Forecastle, Day 1

Hey there, internet.  Long time no see!

Here’s some brief recapping of my time at the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, KY, which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite festivals around.  The park isn’t oversold, for one, so there is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy yourself, and you also can still have a pretty good shot at sneaking your way through the crowd during a headliner’s set to get a good view.  Try that at Lollapalooza, friends.

While last year, I came mostly because Andrew Bird was on the bill, this year, I just bought a ticket and hoped the lineup would be excellent.  A lot of bands I don’t know, or have only sort of heard of, sure, but so far I haven’t been let down.

Here’s a brief recap of the first day, now with added photos!

Roadkill Ghost Choir

Roadkill Ghost Choir

I started my day out with Roadkill Ghost Choir, who reminded me a lot of My Morning Jacket, especially with lead singer Andrew Shepard’s vocals.  They had a sound that was half southern rock, half indie-psych-rock.  There was a guy rocking a banjo and a pedal steel, but there were also a lot of guitar riffs and distorted sounds.  Incredibly enjoyable!

The Pimps of Joytime

The Pimps of Joytime

I didn’t have anything else on my agenda for a while, so I wandered around and found myself drawn in by The Pimps of Joytime, playing on the main stage.  Funk is not necessarily always my thing, but, man, outside on a hot summer day, it’s pretty impossible not to find yourself moving to the beat. There were two women playing percussion and singing backing vocals, which was what caught my attention in the first place.  If these people weren’t inspired by Prince to at least some extent, I will eat my shoes.  Their music isn’t the kind of stuff I would have sought out on my own, but I’m definitely going to do so now.

Houndmouth

Houndmouth

Next up were local-to-Louisville indie/folk rockers Houndmouth, who I can’t believe I’ve never heard of before!  They’ve got an awesome sound — they reminded me of The Head and the Heart in a way, especially with the mix of male/female vocals.  I wish I’d discovered them earlier — they’re doing a small aftershow on the Belle of Louisville during the festival and I would have really liked that.  At one point, everyone in the band got up and switched instruments to sing a fantastic cover of “I Shall Be Released”.  It really highlighted the versatility of every member of the band; you’d never know they weren’t playing their primary instruments at all.

Old Crow Medicine Show

Old Crow Medicine Show

After that, I stayed in place at the main stage for Old Crow Medicine Show, who I somehow have never seen before, despite their jam being, well, my jam precisely.  There are legitimate criticisms about them and their music — some of which have been aired right here on this blog — but it is undeniable that they put on one hell of a show.  It’s constant energy from start to finish, and every member has some serious bluegrass chops.  Frontman Ketch Secor is a joy to watch as he runs and dances about stage playing his fiddle, and wails on the harmonica. Also, short of seeing Mumford & Sons at Lollapalooza a few years ago, when they were just starting to get big (*sob* I remember seeing them in a 500-some capacity club and now they’re headliners *sob*), I have never seen so many people — including the dudes next to me unironically wearing shirts for various metal bands — go apeshit over bluegrass.

Fireworks during Young the Giant's set

Fireworks during Young the Giant’s set

I ended my evening by listening to Young the Giant I say “listening” because I was sprawled out on my blanket on an empty stretch of concrete, eating my chili cheese fries and enjoying not being standing.  They make some great indie rock and tried out several new songs for the crowd.  The band reported that they’ve been recording and hope to have a new album out in January.  The crowd was really into it, and their set was punctuated by some fireworks from the riverfront, which made for an awesome end to the day.