Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Forecastle Festival: Sunday

The last day of Forecastle proved to be just as awesome as the first two - but any festival that ends with Wilco is going to be one that I love. Thanks again to Forecastle for an incredible weekend.  See you next year! (If you haven't seen my Friday and Saturday post on Forecastle, click on the days to take a look!)

Favorite festival discovery? Mr. Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires. Oh my God is this man amazing! If you love soul music - and I'm talking about REAL soul music (Otis Redding, James Brown, etc.), then take a second to check him out. 

Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires 

Patrick Hallahan sighting!  The My Morning Jacket drummer appeared while I was watching Charles Bradley and it took everything in me not to run up and hug him.

That's an owl. 

Trippy art. 

Chicago's own Fruit Bats had a great Forecastle set. Eric Johnson (former guitarist for The Shins) is the driving force behind this solid folk rock band - and it's fun to note that he was once a guitar instructor at the Old Town School of Folk Music. He's in the white shirt.

 Fruit Bats

After the Fruit Bats, I caught a little bit of Gramatik's set and was impressed. He does a good job of fusing hip hop, jazz, and funk into his beats. He recently signed with the Pretty Lights Music Label and is worth a listen.

Indie rock legend Neko Case played her country lullabies to the crowd at sunset and once again reminded me why she is so well respected in the musical community. Neko is one talented lady.

Beats Antique was one of the better acts of the entire weekend. They are crazy live: there's belly dancing, weird costumes, cool instruments, electro-world beats, and serious dancing. I highly recommend.

Beats Antique

My boyfriends - Jeff, Nels, Glenn, John, Pat, and Mikael - finished off the wonderful weekend of music. The setlist was killer (they opened with "Poor Places" followed by "Art of Almost" - fellow Wilco nerds will understand) and for the first time ever, I left a music fest wishing there were more days. Cheers, Forecastle!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Forecastle Festival: Saturday

Thunderstorms early in the day attempted to spoil some of the Forecastle fun on Saturday, but the organizers did a great job of pushing back band start times so the rain could pass. I got a pretty lazy start to the day, so I ended up missing a few bands I was looking forward to seeing. Fortunately I'll be able to catch a couple of those acts at Lollapalooza next weekend. Upon arrival, I decided to wander through the "Louisville Village" and "Sustainable Living Roadshow" areas, both of which were pretty cool. One aspect of Forecastle that I really loved was how interactive it was - you could paint, you could play cornhole, you could play video games, you could participate in a skee-ball tournament, you could interact with live art installations, etc. The festival not only encouraged you to enjoy the music and talents of others, but it encouraged you exhibit your own creativity and abilities. (Didn't check out my Forecastle Friday post? Check it out here.) Stay tuned for my Forecastle Sunday post!

Just one of the many art vendors. I was particularly drawn to the portrait of Jesus drinking a PBR and smoking a cigarette.

While wandering around, I caught Adventure Club. He's a new but already popular name in the dubstep scene and I found myself bouncing along to a few of his tracks.

I LOVE Andrew Bird. Seriously. I love this man and his gorgeous music. And there is nothing more beautiful than an Andrew Bird sunset concert on the Ohio River. I've seen him multiple times and he never, ever gets old live.

The "Sustainable Living Roadshow and Forecastle Foundation" area

 Palm reading, anyone?

Forecastle attendees certainly tagged the shit out of this. 

A Saturday highlight for me was Washed Out. I was expecting to just see the man behind the name, Ernest Greene, but was pleasantly surprised that he now has a full touring band with him. The band really helped to make his lo-fi, chillwave tunes not just something to listen to, but something to see. I'm a huge fan of electronic musicians who are able to do more than just stand behind their Mac and turntable and actually play instruments live (SBTRKTCaribou, etc.).

Girl Talk throws a party every show. He (Gregg Gillis) brings a ton of people on the stage to bounce around him as he spins mashup after mashup. He gets everyone dancing - and watching the crowd during his set is always fun.

Headliners, Forecastle curators, and Louisville legends, My Morning Jacket, rocked the waterfront for 2.5 hours on Saturday night. They are one of my favorite bands, so to see them live in their hometown for the first time was seriously magical. They are one of the best live bands out there. During their set, my camera started to give me some problems, so I just put it away and enjoyed being in the moment. For better shots of the band, check out some of my photos from their 2010 Chicago show at Northerly Island.

Dean Wareham came on stage with MMJ for a gorgeous cover of George Harrison's "Isn't it a Pity." (Wareham is in the red shirt. Mr. Jim James - musical genius extraordinaire - is behind him.)

 Andrew Bird also made a surprise guest appearance during MMJ's set. Two of my favorites together on one stage - what a way to finish off the day!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Forecastle Festival: Friday

The Pitchfork Music Festival is one of my summer highlights year after year, so choosing to head out of town during it to check out another fest, the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, was not an easy decision. However, the decision was made easier given that the Forecastle lineup was completely awesome, largely due to the fact that hometown heroes, My Morning Jacket, helped to curate this year's festival. So, was it worth it? Emphatically: YES. Simply put, Forecastle is, in my opinion, the biggest hidden gem of a music fest in the country. Bold statement? I don't think so - and I will devote my next three posts (one for every day of the fest) to showing you why I'll be returning to Louisville in order to get my Forecastle fix for years to come.

Aside from the music, Forecastle showcased Kentucky. It gave local establishments opportunities to share their art, sell their crafts, promote their causes, and feed the attendees. We'll see more of that in my upcoming posts, but I had to begin where I began Forecastle: at the bourbon lodge. It was love at first sight.

All bourboned up, I kicked off my musical weekend with Brooklyn's Tanlines (pictured: Jesse Cohen). 

Tanlines (pictured: Eric Emm) has a indie rock/dance vibe. Promising sound.

Louisville locals, Nerves Junior, was a band on my radar before Forecastle so I was looking forward to checking them out. Apparently they've had some recent, um, personnel changes, but I was impressed regardless. They remind me of Radiohead, which I think is a major compliment (to say the least). Take a listen to their awesome debut album by clicking here.

Nerves Junior (pictured: Christopher Snow)

The Head and the Heart fans

The Head and the Heart put on a really beautiful show. Lots of harmonizing, lots of folk instruments, lots of ladies grooving in the audience, and at one point, Ben Sollee offered up his cello skills for a song. 

I'm guessing his girlfriend dragged him to The Head and the Heart.

Atlas Sound (Bradford Cox) is always amazing. For more on him, check out my photos/brief review of his show at Lincoln Hall in March.

Another Forecastle bonus? The setting. Pretty incredible, especially at sunset. Right on the Ohio River. 

There were graffiti artists creating art all weekend long. It was really neat to watch - and every time I walked by the area there was a different scene unfolding on and off the canvases.

Minnesota's Atmosphere brought their old school hip hop (and some new stuff, too!) to the main stage on Friday evening. The crowd dug it and so did I. 

Beach House put on their typical dreamy set at sunset. Their music makes you want to lay in a hammock and stare at the clouds...or make out with someone. It's gorgeous.

Beach House (pictured: Alex Scally)

Beach House (pictured: Victoria Legrand)

Sleigh Bells was my Friday surprise. Having seen them a couple times previously, I thought I knew what I was in for when they walked on stage. However, they put on their most impressive performance yet (at least that I've seen). It was a hardcore, head-banging, crowd-surfing hell of a show.

 Sleigh Bells (pictured: Derek Miller)

Sleigh Bells (pictured: Alexis Krauss)

I adore Flying Lotus so he was a clear festival highlight for me. Chill beats on a hot night.

 Bassnectar finished off day one of Forecastle with some serious - you guessed it - BASS. I literally thought my eardrums were going to bust at one point.