo of Antoine “Sir Michael Rocks” Reed and Evan “Chuck Inglish” Ingersoll had a meteoric rise between 2007-10 who found themselves in the company of Flosstradamus, Diplo, A-Trak, M.I.A., Freddie Gibbs, and everyone else in the electronic and hip-hop scenes. After two albums and a handful of mixtapes, the duo mostly went their separate ways. Now they’re back in business and have released a few singles over the summer that find them picking up where they left off, sampling heavily from 80s and 90s hip-hop, rapping about TV dinners and grocery stores; these singles will eventually (hopefully) culminate with the release of Special Edition Grand Master Deluxe on September 15th.
– Andrew Hertzberg

Skepta – 7:45pm Coast Stage
Skepta is a U.K. grime artist that is helping expand the reach of the rapid and aggressive sound. The grime genre mixes elements of a variety of sharp electronic sounds (like jungle and UKG) with a strong lifeline of hip-hop to create some energetic and danceable songs. Skepta’s brand of grime is insanely accessible and vibrant, but as grimey as the genre’s name implies. His latest album Konnichiwa is a pretty good entry point into the genre as he brings in originators like Wiley and outsiders like Pharrell Williams into the mix. Skepta feels like the ideal NCMF act, a wild mix of genres that gets the crowd moving.

Tickets for North Coast Music Festival: Summer’s Last Stand are currently available! Three-day passes range from $149.99 for general admission to $199.99 for VIP, while single day passes are $59.99 for general admission and $89.99 for VIP. Come join us this Labor Day weekend for Summer’s Last Stand and enjoy this eclectic lineup with us!

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