A nice and sunny day greeted North Coast Music Festival attendees to very local-music-friendly start to the day while a late night rainstorm sent the crowds off into vendor booths for refuge from the downpour. Rain or shine, the music never stops at North Coast Music Festival!
Here are our takes on Saturday’s performances.
Just like Friday, the gates opened at the same time the first acts were supposed to start. And like Friday, the openers did not let the snafu detract from their set, despite having to cut off fifteen minutes. The major difference was that Carlile had to compete with ridiculously high sound levels from the main stage during Wizdom’s set (did someone forget to turn the volume knob down after Deadmau5 last night?). Nonetheless, the Chicago-singer and her band of “thrash pop” were having a good time to start the day, blending electronic-pop with hints of dubstep, funk, and a bit of R&B. The best moment was going from the “happy song about global warming” into the unexpectedly aggressive chorus of “This is my fuck you song I never got to write.” Perhaps with extra zest due to the early afternoon’s circumstances.
I was completely unfamiliar with Sunsquabi when I entered the photo pit, but with moments of beginning their set I was incredibly impressed. The trio of guitarist Kevin Donohue, bassist Andrew Clymer, and drummer Chris Anderson injects EDM noise into their manic funk soundscapes with great effect. The infusion is seamless and feeds off each other to create an incredibly enjoyable set. Most impressive is Clymer as his bass playing is killer and his onstage presence is massive, especially when handling the EDM effects with a determined glare on his face.
Some of the most interesting groups at the fest are the ones that blur the line between EDM and live music. Goldfish, a South African duo that are no strangers to NCMF, do just that as they blend in live instrumentation to their joyous dance music. Dominic Peters handles some quick and driving keys while David Poole blasts through with his tenor sax as a jazzy electronic dance groove pulses underneath. They are exciting to watch as Poole dashes from behind their DJ table to throw down on his sax with all the veracity you could hope for. The crowd was pretty hot for the set, giving as much energy back to the duo as they were doling out.
Afternoon Medley – A Tribe Called Red, The Russ Liquid Test, Tank and the Bangas
Wanting to see multiple acts with conflicting time slots, I spent most of the afternoon wandering around catching bits and pieces of multiple acts. I caught a bit of A Tribe Called Red, a DJ trio combining electro-dance with First Nations chanting, drumming, and dancers on stage in ceremonial dress. The energy was upbeat and the park was starting to fill up a bit but I was ready for more live music.
Back to the Coast Stage for The Russ Liquid Test, which must be in reference to testing how far they can combine genres (I’m sensing a theme to this festival). The trio kept the energy up moving from reggae to funk to drum and bass to dub and it felt like a medley within my personal medley. One cool thing about the festival on Saturday was the number of local artists performing, allowing for collaborations. In this case, Carlile and Catho (who sang backup for Carlile and for Akenya on Friday) hopped on stage for a couple songs; Carlile would also join Manic Focus later in the day, keeping the collaborative theme going.
Following Russ Liquid, I went back to the mainstage to catch a bit of New Orleans-based Tank and the Bangas. The overcast that covered the sky earlier broke into sunshine during the set, most likely as a birthday gift to Tank. The set was filled with disco-inflected funk and soul tunes led by Tank’s passionate vocal performance.
Much like Lil Dicky’s crowd on Friday, the Post Malone fan base came out in droves. The first row concert goers were desperate to see their idol, having camped up shockingly early to get the full Stoney experience. Once again, a typical DJ set got things going, but once Post came out he delivered. He was all smiles as he ran around the stage and jumped along with his fans. It thankfully never felt like he was going through the motions, instead giving the crowd what they deserved.
A couple songs into Post Malone’s set, the ominous clouds fulfilled their promise of a quick rainfall on the festival grounds.
That sunshine I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that didn’t last long. The unexpected storm hit the park but thankfully was never intense enough to evacuate the park or delay things…well, too much. Big Boi didn’t start his set until 20 minutes after he was supposed to, though whether from the rain or from the fact that the schedule didn’t account for any setup time between acts on the Coast Stage is unclear.
This was the first date of his Daddy Fat Saxxx tour in support of his latest album Boomiverse. The set included new tracks like lead single “Kill Jill,” the bass-heavy funk of “Chocolate,” and the ragtime-piano led “All Night,” a personal favorite from the new album. The set cribbed heavily from Outkast’s output: “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Ms. Jackson,” “The Whole World” and “B.O.B.” all made appearances; there were even crowd surfers during “B.O.B.” The tracks are no doubt crowd-pleasers, but I wish we could have been treated to more Big Boi originals.