Forecastle 2010 – Day 2 Review (part two)
On Saturday night, after Devo, it’s pretty safe to say that the hyped up crowd was quite ready for the Smashing Pumpkins. Not so fast! Collect yourself, pace yourself, savor your anticipation. Apparently situations such as this call for a DJ. You might be resting in the media tent recovering from the creeping signs of exhaustion, nursing your purchase from the taco truck, when you notice the rhythmic ripples pulsing at the top of your water cup, Jurassic Park-like. Then come the crushing, interior organ shaking, oxygen destroying bass hits. It might remind you of high school parking lots and rumors of cruising, metallic rattling, the grinding apart of joints meant to remain joined. Hypothetically. The act on the main stage, after Devo and before the Pumpkins, is known as Bassnectar, a DJ, or electronic music artist, out of San Francisco. His appearance has an Andrew WK vibe, with his long hair and white t-shirt, but most comparisons stop there. The set is an amazingly integrated audiovisual presentation, with a full movie sized screen blending colors and images and flashes to accompany his blend of beats with the occasional pixies, nine inch nails, beatles and white zombie thrown in. It’s coreshaking, and the glowstick kids are happy. Waves of people were jumping in rhythm excitedly and ratcheting themselves up for the headliner soon to come.
I headed over to the East Stage to catch the set from Edinburgh’s own We Were Promised Jetpacks. Signed to Fat Cat Records and label mates with Frightened Rabbit and Sigur Ros, I expected a lot from them. One minute into the eight minute opener, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed; a rousing, explosive, tight and passionate study in the absurd musical equation whereby the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. An early sound issue that looked to be a dysfunctional cord only served to stir some of that Scottish anger, make them push to release and overcome. It was clear by the second song that this is exactly what happened. This is one of the most aggressive sets I’ve seen; a band with something to prove, intent on blistering. And it was really loud, too.
We Were Promised Jetpacks
Back at the West Stage, the crowd continues to thicken as the LCD lightshow from Bassnectar is dismantled and the drums and guitars are checked. It’s the closest quarters it has been all day and begins to feel like the Great Lawn might implode. Planning perfectly the end of the previous set and the ensuing mass exodus to the lavatories, I find myself quite close to the stage with thousands of people at my back. Lights are tested, microphones are tested and anticipation builds. And builds. The Smashing Pumpkins take the stage, pick up their instruments and open up with Today, followed by Astral Planes, Ava Adore, and Hummer. As one of the bands that graduated from the school of Alternative Rock, they proudly wear their seriousness and disinterest on both sleeves, apart from the few times that smiles were flashed in recognitions of a fan’s excitement. Mr. Corgan told the story at one point about being escorted around town and asking his driver what they make here; the response, “Bourbon, baseball bats, horses, and hot Kentucky women” elicited much goodwill from the crowd, who were held with rapt attention for the majority of the show. And honestly, considering a lot of the stories I’ve heard regarding a Pumpkins show, I think Forecastle came away with one of the better ones.