After two days cut short by rain and thunderstorms, there was a lot riding on day three of North Coast Music Festival. The promoter did right by fans allowing those who had purchased single day tickets on the previous day entry into the final day of the fest. And with a lineup full of diverse acts, Sunday was looking like the day that would make up for it all. Thankfully, it was!
The crowds were huge, the music was on fire all day, and the weather was utterly perfect.
After two days of less than stellar endings, the festival did have some stand out performances including Jacob Banks, Strumbellas, Mura Musa, Jamiroquai, and DVSN – all artists who, despite the madness of the weekend, put on fantastic sets. For me, it was seeing these musicians that made experiencing the highs and lows of the weekend somewhat worth it.
From the entirety of the lineup, NoMBe was hands down my favorite performer. Despite having to perform in the scorching afternoon heat on the last day of the fest, NoMBe was charismatic, energetic, and charming. He exuded an infectious energy that spread throughout the crowd and had everyone smiling and dancing along with him. It was clear that he was putting his all into his one-hour set. The singer, who has recently released his debut album They Might’ve Even Loved Me, put on a vibrant set, showcasing his colorful and multi-genre style with songs like “Young Love,” “Milk & Coffee,” “California Girls,” and “Freak Like Me.” Seeing him perform with so much enthusiasm and passion truly made it a joy to watch his set.
– Pearl Tiffany Shin
When it comes to local acts, there is always a hope that Chance the Rapper will make an appearance. That hope was definitely coursing through KAMI’s set, who started the set with “Reboot” which features the aforementioned Chance and Joey Purp. Neither showed up at this point so the crowd let themselves just enjoy the incredible KAMI set. He held the crowd’s attention with some great tracks like “Home Movies” and “Miami: White Limousines”, eventually making way for Joey Purp to come out and do a few songs. While it wasn’t Chance that we got, Joey Purp and KAMI were more than exciting enough to quench our local hip hop needs.
A later on over at the Attendee.com stage, Rapsody had amassed a pretty big crowd for her rapping talents. Instantly I was floored by her presence as she emphatically dished our rhymes while dashing across the stage. At one point, for a slower more deliberate song, she brought up an attendee on stage, and serenade him with song that got the crowd heated up. With a full backing band laying down instrumentals behind her, there was no doubt that this was one of the more entertaining acts of the fest.
After her set I was able to catch the last half of Moon Taxi and was once again quickly entranced. The Nashville based band was already warmed up and kicking into high gear by the time I reached the stage. Their sound is so conductive for a good time, a nice mixture of alternative rock with enough jangle to make it interesting. “Morocco” hit a pretty nice bright spot during their set but it was the cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Sleep Now in Fire” that took the whole thing over the edge. The cover was faithful to the original and as relevant as ever, giving their whole set a magnetic energy.
Mura Masa’s set could have easily been a worthwhile DJ set, but with the addition of Cosha (formally Bonzai), it was elevated into something more. As the silhouetted Mura Masa, the 20 year old Alex Crossan, was at work in the middle of the stage, Cosha was grooving across the stage, belting out songs, and getting the crowd riled up form more. The contrast between the two performers as perfect, each one raising the othr’s skills as they produced some of the cleanest mixes of the festival.
To end the three days of eclectic music, I honestly couldn’t think of a better set than Jamiroquai. After 13 years away from the States, Jay Kay and his funky, jazzy, poppy band have returned and it was a blast. With a stage set up filled with lights and graphics straight out of the 90s. It honestly felt like everyone was there as the grounds filled up while Jay Kay and crew blasted “Shake it On” off their latest album before diving into memorable songs for the rest of the night.
The setlist hit quite a few of Jamiroquai‘s albums, with Travelling Without Moving being the obvious focus of the night with “Alright”, “Cosmic Girl”, “High Times”, “Travelling Without Moving”, and “Use the Force” getting the spotlight. Jay Kay lead the group and the crowd front and center dancing around the stage with the bright and recognizable head gear throughout the set.
Jamiroqui was an excellent and much needed exclamation point the this year’s NCMF!
– Julian Ramirez
So with that, another summer and another North Coast Music Festival has come to an end. After a tumultuous and jam-packed, three days, I’m pretty exhausted. But I’m also hopeful for next year’s fest and excited to see what North Coast 2019 will bbring
– Pearl Tiffany Shin
All photos by Pearl Tiffany Shin