Festival Review: Top Sets at North Coast Music Festival 2012

north coast music festival

    Whether it’s the abundance of co-eds, its claim as house music originator, bitter cold winters, ample brew houses, or some incendiary combination, Chicago loves to party during its limited summer months. The chaos of 2012 alone brought the early cancellation of two block parties (West Fest then The Mad Decent Block Party), plus the ban of Chicago production duo Flosstradamus from any more street level Windy City performances. For the third consecutive year, North Coast Music Festival (NCMF) marks the culmination of this season long exuberance, a hedonistic bookend for thousands of college-aged, and younger, revelers set to “YOLO” before returning their attention back to the books. For the sake of us all, let’s hope that sweaty dude with his eyes rolling into the back of his head isn’t planning a career in cardiothoracic surgery.

    Since 2010, NCMF has brought together unique slices of the music spectrum, catering to fans of hype bass, European electro-house, jam-tronica, hip-hop, and select indie rock outfits. But as the Chicago club sound as shifted toward bass music, especially on bills produced by NCMF co-founders REACT, the mid-level and lower talent has become stacked with re-occurring producers. For the festival devout, NCMF 2012 offered very little that Midwesterners couldn’t have seen between festivals already held in Chicago, Michigan, and Wisconsin (Movement, Electric Forest, Spring Awakening, and Summer Set). Although the festival lacked seldom-seen talent or one-off reunions, the park still filled up quicker than a high school cafeteria – abundant in stereotypes from the rave princess to new hippies and lensless eyeglass devotees.

    The majority of the festival ponders to hype, but it does so with a keen eye towards production. Main stage sets never overlap, the Red Bull Stage is custom designed and delivers an intimate experience for some of the biggest names in international dance, and the Dos Equis Stage has become a focal point for the festival’s riskier, up-and-coming talent. For those with enough energy, two silent discos enable the park to hold six total stages of continuous beats.


    The Consequence of Sound team has covered a broad assortment of festival talent for our readers during this festival season, so instead of over-exposing big names, the following is an attempt to identify what is new, bold, and is set to move up the ranks by sticking closely to our festival rules of engagement. Don’t worry; we also captured massive amounts of pictures for the biggest names. Read, and then comment below about “what’s next” from your music library.

    -Derek Staples
    Senior Staff Writer


    Friday, August 31st – Dos Equis Stage – 7:30 p.m.

    This Asheville five-piece outfit is the future of jam-tronica, but due to lengthy technical issues Papadosio took the stage for a mere 30 minutes. In jam band terms, that is approximately three songs. Like festival headliners STS9, Dosio enveloped the crowd in intergalactic group instrumentals. With their new album T.E.T.I.O.S. (To End the Illusion of Separation) on the horizon, the penultimate track was a vocal driven post-rock anthem in the vein of Umphrey’s McGee. Lacking a powerful vocalist, the set hit its peak during the psychedelic interludes between multi-instrumentalist Anthony Thogmartin, keyboardist Billy Brouse, and drummer Mike Healy.