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North Coast Music Festival Day Two: Choose Your Party

By Staff in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 31, 2014 6:30PM

Five years in and North Coast Music Festival is definitely growing up. Despite the fest's reputation as a younger person's attraction, a comprehensive look at the crowd on Saturday made us realize that its audience is getting older too.

It seemed like no coincidence on the organizers' part that Saturday's EDM acts almost exclusively played on the 630 and 847 Stages, while the rockers, jam bands and veteran hip-hop acts more likely to draw a crowd of legal drinking age were all placed on the main 312 and 773 Stages. As a whole, the crowd seemed to gel nicely but, then again, it wasn't hard to lay out your ideal day and avoid anything or anyone that would distract from it. You know what they say about birds of a feather. - Katie Karpowicz

We didn't intend to stay long for Boombox's set. The band members' hokey top hats and feather boa apparel was eyebrow-raising at best. Luckily, the duo's music did the talking and we liked what it was saying. Falling somewhere between house and funk, their live guitar and turntable act was enough to lock us in early on and keep us dancing through the entire hour. The warm sun and light breeze didn't hurt the groovy atmosphere either. Despite an ugly forecast going into the weekend, the festival gods have clearly been smiling down on North Coast this year. - Katie Karpowicz

The gravitation of conscious rappers like Nas, Killer Mike and Talib Kweli towards the festival circuit is a confusing one. The average Coastie, a 22-year-old white DePaul graduate, seems like a slightly misplaced target audience for speeches about ending Chicago's reputation as "ground zero" like Kweli's yesterday. However, as mainstream rap music becomes more about drugs, money and bitches, we can't knock these guys for wanting to get out from under it. Crowds like the one Kewli drew on Saturday, both large in number and visibly respectful of the 38-year-old rapper, justified the booking. Running through Black Star and solo material at breakneck speed, the MC's flow and comfort on stage was enough to make the hour fly by. The final track, "Get By," brought out the most smiles we've seen all weekend. - Katie Karpowicz

Norwegian producer Cashmere Cat saw a major turnout for his first Chicago festival appearance. The early evening set introduced more than a few attendees to the mellowed jersey club genre championed by artists like DJ Sliink and Trippy Turtle. It's dance music that could only be born out of a bedroom with the shades pulled tightly shut. The hour came as a stark contrast to the rest of the 630 Stage last night, a lineup that would include super dubsteppers Adventure Club and Dutch star Nicky Romero. Turning it down a bit, Cashmere Cat is the sexy side of EDM. The slow jams that manage to take the dancefloor from 0 to 100, real quick. - Robert Martin

Before we draw any hate from STS9 fans, please understand: This writer has thoroughly enjoyed fistful (and then some) of their shows since her high school days. Zach Velmer will always be one of her favorite percussionists. However, bassist David Murphy was always a key contributor to the band's mesmerizing live shows and his departure earlier this year left us nervous. While we loved seeing a woman up there rocking in Murphy's place (new bassists Alana Rocklin), STS9's sundown set lacked the structure of shows we've seen in the past. Improvisation has always been part of the band's appeal, but it was their songwriting abilities that balanced the act out. Last night felt like more of a jam session than anything else. Momentum did peak towards the end of the 90-minute set, though, suggesting the new band formation is still getting used to itself. Perhaps its just an adjustment period for all fans, too. - Katie Karpowicz

One of the largest North American touring acts in EDM, Adventure Club seemed right at home subheading on the 630 Stage. The set was a lot to take in coming off the smooth sounds of Cashmere Cat, but if this audience needing any waking up, these two were the right guys for the job. Seemingly hundreds of lasers took aim in every direction as Montreal duo tore through a relentless set of dubstep and big-room house. Adventure Club is a bit of a one trick pony, an issue we see often in electronic music, but the energy and sheer momentum surrounding the set compensated for the lack of sonic variety. - Robert Martin

After some early afternoon Twitter drama featuring a since deleted tweet from Kid Cudi to myself, I was more than excited to see what was in store for the Ohio rapper's headlining set. Yes, I did call Mr. Mescudi "once great" in our North Coast recap yesterday. Man on the Moon Part I and II are two of my favorite hip-hop records of all time, and nothing Mescudi has done since has even come close to that level of sheer excellence. Watching Cudi play through a set comprised almost entirely of these classics last night, I doubt I'm the only one who feels this way. I have to give it to the guy. The live performance was on point. Cudi has definite love for his fans and seemed genuinely thrilled to be in front of a major audience. If Cudi sticks to his guns, he'll always be great in my book. - Robert Martin

Kid Cudi, the Brian Eno of hip hop, seems convinced that the less direction his music has, the better it will turn out. Each song seemed to stretch on for about two minutes too long last night and I was stunned when I checked my phone during "Pursuit Of Happiness" and realized he had only been on for 40 minutes. Maybe it was just fatigue after a long day in the sun. The sizable crowd seemed to be digging his set but we took it as a cue to beat them to the exit, excited to ditch the umbrella we uselessly carried around all day and prepare for a clear-skied final day at the fest. - Katie Karpowicz

Read our day one recap here.