Day one of NorthCoast heads south of expectations

By Andi Hayes

Associate Editor-In-Chief

When the lineup for NorthCoast Music Festival was released, I was expecting multitudes of DJs and other types of dubstepy-EDM noise groups to be on the bid. What groups I did not anticipate were Passion Pit, Mac Miller (OK, not that surprising considering his target audience; he is considered in the subgenre of “frat rap” by some), Wu Tang Clan, Nas and Common. Now while I had no emotional ties to go buy tickets to see any particular rappers, I was shocked but also pleased that Passion Pit had agreed to play at NorthCoast. However, they weren’t playing any individual band shows in Chicago around the time, so for $30, I figured why not and got me some tickets for Friday of NorthCoast.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy EDM very much. While I may not enjoy it as much as those who seem to follow the EDM-cultish lifestyle (no Kandi was made in this process), I still like listening to the bass drop and hearing DJs throw it down. So, I figured I could still have a somewhat decent time at NorthCoast while I wasn’t seeing Passion Pit. While I might have been part of the minority who were not inebriated or under any type of influence there, the music itself was still fine.

The DJs were pretty good. I saw Laidback Luke and Paper Diamond; the extreme weather conditions had caused the festival to be evacuated and re-entered by festival-goers, and for me to show up late to the event.

What I didn’t quite anticipate from NorthCoast was how old the crowd would be there. Or even how scummy the crowd was. Everyone looked dirty and… scummy. I even heard a few people solicit others as to where they could find cocaine. Yes, cocaine. This was a new experience to me as I have never heard of/seen people taking cocaine at any concerts I had ever been to before (thank you, suburbia).

Compared to Lollapalooza, there were almost no teenagers as much as there were young adults ranging from their 20s to 40s. This added a slight creepy vibe to the atmosphere due to the prevalence of men over women attendees at the event. Another creepy vibe added to the concert was definitely the fact that the festival took place during night at a slightly shady park, Union Park, a fenced-in area with a baseball field and a Loop station.

Enough of the setting of this festival; let’s talk about the fact that Passion Pit did not even play at NorthCoast. Perhaps the biggest upset of my life, lead singer Michael Angelakos announced to his audience that the band’s gear had been destroyed by the day’s extreme rain. However, he announced that the band would still play some music for their fans and still have a good time with them. Staying hopeful, I figured that they would play their own music and still jam out to it, or at least play remixes of their songs.

While they did play some remixes of their songs that barely resembled the originals, they mostly played random EDM songs, as they all hid behind the DJ booth, bouncing their heads and listening to their headphones, occasionally taking them off to walk towards the front of the stage and rev up the crowd.

Slightly pouty and extremely disappointed, I left the show half an hour into it. I had been waiting for an hour to get good spots to see one of my favorite bands, and now they were clicking play on a playlist they had created on someone’s laptop. It might’ve been the most anticlimatic point in my life, but who knows.

What might’ve been more disheartening than Passion Pit not playing might’ve been the crowd who did not seem to notice that the band was indeed, not playing instruments.

Considering that I voyaged all the way to Union Park to see this band, I’d say my NorthCoast experience was a lot more disappointing than I anticipated. I suppose it was only $30, (which went to waste as the event staff didn’t check tickets for the re-entry of festival goers after the storm) but given all of the circumstances of this year’s festival, I probably won’t be returning next year.

I guess I have to wait and see what the lineup is next year to see if any of my favorite bands will be playing.

Oh wait…