Derrick Carter Credit: iamdonte

A celebration of the heretofore hypothetical territory where rappers, jam bands, and electro producers meet, the North Coast Music Festival has built an identity distinctive enough to stand out amid Chicago’s bulging music-fest ecosystem. Most such gatherings act as little more than tour stops for the marquee names who spend their summers playing every single one, and in its eighth year North Coast hasn’t exactly refrained from throwing its net in that pool—the dregs of the 2017 lineup include unexceptional hip-hop jester Lil Dicky. But North Coast’s exciting pop cross-pollination (and its investment in Chicago’s scenes) comes through unalloyed in the DJ tent, which bends toward different genres depending on the day: Friday focuses on house, Saturday on bass sounds, and Sunday on hip-hop. The first and last days include some of the strongest performers at the whole fest. On Friday, local retro-­funk crew Boogie Munsters get cranking early, with Chicago house heroes Gene Farris and Derrick Carter closing out the proceedings. Sunday features plenty of hip-hop DJ luminaries who deserve to be on bigger stages, including veteran Jesse de la Peña (who spins with Dirty MF), Closed Sessions affiliate Rude One, and early Chance the Rapper collaborator and contemporary Chicago nightlife fixture Stefan Ponce. While North Coast offers plenty on its big stages, including southern rap hero Gucci Mane, grime star Skepta, and the reunited Cool Kids, the DJ tent offers a great reprieve from all the fest’s lil dickies.   v

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