Oh wow, what a weekend it has been. Waterfront Park saw the conclusion of yet another Forecastle, arguably its best. The bands were bigger and so was the crowd. Sunday closed the festival in a somewhat mild mannered way like it was lying us down after a hard weekend of jamming.
My final day started with The Weeks. They powered through some good, raw, American rock’n’roll. The guitarist’s weapon of choice to the rock battle, a Gibson, was mesmerizing.
I then hit up the Mast Stage for Lucius. I had a feeling their sound would be more powerful live than it is on the record and I was right. Their two lead singers, females who look like they stepped out of Mod era Britain, harmonized perfectly. They were a percussion heavy band, but when the guitar was featured, it made its presence very well known. Oh, and they got some inevitable love from the crowd when they covered My Morning Jacket’s “Wonderful (The Way I Feel).”
Then, I meandered, not particularly with a must see band in the near future. I saw a bit of Sharon Van Etten—couldn’t get into it. I saw a bit of Brett Dennen—couldn’t get into it. Trampled by Turtles were, I’ll say, stimulating, but the best thing about Trampled by Turtles is that they can escape the Mumford & Sons folk band stereotype by playing slowly and playing well as opposed to strumming so hard it looks like they want to break a string. They separate themselves from the rest because they can balance these two speeds.
Nickel Creek is a gem and each member is a master of his or her trade. Chris Thile (mandolin player) is an especially good showman and I was pleased to finally see him in one of his many projects. I love when different members can sing lead even within the same song and Nickel Creek does this especially well.
After catching a great fifteen minutes of tUnE-yArDs, which led to me questions the normalcy and yet not the genius of the lead singer, it was onto The Replacements. I’ll clue you in now. I have no nostalgic stake in this set. I’m 20 years old and this reunion didn’t mean much to me. I did not find The Replacements very entertaining. The addition of Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day for the performance meant particularly nothing as he did not sing nor speak a word. I can make the same point I did yesterday with Jason Isbell that I understand why people like The Replacements, but they are not for me.
As the sun set of the last Forecastle day, I watched Ray LaMontagne. He was a fine palette cleanser. The packed Boom Stage became a rootsy raucous as he played to his faithful fans.
As Beck’s set approached, Sunday was generally a slow day. Most bands were folk rock and lacked a good beat. Beck changed that. He started with “Devil’s Haircut” and “Black Tambourine” and the crowd was dancing, clapping, and jumping. His eighty minute set had a great mixture of pace and strong control over his sound. Beck included short covers of Michael Jackson and Busta Rhymes. His final song, “Where It’s At” must have been nearly ten minutes long. The jam was out of this world and a perfect way to end the set and the festival. It was exactly what Forecastle needed.
There ended another successful year of Forecastle. Louisville managed to deliver terrific weather. The people were friendly as ever. Next year will be hard to top…but I’m sure they will find a way.
Photos by Will Ford and Josh Lee