Inside the 2021 North Coast Immersive Music Festival – EDM.com
In describing the return of the North Coast Music Festival, “out of this world” seems to be the dominant ideology. And the good one.
Not only was the lineup for the 2021 edition of the festival ready to deliver a special experience, but so was the venue and its production. From the “Chill Dome”, where you can relax and stroll through immersive works of art; at “Void”, a centrifuge of light and sound at the epicenter of the festival, the grounds were filled with entertainment to stretch the corners of the mind.
Day one was filled with overlapping schedules, but who could complain about such stacked programming?
The Canopy vibrated with the best sounds of Dirtybird, including label co-founder Claude VonStroke. It was hard to take eyes and ears from Wakaan’s takeover in Vega, where Luzcid, Champagne Drip, LSDREAM, Manic Focus and Liquid Stranger, among others, filled the evening’s time slots. Bringing the darkness of the night, LSDREAM went all out with psychedelic visuals providing a mind-blowing experience.
The clouds then opened up as the rain fell during Manic Focus’s set, creating a sparkling effect on the stage from the light passing through it. He then dropped songs from all of his massive discography, including a bass rendition of “Flight of the Bumblebee”.
Whethan delivered retro dance vibes with 80s-inspired disco sounds and visuals as the stadium filled up for headliners San Holo, Kaskade and Louis The Child. The latter hit all of their classics and also performed a highly anticipated new collaboration with Skrillex, which features mellow vocals and a dark house drop. Kaskade wrapped up the first day as his seminal dance hymn “Disarm You” blared through the night. He also turned on the heat and moved on to some of his new music – the punch could really be felt as everyone chanted “Pow Pow Pow”.
The second day was simply spectacular. The Vega scene had a different vibe this time around, with the melodic styles of Sultan + Shepard, Qrion, and Lane 8, among many others. The Canopy was set up for the dance, where Chicago’s Green Velvet took control of “La La Land”. The star of this scene, however, was Dom Dolla, who stole the show at sunset. If you weren’t already moving and grooving, his groundbreaking hit “Take It” got everyone on their feet in a moment of sheer bliss.
As if it was possible to miss him in a crowd, Shaquille O’Neal (or DJ Diesel), came to roar like Superman himself for a huge set. His larger than life personality was felt through his music as he got the crowd pounding. It is clear why the bass music scene has welcomed him with open arms. NGHTMRE came next, mixing dubstep and trap like the electronic virtuoso he is. Not to mention his roots, he performed his 2015 single “Street” for his OG fans.
After NGHTMRE ended, the crowd started to stir before Ganja White Night took to the stage for what was an interdimensional ride. If the crowd didn’t come for the swings, it was easy to be entertained by the stunning visuals that synced perfectly with their deep bass music. The duo put together a symphonic performance like no other in one of the North Coast’s best performances.
The dark, visceral sounds of Ganja White Night prepared the crowd for the polychromatic world of GRiZ’s imagination. After an opening saxophone solo and some older jams, he immersed himself in his new album, Rainbow brain. Each song felt bigger than the last and it was a performance for ages, perfectly encapsulating the vibrant brand and community that it has cultivated over the years. Every laser, light, horn and note had a purpose, hitting with resounding awe.
Day three featured a host of sets from electronic music superstars, such as Tycho, Bonobo and TESTPILOT, the techno alias of deadmau5. As the evening turned to night, Vega saw the likes of John Summit and Sonny Fodera, whose light, cutting rhythms set the stage for Walker & Royce to burn down the house.
More at Stadium, Nora En Pure led a windy crowd into the golden hour with her wonderful sound before Chris Lake flipped the switch with anthems like “Operator (Ring Ring)”. As darkness set in, REZZ transformed the stadium into the far side of the moon. With a spooky vibe and heavy bass, she took control of the crowd, owning her title of Space Mom. Not to mention the surprise visit of deadmau5, who joined her to present a captivating performance of “Hypnocurrency”.
Heading the weekend’s final, Zeds Dead did not disappoint. Bending a number of their classics, the set felt like a tribute to time lost during the pandemic.
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