Festivals can often feel a bit surreal, North Coast is no different. The Saturday crowd was noticeably larger than Friday’s, and my non-scientific estimation is that the median age dropped by three years. Later, I met the bearded, pink-clad Disco Chad, self-described five-night-a-week Chicago karaoke star. He’s at the festival looking for a record deal-Godspeed, Chad. Oh, and by the end of the festival the cops tased a naked guy who was allegedly rubbing his bare ass cheeks on car windshields. But also, in the middle of this strange carnival of neon, they play music here, too.
At opposite ends of the park, the soulful Aloe Blacc and Brooklyn rappers Flatbush Zombies shared the 4:30 p.m. slot. The contrast between the two acts, in particular how they interacted with the crowd, said something about the diversity of acts booked in what, on the surface, may appear to be a one-flavor festival. Blacc, a courteous showman, asked the audience to split down the middle and Soul Train down the aisle (though from where I was standing, I couldn’t if this aisle had actually developed). Flatbush Zombies, on the other hand, didn’t hold back and didn’t want the crowd to hold back, either. The rappers wanted to see “blood and titties” and told the frenzied crowd “Fuck security, light your shit.” There was some interesting battle dancing going on just outside the mosh pit, and I did see three kids get taken away on the medical cart (hopefully unrelated to the battle dancing).
Brooklyn DJ Gramatik played the 6:30 p.m. slot and was joined by headliner Big Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli on the saxophone. The crowd, already anticipating Big G, welcomed the addition and rode Gramatik’s funky bass lines through the end of his set. Following Gramatik was Nas, who took the stage to a huge, roaring crowd (at this point in the night, almost the whole park was one big crowd). Nas played a medley of his biggest hits- “Nasty,” “If I Ruled the World,” “Life’s a Bitch” and more, running through them rapid-fire at about a minute or two per song. Each track transition thrilled the crowd, and reminded me just how many jams Nas has put out in his rap career. In my opinion, best set of the night.
Closing out the night at the main stage was sax-electro Big Gigantic. Big G took the stage after dark, and their lights roaming the sea of people and the flags and sticks that rose from the crowd was really a fantastic sight. Hyping the crowd by sampling Common’s “Chi-City,” they played a fun, enjoyable set.
Check out photographer Molly Geib’s images from day two of NCMF in the gallery below.
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