Monday, September 6, 2010

North Coast Music Fest 2010 part one: The Coop, Loyal Divide, Phantogram

Posted by Frank

Phantogram's Sarah Barthel (photo: Windy City Rock)
This weekend, Chicago made a brand new addition to its already substantial list of summer music festivals.

The inaugural North Coast Music Fest, held in the city's Union Park (the same grounds as the annual July Pitchfork Music Fest), kicked off Friday evening and ended Sunday night. The festival's organizers voiced a goal of bringing together a variety of musical styles and held true to their promise, though there was a definite electro and hip-hop lean to the performances.

I headed down to the park early Sunday afternoon to check out what the final day of the fest had to offer. It was the perfect late summer day for an outdoor musical party - warm, but not sweltering like it usually is for, say, Lollapalooza - and I was interested to see how North Coast would compare to the city's other music fests. Read more and see more photos after the jump.

Upon arriving I noticed that the crowd was pretty sparse, and there was a calm, chilled out atmosphere that was a pretty nice change of pace after having taken in the three-day madness that is Lollapalooza less than one month ago. A small group of people was gathered waiting for The Coop, one of the first acts on the schedule. The instrumental Chicago band came out around 20 minutes late and had to play a shortened set because of it, but even so they served as a perfect representation of what the fest seemed to emphasize - funky electro grooves designed to make you chill out, get loose and dance. I must admit that it's not the type of thing I usually gravitate toward, but the band were talented and I found them enjoyable in this setting.

As soon as The Coop were done, another locally-based band, Loyal Divide, began playing on the stage across the way. While their music included electro elements, their sound featured a harder, more rock-oriented approach and was solid all the way through. The best way to describe them would be "eclectic" - sometimes there was aggressive indie rock, sometimes there was dancey sounds and sometimes there was psychedelia. I had previously heard about the band more than once but was never able to check them out, so I was glad to catch their set and would definitely recommend giving them a listen.

The next act I was able to catch was New York duo Phantogram. They kept the electro theme going strong, but had a more relaxed, chilled out vibe. What stood out most to me were the dreamy vocals of Sarah Barthel, which made the songs extra-captivating.

As the day went on there was a variety of sounds to be heard, from folk rock to soul to hip-hop. Be sure to read my following posts for a rundown of more of the performances.


The Coop

The Coop (photo: Windy City Rock)
The Coop (photo: Windy City Rock)

Loyal Divide

Loyal Divide (photo: Windy City Rock)
Loyal Divide (photo: Windy City Rock)
Loyal Divide (photo: Windy City Rock)


Phantogram (photo: Windy City Rock)


  1. Thanks for the kind words! Unfortunately The Coop's set was cut short due to a city noise ordinance that prevented music from starting until the church across the street let out of mass. This was supposed to happen at 1:00 but did not actually occur until past 1:30. Either way, it was a fun time and we were really thankful that everyone waited it out to see us.

  2. Eyelid Movies from Phantogram is insanely good. I am seriously hungry for another album. Sarah's voice is the best voice I have heard in years.