As I piled on to the green line el train with neon-clad ravers, frat boys, hipsters and hippies alike, and as confused passersby tried to figure out what was going on, I couldn’t help but grin: North Coast Music Festival 2012 was finally here. North Coast brings every kind of person together; everyone is smiling and friendly, and the air is filled with a collective love of music. Union Park, on the outskirts of the loop in Chicago, went from an empty space to an incredible escape for music lovers over Labor Day Weekend. I decided to forgo the V.I.P area, and instead went into the deepest depths of the sweaty, pulsating crowd, because that is where the magical moments lie. Here are some of this past weekend’s memories compiled in a "Best Of" list.

Most Eclectic/Ominous Set: Everyone at the Red Bull stage put their hands up to form a pyramid while Midnight Conspiracy went through their Illuminati-inspired set. MC dropped huge amounts of bass also while bringing us classics like Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.”

Warmest Chicago Welcome During A Set: “This is our first time in Chicago!” screamed one of the Knife Party guys as the group began its set. I’m sure it won’t be their last, considering the amazing welcome they got from the ecstatic Windy City ravers. Knife Party sent the crowd into turbo mode with their loud, abrasive electro; when they came to their save “Save the World” remix everyone sang along, then broke out into a wild a mosh pit once that famous drop hit. Ending on a high note – “Destroy Them With Lazers” – Knife Party’s debut in Chicago was a resounding success.

Most Surprising Set: Paul Oakenfold is a legend in the game, known for his melodic trance beats. So, when he started off his set with some dirty electro and kept it going throughout his set, it was a true but very welcome surprise.

Best Opening: Giddy Axwell fans piled at the Red Bull stage, waiting to hear Ax to drop his opening beat. Soon, the giant LED screen lit up in blue while a robotic voice asked “Chicago, Are You Ready?” It repeated the question faster and faster and anticipation grew. He finally began his set to an utterly frenzied crowd, and kept the energy high for his whole performance.

Best Daytime Party/Best Hair: Tommy Trash proved that he knows how to not only start a party, but take it to intergalactic levels with beats that seem to get inside your body. As he played favorites like “Cascade” and “Future Folk,” fans could not contain themselves.

Most Emotional Drop: When Alesso played his Sebastian Ingrosso collab “Calling (Losing My Mind),” everyone proceeded to hug the person closest to them and chant/sing along with the signature synths in the uplifting tune. It was a spectacular, euphoric moment.

Most Epically Foggy Set: I have been hearing rave reviews of Girl Talk’s live shows for about five years now but, until this weekend, had never seen him for myself. People around me at the Coast Stage shifted back and forth anxiously, waiting for the mash-up king to hit the stage. Finally, people began to cheer as Gregg Gillis began his set, turning up the energy dial to full blast. Confetti shot out of cannons, rainbows of color flying every which way. Girl Talk ended his set by using the fog machine to end all fog machines. The crowd was engulfed in so much smoke that I thought I was indoors for a split second.

Most Played Song Of The Weekend: There wasn’t a set that I heard that didn't include Dada Life’s "Kick Out the Epic Motherfucker," but the wild synths of the tune never got old.

Most Bass-Tacular Set: Dubstep duo Savoy left no survivors when they dropped some of the weekend's hardest, heaviest bass. Everyone head banged along to the twisting and turning drops that they threw at the crowd.

Most Face-Melting Set: Coming all the way from London, Modestep blasted the crowd with its out-of-control dubstep act. The combination of live dubstep with soulful vocals translates into one hell of a live show. Modestep ended by playing the hit “Sunlight,” just as the sun began to go down.

Best Sing-A-Longs: There is nothing quite like seeing a glowing crowd, fans' heads lifted to the skies, singing their hearts out to a collective favorite track; such was the case when Steve Angello dropped "Save The World" during his performance, and it was truly a chills-inducing moment. Finishing his set with the newest Swedish House Mafia single “Don’t You Worry Child,” Angello worked his magic once again to end the weekend.

Until next time, North Coast!

Photos By: Darkroom Demons, Tamara Susa, & Da Black Swan

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