North Coast Music Festival

With one big, sad, and collective sigh, Lollapalooza is over. As I look around at the faces of Chicago, it is easy to see that the after-lolla depression has sunk in.  Most people have cut off their wristbands and started their countdown calendars for next year.

Woah, pump the breaks. We still have North Coast Music Festival, which runs August 30-September 1.

As it proudly proclaims as "Summer's Last Stand," North Coast offers one of the most diverse lineups over three fun-filled days to end your summer on a high note.

So get your headbands out of the hamper, and throw on some neon as I take you through some of the less-known but must-see acts of The North Coast Music Festival.

Gary Clarke Jr.

A truly talented Texas shredder, Gary Clark Jr. is my top must-see artist. Picking up the guitar at age 12, Gary Clark Jr. fuses old school blues with modern day hip-hop and soul like no-one else. In his budding career, Gary Clark Jr. has already been compared to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaugn. Yes, the Jimi Hendrix and SRV. He can melt your face with mind-numbing guitar solos and sooth you soul with silky-smooth vocal melodies. He is a diverse artist that gives blues the voice it deserves in today's music scene. Do not pass up the opportunity to see him or you really will have the blues.

Just Blaze

Just Blaze is my surprise pick. Although he is in the mind of hip-hop and R&B fans everywhere, he isn't a household name just yet. In the early 2000's he worked alongside Roc-a-Fella's in-house producer, Kanye West, ever heard of him? He's gone on to produce numerous hits for Roc-a-Fella Records, one being Jay-Z's "Girls, Girls, Girls." Just Blaze is a producer that knows how to take classic soul and R&B songs from the 50's and 60's, and mix them into a modern day hit (check out the attached video for an example).

JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound

Bring on the horns! Emerging out of the Second City in 2007, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound know how to bring it like a funk band, sooth you like a soul band, and rock you like a garage band. In fact, they blend all three for a uniquely awesome sound. Jamming out to JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound will surely evoke the memories of Otis Redding and James Brown during the hey-days of both Motown in the 60's and the funk scene of the 70's. So make sure you see them in the 2010's Sunday, September 1.


Up and up and up they go. Cherub had an incredibly busy 2012, and 2013 doesn't seem to be any different. This electro-pop band out of Tennessee can be described in one word: Sexy. As the band's website proudly proclaims: They want to offer honest original music and vibrant live music to share "a little bit of sex, a little bit of drugs, and a whole lot of love with people across the globe." Cherub will keep the entire crowed dancing with their new upbeat sounds. So if you're up to dance it out and share some love, (and let's face it, who isn't?) Cherub is a must see.

Capital Cities

One of the most popular electro-pop bands in today's music scene met, where else, but Craigslist. Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian were both jingle writers and met on Craigslist to produce music for advertising clients. They decided to move on from advertising after a successful three years and created the hip beats and smooth synthesizing Capital Cities we know today. Most of their success came from the single "Safe and Sound" going viral all over the internet, and landing where else, but some more ads. Make sure you take in their poppy melodies and upbeat lyrics this summer.

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