Sadly, the clock is counting down on an unseasonably cool summer. On the upswing though, that means that "summer's last stand" draws nearer. North Coast Music Festival, held in Union Park over Labor Day weekend, continues to be Chicago's most eclectic music festivals and one of the last chances you'll have to dance under the clouds this year.
This writer was especially impressed with North Coast's lineup this year. What started as a mostly electronic music festival four years ago has morphed into a weekend eager to please music fans with tastes spanning the spectrum from blues to trap to rap and back.
We know everybody has their own personal tastes though. So you're not into hip hop? Not a basshead? Totally cool. There's plenty more for you check out. Let me break it down for you...
If you can't resist the sound of a dropping bass... As always, North Coast has put together a solid collection of electronic dance music artists to perform this year. Dutch radio pop hit maker Afrojack - playing Saturday night -- is among the bigger names. Get an introduction to trap music with RL Grime on Friday. Bask in Gramatik's heavy hip hop and R&B influences on Saturday. Or get the party started with bass-heavy hell raiser Datsik on Sunday. Whatever you do, don't miss Big Gigantic's headlining set on Saturday. Live drums and saxophone give this electronic duo an added boost in the performance department.
If you're a hip hop head... Old meets news this year at the Coast. Quick-spitting, smart alecky rapper Danny Brown (performing Sunday) and bro-ed out party anthem creator Mac Miller (performing Friday) are two of the hottest names in rap's freshest crop of competitors and are worth checking out. However, they pale in comparison to the oldschool acts North Coast has lined up for Labor Day weekend. Queens, New York's finest Nas takes the stage on Saturday and the mighty Wu-Tang Clan come together to perform 36 Chambers Sunday night.
If you're into jamming... North Coast attendees -- or "Coasties" are they're endearingly called -- all definitely fans of the jam bands. Most notably this year headliners The Disco Biscuits and Lotus will wind down the festival on Friday and Sunday, respectively, with some improvised rocking. Rebelution (performing Saturday) mix acoustic rock with reggae rhythms. If you want to check out some electronically infused jamming a la STS9, try Future Rock, Zoogma and The Werks on for size.
If you've got the funk... There's a cure for that. Blues music and funk is something that North Coast's lineup has subtle success with year after year as well. Buzzed about singer/songwriters Aloe Blacc (Saturday) and Gary Clark Jr. (Sunday) are a couple of my most anticipated for this year. Poolside (Sunday) have breezy melodies but bass lines thick and fiery enough to rock you to the core. On the local scene, funk collective The Heard have been making waves as of late.
If you just like to dance... We don't have to tell you that Friday's headliner Passion Pit will put some pep in your step. You'll also find musical solace earlier in the day with Capital Cities and AlunaGeorge. And though they've got a bit more of an indie, experimental feel Purity Ring on Sunday might also get your hips swaying.
North Coast Music Festival goes down August 30 through Sept. 1 in Union Park. Three day passes are sold out but single day tickets for all three days are still on sale for $55 a piece.