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Photos: North Coast Music Fest Marks A Mellow Close To Summer

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 8, 2015 5:11PM

It seems like North Coast Music Festival is at a transitional time.

It was a mellower time than we expected this year, with lower attendance and a laid back vibe all weekend long, but the crowds that were there definitely enjoyed the breadth and depth of the talent booking. You could wander from one end of Union Park taking in a funky jazz combo, pass another stage exploring uptempo R&B, and end up at the other end of the field bouncing around to some deep house. Genres blended with the only true through-line being a focus on getting bodies moving to a variety of beats.

There were a number of highlights throughout the weekend, and a few of them were rather unexpected. While we would describe Glitch Mobs Friday set as Imagine Dragons meets Stomp—neither of which we particularly care for—this blend actually confounded our expectations to deliver a theatric and energetic body moving experience. And The Chemical Brothers headlining slot on Sunday showed American crowds how DJs behave when delivering a set focused on telling a sonic tale that doesn't depend on bass drops and button pushing.

The absolute highlight of the weekend was the amazing line up Saturday evening though. Macy Gray set the tone in the late afternoon with a sultry set of soul. Then Chromeo followed with a non-stop party of their dance rock and pop, making a solid case for being the current day version of Hall & Oates.

The Roots then delivered a set that defied easy categorization, flipping from hip-hop to jazz to metal (!) all while puling off the stunning act of being the only band to justifiably feature numerous tuba solos. And then D'Angelo took the stage delivering an epic performance that, while still featuring his long and winding R&B compositions, managed to inject the songs with far more James Brown and Prince flourishes than we expected. The only downside to his set was that it even had to end at all.