North Coast was a 9 out of 10.
Seriously, we’re not going to yell “Sike!” when you’re done reading this. Partially because that isn’t technologically possible, and partially because we’re not joking around.
As we heard in response to our Lollapalooza recap, not everybody agreed with our opinions of certain performances. Shocker.
So this time, please remember that this is our review of the festival. Not yours.
Please remember that each person in this world has a different taste in music and that every person at a music festival experiences something uniquely different. It’s just science. We can’t change it, and neither can you.
With that said, North Coast Music Festival 2015 was as good as ever. Maybe even the best we’ve ever seen. With a lineup of everything from reggae to rock, names like Chromeo, Porter Robinson, and Tycho tore up the stages at Union Park over Labor Day weekend.
As a wise person once said, “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
So here’s some retrospect from our weekend at North Coast Music Festival.
Our Unfiltered Recap Of North Coast Music Festival
Day 1 | Friday, September 4th
Nahko & Medicine For The People | 4:30 pm, 773 Stage
At first I thought their name was Nah Mako & The Medicine People. I guess I was pretty close.
Anywho, there was a strong smell of herbal support at this concert. For lack of a better way to put it, this was the perfect setting to unwind from another God-forsaken work week. The work is never going to go away. But then again, neither is Reggae.
Nahko & Medicine For The People was a pleasant surprise, and moving forward, I’ll certainly be browsing their tracks on Spotify.
Every year at every music festival, you go to a show with no expectations and it’s really good.
That’s exactly what Nahko and MFTP (like some guy in the first row’s sign said) were at North Coast this year. I wasn’t even sure what show we were going to see before RAC, but the fivesome from Portland turned out to be an ideal start on Friday afternoon.
For a festival that’s predominantly known and labeled as “chill,” being able to move around at will while listening to Nahko Bear (possibly greatest name of all time) and his gang’s musical medicine was Exhibit A.
RAC (Live) | 5:45 pm, 630 Stage
If you saw RAC at North Coast, you understand where the bar for electronic music is being set.
‘Live performances’ don’t just entail instruments and non-recorded vocals. For artists like RAC, it’s an all-out production. Click here to read my interview with Andre Allen Anjos, the frontman and mastermind behind RAC.
After missing RAC at Lollapalooza last year (Run The Jewels got in the way) this was easily the North Coast show I was looking forward to most.
Andre and his talented ensemble didn’t disappoint, producing excellent renditions of everything from “Tear You Down” to “We Belong” – which were way better live than on my Spotify playlist.
Especially at the cozy 630 Stage, which evoked plenty of vibes associated with Lolla’s legendary scene at “The Grove” – right where RAC performed in 2014.
The Glitch Mob | 7:30 pm, 630 Stage
Demonic drums. Evil fog. Skin-ripping bass.
The Glitch Mob.
We could continue saying short, catchy phrases to build the suspense – but the fact is that the Glitch Mob deserves a couple sentences. There were a lot of questions going through my head at the 630 Stage on Friday night, particularly regarding the inspiration behind their stage setup. Nonetheless, few of these ponderings were negative.
In comparison to the last time I saw them, this group has blossomed quite significantly in terms of throwing a show. In unison with the theme of this year’s North Coast Music Festival, “live” was also an element of Glitch Mob’s performance. And because of that (and a lot of other things I don’t have the attention span to mention), their performance was one I’ll remember for quite some time.
After grabbing another beer, we walked right back to the 630 Stage for The Glitch Mob – a name I’ve heard plenty of times but not one I’ve ever listened to in earnest.
Using context clues and my ears, I basically put it together that The Glitch Mob have a very distinct sound/style that is described, naturally, as ‘glitch.’ And any time a musician or group can say that, it’s almost guaranteed to be an enjoyable live performance regardless of your musical preference.
The Glitch Mob aren’t necessarily an act I’d consider part of my electronic music ‘pallet’ – but the show was undeniably impressive.
Knife Party | 8:45 pm, 630 Stage
Everything I’ve heard about a Knife Party set and then some.
Similar to what I said about Glitch Mob, Knife Party essentially invented a niche electronic sound. And they’re the best at it, which makes their live shows incredibly memorable.
I now can attest to that notion after their wildly entertaining set closed down an impressive run on the 630 Stage.
Day 2 | Saturday, September 5th
Galactic w/ Macy Gray | 5:45 pm, 773 Stage
Everybody remembered her classic song and I wasn’t the only grown man singing. Or crying.
Chromeo | 6:45 pm, 312 Stage
You don’t even need to put an asterisk on it – because Chromeo is a staple in the live electronic scene. Although they lean heavily towards pop, this NYC import played the magic hour set on Saturday. And damn did they play it good.
Porter Robinson (Live) | 7:35 pm, 630 Stage
No shit, this was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Quite the contrary from my extremely positive review of A$AP Rocky’s performance at Lollapalooza, this was peaceful but mind-blowing.
Wave Racer | 9 pm, 847 Stage
Pretty sick and not as chippy as I thought it would be. Left a little early, because two days of NCMF took it out of me.
Day 3 | Sunday, September 6th
Green Velvet | 5:30 pm, 630 Stage
We were a little conflicted for this slot with Twin Shadow and Haywyre also on North Coast’s Sunday evening docket, but going with the Chicago native and house icon Curtis Jones at the familiar 630 Stage turned out to be a solid choice. There’s only one word to describe this show.
Portugal. The Man | 6:30 pm, 312 Stage
Having seen ‘Portugal’ two different times at Lollapalooza, their presence on this year’s NCMF lineup was reassuring. And the Alaskan threesome was perfect for early Sunday night.
Snails | 9:00 pm, 847 Stage
SNAILS is one of bass music’s biggest breakout artists in 2015 thanks to a wacky attitude and a niche sound known as vomitstep.
The Montreal born music producer rose to stardom virtually out of thin air over the last year. After successfully collaborating with Skrillex and Diplo on the Jack Ü album as well as Big Gigantic’s “Funk With Me”, SNAILS took the summer by storm, hitting festival after festival leading up to this years North Coast Music Festival.
Closing out a music festival is no easy task, regardless of what stage you’re playing on. SNAILS happened to be playing next to the main stage, but that didn’t stop him from commandeering the crowd with his breakbeat, bass heavy style.
Show reviews by Keegan Goudie, Peter Hahn and Chas Goudie.