Photos by Alex Lapenia and Jesse Pizano of Three Card Photography.
North Coast Music Festival 2014 took over Chicago Union Park last weekend as thousands of people came to see some of the world’s best EDM and hip hop acts perform their greatest hits. Labor Day weekend set the perfect stage for festival goers as the 5th Annual North Coast was looking to be a big success. Friday was a beautiful day as the sun came out from the cloudy skies to drench the stages waiting for the likes of Keys N Krates, ProbCause, Showtek, Alesso, Bassnectar, and many more to perform. Saturday and Sunday continued the party with performances from Adventure Club, Nicky Romero, STS9, Talib Kweli, Little Dragon and Kid Cudi on Saturday, and Porn and Chicken, Riff Raff, Ookay, Zeds Dead, and Snoop Dogg closing on Sunday.
Read on as Alex and Jesse share their recap from North Coast Music Festival Day 2.
A little background info on Smiirk: he won a contest to perform at North Coast, which is pretty impressive considering I BELIEVE he’s only 16 or 17 years old, and I’m pretty sure there was quite a fair amount of people who participated in said contest in order to be one of the acts. Now, with that being said, his set was pretty dull. I think it was a mixture of his version of “Deep House” and the fact that he’s relatively new to the festival scene, so no one really knew who he was. The talent is obviously there for Smiirk. I think he needs to work on how he presents himself on stage; he was a little shy and timid, and at times, didn’t seem like he knew how to react. If you’re not enthusiastic on stage, your crowd won’t get enthusiastic. I’m just not sure Deep House was the way to go at North Coast. – Alex Lapenia
Milk N Cookies
Milk N Cookies, twin brothers from Chicago brought over the Post-Bro House movement Saturday. They brought a variety of new and old songs that were definite crowd-pleasers. With each track they played their popularity grew exponentially. They had this EDM scene bursting to life through such of a lively mix of bumping electronic beats and techno rhythms for the entire hour. While these guys are definitely on the bro half of the music scene, it’s clear that they have a true passion for music and I’m excited to see what they do next. – Jesse Pizano
Leading up to North Coast, I took a look at a lot of acts to try and piece together who I wanted to see at what stage. I stumbled upon J-Phlip’s Facebook page and this was what is listed as her genre: “…acid booty-tech bass and beyond,” and if that doesn’t pique your interest slightly, then I don’t know what will. I’m still not sure what “Acid Booty-Tech Bass and Beyond” sounds like, but she brought some major tunes with her. She was in her own little world up on that stage, in the zone and focused. She knew the crowd was digging her set, she would peek up here and there and flash a bit of a smile, to me it seemed rare in the amount of time I watched and shot her set. It was very impressive and I’m very glad I took the time to watch her, she’ll be big really soon. – Alex Lapenia
Cashmere Cat’s music is magical mixing pop elements, electronic, hip hop and even some jazz that had the crowd fist pumping. He brought some Jersey club remixes from Juicy J, Lana Del Rey, and “Party Girls” a track he produced for major talent Ludacris, Wiz Khalifa and Jeremih. Cashmere saved his most danceable mixes to close out his set “Bugatti” and “Swimming Pools”. What he lacked in stage presence he made up for in technical prowess and imaginative 8-bit beats when it suited him. – Jesse Pizano
This was a very interesting performance to witness. Future Islands wasn’t on my radar for North Coast. I happened to be walking by and the sound of a guitar and bass was a little foreign to me after seeing mostly hip hop and EDM DJs all festival. As far as the music is concerned, I really liked it. I wouldn’t agree that they’re a pop band by any means, but if I had to describe it, it was a weird mixture of H.I.M. as far as lyrics go with an upbeat kind of rhythm to it with some screamo/grunting to boot. As far as the performance goes, it was strange. There was a lot of throat grabbing and kneeling, followed by jumping, windmilling his arm, and kicking, and it was very strange. Would I see it again? Absolutely, because no matter how strange it was, it was pretty damn entertaining too. – Alex Lapenia
Hip hop heads got more than what they bargained during hip hop veteran Talib Kweli performance Saturday afternoon. Talib performed with a simple setup: the standard two-turntable DJ and a microphone for himself. Performing some tracks off his recent album “Prisoner of Conscious” the older Talib songs from his Black Star days were the best part of his set. He closed out with one of his biggest hits “Get By” which got a response from the crowd. Talib Kweli is on top of his game, he is a down to earth and humble performer that wants to enlighten and educate as long as he can. – Jesse Pizano
Adventure Club sure does know how to tear a festival up. The entire area from the stage to the nosebleeds in the back was electric. It was simply stunning to see so much eagerness and anticipation to see an act with the crowd chanting their name and becoming restless. Their set was filled with intense build ups, crazy drops, and sultry female vocals, as Adventure Club is known for. If you’re an aspiring DJ and dream of playing festivals and selling out shows, you should take a page out of these guys playbook – that’s how good they are at what they do. The Canadian Dream Team never fails to put on a nonstop dance rager, and if they were given the opportunity I’m sure they would have played until the sun came out. – Alex Lapenia