Chicago’s now-annual Labor Day Weekend gathering, North Coast Music Festival, is right around the corner, with Grant Park once again ready to play host for the celebration falling from September 1st through 3rd. North Coast already boasts an enviable and diverse lineup, pulling some beloved names from the electronic, jam, hip-hop, and reggae scenes and beyond for one of their most eclectic and can’t-miss lineups to date. Given its lineup, the festival itself is already set up to be quite an experience in its own right, with its internationally renowned headliners—Deadmau5 & Eric Prydz, STS9, Primus, Ween, Gucci Mane, Bonobo, Damian Marley, Carnage, Tipper, and Big Boi—drawing just as many fans as its stacked down bill, which includes Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Bob Moses, Ganja White Noise, Autograf, Lettuce, BadBadNotGood, Tank and the Bangas, SunSquabi, Spafford, The Russ Liquid Test, and Manic Focus, just to name a few. (Ticket for North Coast Music Festival are available here.)
However, the festivities in Chicago won’t end once the music stops at Grant Park. There are a number of official after-parties planned to keep the party going each night. We’ve decided to give you the inside scoop on a few of our favorites, and we’ll see you there!
Friday — Manic Focus & Russ Liquid at Bottom Lounge
Originally from the Twin Cities but based in Chicago, John “JmaC” McCarten, better known as electronic producer Russ Liquid, is known for his dynamic sound that perfectly synthesizes soul, dubstep, hip-hop, blues, funk, and more. Over the past few years, the producer has been blowing up as a must-see live act, with his shows always offering his patented hard-hitting bass lines juxtaposed with thrilling vocal samples pulled from a wide range of genres. As the years have gone by, Manic Focus has continued to be on the forefront of innovation, frequently enhancing his performances with live instrumentation, including frequent collaborator, drummer Jacob Barinholtz, in addition to special cameos from the likes of Big Gigantic’s Dominic Lalli, GRiZ, and The Floozies’ Matt Hill.
For this special Friday performance at Bottom Lounge, Manic Focus will team with Russ Liquid (a.k.a. Russell Scott), the electronic producer and classically trained pianist, saxophonist, flutist, and trumpeter. Russ Liquid in his own right is something special, heading the electrofunk powerhouse The Russ Liquid Test, which sees Scott joined by guitarist Andrew Block and drummer Deven Trusclair. As collaborators on GRiZ’s All Good Records, Russ Liquid and Manic Focus share a common sense of musicality and interest in pushing the boundaries of electronic music as its known today. Listen to Manic Focus’ “Habit” featuring Russ Liquid below to get a taste of what’s to come on Friday night, and swoop your tickets here.
Saturday — Spafford at Concord Music Hall
Spafford is undoubtedly one of the biggest rising stars on the jam scene right now. Since the group’s inception in Prescott, Arizona, in 2009, the quartet featuring Brian Moss (guitar/vocals), Jordan Fairless (bass/vocals), Andrew “Red” Johnson (keys/vocals), and Cameron Laforest (drums/percussion/vocals) has been on a non-stop upward musical trajectory, with this past year or so seeing the group support Umphrey’s McGee, headline their own national tour, and consistently rise higher and higher on the numerous festival bills they’ve been featured on this summer. Known for their wildly diverse sound, tight transitions, and attention to extended jams, the group has become a sweetheart of the jam scene, and people can’t get enough of them.
In fall of last year, Spafford made their debut in the city of Chicago after fans across the country called for the group to leave the Southwest and make their way east. For the Chicago debut in September of 2016, the group quickly sold out The Tonic Room, leaving many eager fans boxed out of their Chicago debut and forcing the group to add a second show last minute to keep up with demand. In April of this year, the group came back to Chicago, similarly selling out the show coming off of a number of sold-out performances in Denver, Phoenix, and beyond. The Windy City clearly can’t get enough of these up-and-comers and tickets will undoubtedly move fast, so make sure to grab your tickets here before it’s too late.
Sunday — STS9 at Concord Music Hall
STS9 really doesn’t need any introduction. The jamtronica heavyweights are headlining North Coast Music Festival on Saturday night and have been a huge name in the scene for the majority of the two decades they’ve been together since the group’s inception in Georgia in the late 90’s. Their list of festival experiences and sold-out venues is expansive, and pretty much all fans in our scene are familiar with Sound Tribe Sector 9 in some capacity. While the group has a longstanding history and a dedicated fan base already, Tribe is particularly on fire this year as they round into their 20th year. They’ve been sounding tighter than ever, and just last week, the group released a brand-new single, “Real & Imagined,” which was recorded during the Artifact sessions, a period of time between 2001 and 2004 that eventually bore STS9’s critically acclaimed and beloved 2005 album.
While the group will be front and center at North Coast on Saturday, fans who want to get a second helping of the innovative five-piece outfit will get the chance on Sunday night, when STS9 hits Concord Music Hall for a more intimate performance than their festival appearance offers. You can snag tickets to STS9’s Sunday hit at Concord Music Hall here.
You can find the daily schedule and a limited supply of 3-Day, VIP and single day tickets for North Coast Music Festival on the event’s website here. You can also check out the full line-up for official North Coast after-parties below.
Manic Focus & Russ Liquid – Bottom Lounge – Tickets available HERE (17+)
Eric Prydz – the MID – Tickets available HERE (21+)
Gucci Mane – Prysm Nightclub – Tickets available HERE (21+)
Spafford – Concord Music Hall – Tickets available HERE (18+)
EOTO – Bottom Lounge – Tickets available HERE (17+)
Don Diablo – the MID – Tickets available HERE (21+)
Carnage – Prysm Nightclub – Tickets available HERE (21+)
STS9 – Concord Music Hall – Tickets available HERE (18+)
Destructo – the MID – Tickets available HERE (21+)
Elephante – Sound-Bar – Tickets available HERE (21+)
Porn and Chicken – NCMF Official Closing Party ft. Special Guest TBA – the MID – Tickets available HERE (21+)