The last day of The North Coast Music Festival is over, and I survived three days of naked glittering torsos, Camelbak packs as far as the eye could see, furry knee-high boots, neon tutus and stumbling, semi-coherent concert goers. Would I do again? Hell yes.
Paper Diamond was the first act I caught. His music is an interesting mix of driving beats with electronic and house melodies. It reminded me a little of 90s trip-hop, but with more energy. He’s working on a new EP with the label Pretty Lights Music, and what I heard from it was great.
On a friend’s recommendation I stayed for part of Latyrx‘s set, a hip-hop duo that also employed a DJ and drummer for this performance. They’re from Oakland, and to me their sound had the bay area vibe of laid-back, soul and funk influenced hip-hop. If you’re into that sort of thing, I think they would be perfect accompaniment to Labor Day barbecues!
After Latyrx I checked out Loyal Divide at the local stage, having heard them last week on this blog. The formula of each song seemed to be as follows: pounding electronics, then an atmospheric guitar riff layered in, followed by overpowering, sometimes screeching vocals. Oh, and they had a sax player, which gave it a creepy, David Lynch vibe that I dug. I actually really enjoyed this set, when the singer wasn’t screaming out of key. His softer, gentler voice was a little Thom Yorke mixed with Hamilton Leithauser (of The Walkmen). If you like Foals or Battles then you should definitely look up Loyal Divide.
The next few hours were a blur of ATB, Of Montreal, Gogol Bordello, Benny Benassi and Bassnectar. What sticks out to me now is firstly Of Montreal: I’ve seen them before but their live show always amazes me. They had (in no particular order): balloons, an inflatable row-boat for crowd surfing, WWE-style wrestlers, dancers with augmented body parts, and shiny silver women with wings. I wondered how they played such a solid set with all that happened around them. Of Montreal ended with a fiddle tribute to America that had the audience square dancing. Awesome. Their 70s and 80s influenced pop-rock wasn’t exactly my style, but they were completely entertaining.
Benny Benassi was amazing. I’m not even into house music that much, but he combines it with dubstep and who knows what else in a way that had the crowd freaking out. It was so packed at the Red Bull Grove Stage during his set that I could barely get close enough to lose the bleed-through from the other stages. I am finding his future shows and attending, stat.
And then there was Bassnectar. His music is sick (do people still say that?) and intensely bass-laden, but he somehow still comes across as wholesome. He’s like the vegan surfer next door who is secretly a chess champion, but if you ask him about it he’ll say it’s not a big deal. Bassnectar humbly accepted the duty of closing out the festival, and then amazed us all for an hour and a half. What a great way to end the weekend!