Originally Appeared on Noisey
“It’s go time! Y’all not acting like it’s go time,” Saba shouts to the people gathered backstage at North Coast Music Festival in Chicago’s Union Park. He turns around with wide eyes, clapping loudly, in a moment of enthusiasm that seems uncharacteristic from the self-professed nerd and career quiet kid. After pacing the distance from his tent to the stage several times, he dips his head and trots up the stairs leading to the stage. As his band goes through sound check, he squints through the stage’s backdrop at the slowly gathering crowd. His feet move up and down, fingertips nervously drumming against his microphone. He holds it tight to his chin. “PIVOT!” he yells, a smile crossing his face as he repeats his clique’s nickname in call and response. “PIVOT” the hundred or so in attendance for the set shout back. Continue reading Saba’s West Side Story Is One Worth Listening To
Photo by Geoff Heano
Day Two of North Coast Music Festival in Union Park went off much smoother than the 2013 debut a day earlier. With the sun finally shining down and the heat pounding festival-goers, things got off to a fast start. Chicago’s own Porn and Chicken got things going with their 2:30 set at the Last Stand Stage, picking up where frat-dance kings Milk n’ Cookies warmed up the stage earlier.
After floating through the following sets and checking out a truly inspired set from Conspirator, I found myself torn between the silky smooth tones of Aloe Blacc, the rough-edged hip hop of Flatbush Zombies and the endearing DJ sounds of Thibault. I ended up making the rounds to each briefly, unfortunately missing most of Flatbush due to simply not being able to navigate the festival properly. Between Bondax, Gramatik, Future Rock and the smattering of EDM/Dance acts on the Tent Stage, the Saturday afternoon air was soon completely inundated with the glitchy sound of digital music. Being a big fan of both Gramatik and Bondax, it was disappointing that organizers pushed so many similar acts together and brought about memories of monotonous EDM festivals of earlier months.
Emerging from the dense electronic jungle, Nas took the North Stage to close it out for the day. The New York MC showed precisely why he is one of the most decorated hip-hop acts in the history of the genre, filling his hour-long set with tracks from his entire discography. Dipping back to Illmatic for timeless hit (“The World is Yours”, “Life’s a Bitch”, “Memory Lane”) and peppering more recent work from several albums (God’s Son, Stillmatic, Life is Good), Nasir Jones put on a show that won’t soon be forgotten at North Coast.
EDM made it’s way back to the stage in two forms to close out Saturday, with Big Gigantic and Afrojack bringing up the rear as the day’s headliners. Jeremy Salken and Dominic Lalli continued their string of impressive Chicago shows by performing their instrumental take on the genre that includes live drums and saxophone, drawing one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. A meet and greet organized through Thissongissick.com kept the pair standing stage-side for hours. For his part, Afrojack held things down, giving fans a grittier dance experience from the other side of the festival grounds and closing out what was easily the biggest day at North Coast for anyone trying to dance.