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North Coast 2012 Review

North Coast Music Festival…..Summer’s Last Stand. It is my favorite way to end my summer with music. Even though it is at a smaller venue that Lollapalooza, this festival really kicks a hard punch. With huge names such as Soundtribe Sector 9, Umphrey’s McGee, Pretty Lights, Girl Talk, Knife Party, Big Boi, and Steve Aoki, to name a few, this festival throws down hard. Packed into Union Park on the west side, five stages bring out the best artists and performers. Even though I wish I could have seen every single show, I did have to make a few tough decisions, but here are some of the highlights of the weekend.


Midnight Conspiracy

Midnight Conspiracy brings a new factor to dubstep. Although they did not play within their LED Eye, they still had an amazing LED show going on behind them. They threw down the heavy beats, a great way to start off the first day of the festival with some hard core dancing. They even closed out their set with a soothing electronic remix of The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby that showed off their talents of bringing together different genres to create a massive banger set.


Made up of the two percussionists of The String Cheese Incident, these two really know how to put on a show. Creating different loops and beats, they create an awesome dance party for anyone in attendance. Although they did not play within their specialty lotus flower, they still put on a great show with cool LED panels behind them. The original type of music that they create is so unique, it is quite amazing to even think that these two are in a jam band such as Cheese, it almost doesn’t make any sense. But nevertheless, their music is awesome and their stage presence is so much fun.

Knife Party

Made up of two members of Pendulum from Australia, these two really know how to throw down the heavy banger beats. Beginning their set with Rage Valley, they started off hard getting the crowd super charged for their epic set. Covering a few songs and adding their own dubstep twists to Swedish House Mafia’s Save The World and Antidote, a song they do together with SHM. And playing everyone’s favorites such as Bonfire, Centipede, Internet Friends, which their added a little twist to the now famous beat drop “You blocked me on Facebook, now we’re going to get Fucked Up”, and finishing their set with Destroy Them With Lasers. The whole show was absolutely insane, the crowd was jumping up and down, mosh pits were forming, and some people even had centipedes raised up on poles dancing to the heavy beats.

Soundtribe Sector 9

STS9 started their set off with their intro to the Great Cycle Spectacles. An alien sounding voice addresses the crowd talking about peace and understanding between our earth and space. The visuals resemble a Mayan pyramid and it lights up in different colors. The first song is a Mayan inspired song about the end of the world called 20-12, turning right into one of their newer songs When The Dust Settles right into Arigato. They also played crowd favorites such as Hidden Hand Hidden Fist, Scheme, Vapors, and a new song Awesome which features beats from The Bloody Beatroots. They finished up their set with The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature, bringing an awesome close to the first night of North Coast.



Excision leads the way in drum and bass dubstep. He throws down his own original beats as well as remixes of a few awesome tracks. One of the highlights of his show was a remix of Jibbs’ Chain Hang Low. Everyone knows this track since it is to the same tune as the classic children’s song Do You Ears Hang Low, except obviously this song is about a chain…. “Do your chain hang low, do it wobble to da flo, does it shine in the light, is it platinum is it gold…”


Originating from Minnesota, Atmosphere brings his own midwest hip hop vibe to the festival. His chill rhymes brings joy to all listening, and he brought out some really fun new beats that got everyone bouncing. Even though there was not too much hip hop at this festival, Atmosphere really held his own and put on an awesome show playing all of his best songs off of his albums When Life Gives You Lemons, God Loves Ugly, and others.

The Rapture

This indie-rock band from NYC mixes many genres into their shows. In fact their encore was a rockified remix of Sisqo’s The Thong Song.At first I didn’t even realize what song was playing, because they gave it a completely new sound, but once I started listening to the lyrics I realized that they were in fact bringing it back old school style with a goofy 90s classic. “Let me see that thooooong, baby, that thong th-thong thong thong”

Umphrey’s McGee

This progressive rock jam band from Chicago never ceases to wow the crowd with their interesting blend of rock-n-roll, funk, blues, metal and a little electronica. Playing favorites such as Ocean Billy and Miami Virtue, these guys really rocked the crowd hard as they ended the second night of the festival. They even came out with an encore mixing Puppet String with The Who’s Eminence Front. What an amazing performance.


DJ Solo

Hailing from Buffalo Grove, IL, DJ Solo really knows how to throw down a hard and fun show. Remixing every great song as well as creating his own original beats, Solo drew in a huge crowd at the smaller Dos Equis stage. He even dropped a new song that he did with Umphrey’s McGee, adding a little rock-n-roll to his heavy dubstep beats.


Coming from Colorado, these two producers know how to drop the heavy beats. Just releasing an EP called Supertrail, which is available for free download on their website, this electronic duo premiered all their new songs in Chicago. A few of their new tracks feature Heather Bright including So Bad, More, and We Are The Sun. And the surprised the crowd by mixing in South African rap duo Die Antwoord’s song Fok Julle Naaiers with their new track Senator. Of course they also played the usual favorites such as Dev’s Dancing In The Dark, Lil Wayne’s Dirty Dancer, and their original track I’m In Need.

Big Boi

Bringing the dirty south to the midwest, Big Boi rocked the stage. Playing all of his hit songs, as well as everyone’s favorite Outkast songs, he got everyone in the crowd dancing. ATLiens, Sorry Ms. Jackson, I Like The Way You Move, Bombs Over Baghdad, were only a few of the great hits that he shared with the crowd. His crew on stage was dancing just as hard as the fans, and he put on an amazing performance. Even though North Coast seems to be run by electronic and rock bands, Big Boi held his own bringing the rap flavor to the festival. And he did an amazing job of hyping everyone up before Pretty Lights ended the festival.

Pretty Lights

There could not have been a better way to end the weekend. Colorado Native, Derek Vincent Smith brought down the house with his set Sunday night. Starting off with the Rustified remix of Hot Like Sauce, dropping old tracks such as Sunday School, The Time Has Come, Up And Down I Go, and everyone’s favorite Finally Moving, as well as newer songs like You Get High, We Must Go On, and a remix of the Chicago Bulls Intro getting all of the Chicagoans bouncing along to the beat. He ended his set with the heaviest banger, I Know The Truth.

All in all it was a pretty epic weekend full music, light shows, dancing, and LOTS of totems and flags waving around in the crowd. Everyone who played threw down some pretty amazing sets with fun surprises, funky covers, and old favorites. North Coast has drastically grown since its first year and I can’t wait to see what it has in store for next year. But until then, all we can do is reminisce and watch videos from the experience. Until next year, North Coast, you successfully blew my mind!

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