Jamiroquai Ends North Coast With Pure Funkadelic Vibes

It was a night to remember. Music history in the making. And the grooviest send-off to summer that’s still got us moving. Jamiroquai’s triumphant return to Chicago capped the North Coast Music Festival with one epic dance party. Still basking in the glow from their dazzling Coachella debut—their first show in the U.S. since 2005—the British jazz-funk band with frontman Jay Kay proved Jamiroquai reigns supreme with soul-infused music for all generations.

Jamiroquai’s electrifying performance was a big win for the three-day music festival, drawing perhaps the most diverse crowd of Attendees to come along in this festival’s nine years. Gen X and Y danced to the funky rhythms with Boomers and kids in tow. This was a moment for humankind to come together and celebrate. Even Mother Nature cooperated. After lightning in the area forced evacuations in Union Park during the first two nights of performances, North Coast Music Festival organizers invited Friday and Saturday single ticketholders to return Sunday. And they did.

The crowd went wild when Kay took the stage, donning a hi-tech headpiece that changed color as he danced his way through the band’s groovy takeover of Summer’s Last Stand.

Making good on his promise—“It’s been a long time. It’s great to see you again. We’ll catch up from where we were.”—an enchanting Kay churned out Jamiroquai hits like “Cosmic Girl” and “Space Cowboy” and mixed it up with the new, including “Shake It On” from 2017’s Automation, the band’s eighth studio album that explores the impact of technology on human interaction.

Afro-Latin infused “Use the Force” from Traveling Without Moving incited a dance party in the park, and offered a showcase for just how tight the band’s music-making geniuses are, with the commanding Kay leading the way. Kay reminded us that Jamiroquai makes much more than great dance music. A rousing rendition of “(Don’t) Give Hate a Chance” from 2005’s Dynamite left the crowd cheering for love and peace.

Nearing the hour mark into the 90-minute set allowed by park regulations, Kay was non-stop. “I’m more of a two-hour-and-ten-minute guy—I’m just getting warmed up!”—and continued to heat up the summer night with out-of-this-world instrumentals and soul-stirring messages. Jamiroquai left us dancing with an epic finale of “Canned Heat” with the enough spark to warm us all year.

Kay thanked Chicago. But the real thank you goes to Kay and Jamiroquai. Sure, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen them perform live in the U.S. But they’ve been with us all along. They’ll be around for the next generation. And beyond.


By: Cathy DeRonne

Photos: @clarkstcollective