Forecastle 2010 – Day 1 Review
Over the course of the next couple days, we’ll be laying out the amazing sights and sounds of the 2010 Forecastle Festival. Look out for interviews, photo’s and a complete writeup, which is where we’ll start…
Brian Meurer has the play-by-play. Here’s day 1:
The ninth edition of Forecastle found itself occupying 75 acres of Waterfront Park in downtown Louisville, bringing its blend of music, art and activism to an expected thirty thousand people this weekend. Three main music stages showcased a stellar lineup, including the Flaming Lips, Spoon, Smashing Pumpkins, Devo, Cake, Widespread Panic, Lucero, Drive By Truckers, She & Him, Modern English, Arnett Hollow, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Vandaveer, Sara Watkins, Against Me and Company of Thieves. One electronica/dj stage, one circus stage, one sustainable living roadshow area and one outdoor extreme sports showcase rounded out the lineup of scheduled events.
Stretching from the Wharf to the Upland Meadow, the main stages hovered near the water to the north, while the dozens of food and merchandise tents were located along the southern edge, near and under the I-64 overpass. Everything from gyros to gumbo, burgers to pommes frites, tacos to a NY slice could be found along with ample serving locations and selections from the BBC. Merch tents were stocked with an assortment of shirts, beads, purses, hand painted clothes, rope sandals, flowy blouses, jewelry, hammocks, reusable water bottles, hats, screenprints, frisbees and other miscellaneous environmentally friendly items. A string of tents along this theme included EcoZone, Toss Out Fuel, Up a Creek and Eco-opolis.
Friday was a get-to-know-you day, a familiarization with the layout, scheduling and crowd flow details that inform stage and band choices, along with the navigation and logistics that requires. Manchester Orchestra shredded, blistered and chopped their way into the crowd’s spleen. Arnett Hollow offered their brand of Sunday-back-porch-good-time-having social occasion, their tight playing skillfully running the line between bluegrass & jam. After a short presentation of fireworks, Widespread Panic took the main stage, setting the crowd in a harmonious state, and the people twirled blissfully.
I made it a point to catch the Lucero set, headlining the East Stage. Setting up with vocals, electric, drums, bass, keys and lap steel, they brought a high energy punch to the night that electrified the crowd. With a gravelly, Marlboro voice that feels like Tom Waits if he were a tenor and raised in east Tennessee instead of LA, vocalist Ben Nichols leads this punk roots band through songs that can only be described as rollicking. Lucero seems to be trying to redefine what Southern Band means. I’m imagining a kind of one-upmanship battle between them and Lynyrd Skynyrd, a la LL Cool J and Kool Mo Dee. They look every part the working class Southern rockers they portray, as though an east Tennessee bartender bet that the six guys on the stools at his bar couldn’t form a band. And with lines like “She asked me if I loved her and I showed her the tattoo”, it’s clear that they win the bet in my hypothetical band-origin-scenario. There’s also a lot of liquid and cups being thrown at the stage, putting a nice spin on the Blues Brothers chicken wire bar scene, but in this case it’s the band that needs the Gallagher style protective plastic sheet.