Definitely one of the best deals for live music in the city, WFPK-sponsored Waterfront Wednesdays are hard to beat in the summer. Three acts for the price of nothing (except your beer money) will get you as close to the stage as you want to get, as long as you are not afraid of space-invading, crazy dancers or randomly suffocating clouds of cigarette smoke. If you don't want to be that up close and personal, bring a blanket or chairs and create your own comfort zone on the lawn.
Louisville native Dawn Landes got things started early when the sun was still beaming like a laser. Georgia rockers the Whigs put the rowdy into the crowd next, performing songs from their newest "Modern Creation" album, along with old favorites like "Staying Alive" and "Like a Vibration." They are such a fun live band to watch, with classic rock riffs and Julian Dorio's stellar drumming driving the show.
Whigs lead singer Parker Gispert
When the Whigs had wound everyone up, the Old 97s took the stage to reap the energy and warmth of the audience, many of them obviously fans of the band from way back. Classic 97s tunes were mixed in with songs from the new album, including a rambunctious "Longer Than You've Been Alive," reminding the fans that they've been around for awhile. They even played Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried," a cover they played on their first stop in Louisville two decades ago, according to Rhett Miller, all shaggy mane and swinging hips.
The Old 97s proved they still have the swagger and energy to rock a big crowd as the sun went down over the river, glowing paper lanterns floated up and over the Big Four Bridge, and a few hardy souls attempted to body surf the crowd. Please note that if you make it back to the gals in sun dresses with a beer in one hand, you will go splat to the ground. Happened every time.