Festivals

North Coast Music Festival 2018: Day Two in Review

After Friday night’s rainstorm, North Coast was forced to delay the opening of the fest on day two, causing acts like Mother Nature to cancel their sets. It’s an unfortunate start to the day, but with a slightly  bigger crowd and a completely different vibe of acts, Saturday was looking good.
– Julian Ramirez

Weather and evacuations aside, this year’s North Coast was a bit disappointing for another reason. The lineup for the festival days felt lackluster to me, especially in comparison to lineups in previous years. Adding onto that, the schedule was pretty imbalanced in terms of the different musical genres represented in each day as well.
– Pearl Tiffany Shin

While Friday’s main stage lineup was inundated with DJs, Saturday’s set felt more akin to NCMF typical eclectic style. However, there was only one straight up hip hop act with Ric Wilson on the main stage  (the rest were featured on the more intimate Monaco stage), jammy bands were only sprinkled throughout the day, and onl a couple electronic sets fared well with more live instrumentation. It still didn’t feel as grand as most other years, but definitely closer than Friday evening’s lineup.

Tauk was one of the earlier band performing on Saturday and they tend to mirror the kind of lineup I want to see at NCMF. A jam band that isn’t afraid to genre hop, sometimes in the middle of a song.  From rap to rock, all with a ton of funk at its core, Tauk took their set to every musical limit, much to the joy of the early crowd.

A little later on The Strumbellas rocked the Attendee.com stage while The Polish Ambassador & Diplomatic Scandal took to the North Stage. A little bit of sound bleed is to be expected, but once you’re in the groove with a band everything else just melts away. The Strumbella’s folky rock sound was a pleasant alternative to the day, bring bright sounds to the tree covered area of the fest. It was a pretty ideal setting for them to get the crowd jumping along to their joyful tunes.

When I drifted over to The Polish Ambassador, the musical pseudonym of David Sugalski, it was more to see how different his see would be from the last time I saw him at NCMF. Accompanied by the live instrumentation of Diplomatic Scandal, the set was a fantastic extension of what Sugalski has done in the past. Its mixture of aural textures feels like pinnacle NCMF.

With the sun hanging low for the day, Vulpeck seemed like the perfect band to command the Attendee.com stage. Vulfpeck have such a storied reputation, with their funky tunes at the forefront, and their set did not disappointing. Having seen them back in 2016 in the middle of the day, there no denying that the Michigan based band benefited from the later in the day set time. The performance went above and beyond what I expected fill the air as the crowd seemed destined groove their butts off. With songs like “Animal Spirits”, “Baby I Don’t Know Oh Oh”, and a few covers, Vulfpeck gave the NCMF crowd a much needed jam session.
– Julian Ramirez

Two out of the three festival days were closed early due to severe weather, the first day due to an intense thunderstorm and the second day because of lightning being spotted nearby. I know, I know, you can’t control the weather. However, you can prepare for emergency scenarios like this. In North Coast’s case, they seemed to be under prepared for an emergency closing, simply kicking out the crowd with little information or updates. Frantically searching for cover while not knowing what was happening on the festival grounds was very stressful and confusing, to say the least.
– Pearl Tiffany Shin

With two days ending on such dour notes, cancelling both Saturday headliners The Revivalists and DJ Snake (who would jump into the crow and meet with fans in an effort to raise their spirits),  it was up to Sunday’s finale to pick up the slack. With clear skies predicted and a lineup more solidly fixed on NCMF’s wide range of music styles, it was looking like it could pull it off.
– Julian Ramirez

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