Photo: Jeff Min

In this special edition of our STREETSIDE column, writer Jeff Min spotlights each consecutive day of Chicago’s annual North Coast Music Festival with the most lyrically memorable act found.


Day two of North Coast threatened to start out much like day one did, but by the time afternoon rolled around the rain had subsided, the clouds broke, and heat became the prevailing force. The humidity was like an anchor around the necks of concertgoers, and things got off to an understandably slow start. It took a rousing set from the Porn and Chicken DJs to shake the crowd free of its shackles.

When they announced their hit song “Take Your Shirt Off” it was like a crate full of Girls Gone Wild DVDs had exploded on stage, which believe it or not, is not as enticing as it sounds.

In was pretty tacky. But what would you expect? Maybe it was just seeing it all unfold in the light of day that made it so. Nevertheless they did achieve a purpose by knocking the cobwebs clear out the heads of the early risers, which paved the way for Meechy Darko, Zombie Juice and Erick Arc Elliot,t a.k.a. the Flatbush Zombies.

The set started simple enough, with Juice emerging from backstage like a little hobgoblin looking to snatch up a goat or two. He roused the crowd with a few simple hand gestures and within moments he was joined by Meechy and Erick for “MRAZ.” Meechy broke first and offered a brief description of his style: [LISTEN]

"MRAZ"

It was a proper introduction especially for the crumbs left over from the Porn and Chicken set – the ones too blasted to move from their spot.

The crowd was slightly aloof at first, which resulted in a few furrowed brows and a meager exodus, but that didn’t stop Flatbush from moving forward like a, well, flesh eating zombie. Meechy, Juice and Erik turned the crowd over on energy alone, taking a break only to pull from a blunt.

That sort of enthusiasm and brash, bugged out tomfoolery was in stark contrast to the Easy Mo Bee stylings of Aloe Blacc who was playing not more than 100 yards away. By the time they came around to their freestyle via MTV RapFix the crowd was eagerly eating man-flesh out of their half rotten palms: [LISTEN]

At the midpoint of their set the Zombies ran into the crowd and started and impromptu mosh pit. Meechy and Erik towered over folks while Juice was a powerful midget breaking bones in his own right. All the while a cloud of smoke following them wherever they went: [LISTEN]

An hour didn’t seem like enough time for the Zombies yet they managed to squeeze as much out of it as possible. They were able to rouse a sluggish crowd into thinking on their terms, which can be embodied in one gesture, on one hand, and with one finger. But ultimately it was Meechy who said it best, “I talk a lot of bullshit. But all I’m looking for is for you to open your mind. That’s it. That’s all I want.” Mission accomplished.

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