For the 6th annual year, North Coast Music Festival (NCMF) brought together a diverse range of genres than ever before during Labor Day Weekend from Friday, September 4 through Sunday, September 6th. Featuring three consecutive days of hip-hop, jam, indie, rock, R&B, electronic beats, and everything in between, North Coast transformed Chicago’s historic Union Park into a massive party for 17,500 Coasties to indulge in Summer’s Last Stand.
Returning headliners The Chemical Brothers came back this year after closing the inaugural NCMF in 2010. Additional 2015 headliners included R&B star D’Angleo and the Vanguard, The Roots, Wale, Tycho, Atmosphere, Porter Robinson, The Glitch Mob, Chromeo, Portugal. The Man, Booka Shade, RAC, Nahko & Medicine for the People, supergroup Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Shpongle (Simon Posford DJ Set), and an exciting performance from New Orleans’ premiere funk band Galactic with special guest Macy Gray who performed her hits including “I Try.”
Michael Archer aka D’Angelo’s set included costume changes, casual mic stand play wearing a Mad Max-style overcoat tattered to accentuate his muscular physique. Conjuring up the crowd’s volume with the simple raising of his hand, D’Angelo and the Vanguard launched directly into “Ain’t That Easy”, the opening track from 2014’s Black Messiah.
The Chemical Brother’s set was never a dull moment as psychedelic projections pulsed onstage. The duo seamlessly transitioned through a solid selection of tracks from their extensive catalog with “Sometimes I Feel So Deserted” and, of course, “Galvanize”.
The Disco Biscuits, Knife Party, Dirty Dozen Brass Band also returned to play the festival, along with Gramatik’s Lowtemp labelmates Exmag, who made their debut performance during NCMF 2013. Steve Aoki also had another energetic set as he pounced atop the DJ rig, mouthed lyrics, and hurled his shirt as well as several cakes into the audience, who literally ate it up.
Local favorites that returned this year included Chicago house legend Green Velvet, Future Rock, who will be performing for the sixth year in a row, Chicago’s resident DJ Zebo, along with up-and-coming acts like electronic jam producer Manic Focus, jazz and soul singer Lili K, rising alternative rapper Skizzy Mars, and blues-infused funk bands like The Heard, The O’My’s, and The Main Squeeze.
The Main Squeeze injected funk into the day and Manic Focus rounded out his electronic music with live instrumentalists and guest rappers. The Gold Web decked out in glammy costumes and face paint, its swirly, spacy “Friends” was a highlight.
Overall the festival showcased the diversity of music within the three days with immense success, but we are sure that next year will fare an even more robust line-up and experience.
North Coast Music Festival was held at Union Park at 1501 N. Randolph Street in Chicago. For more information please visit www.northcoastfestival.com.