Forecastle 2010 – Day 3 Review
The final day of Forecastle 2010 felt like the final day of a music festival: bleary eyed, sunburned, spent, fatigued, dehydrated, malodorous and worn down. Pushing through that by any means necessary in the pursuit of auditory rapture, and early Sunday had a lot to choose from: Vandaveer, Dar Williams, Sara Watkins, Minus the Bear, the Commonwealth, the Fervor. Crowds grew as the day got going, all leading up to the evening sets, beginning with the West Stage at 7:00 with She & Him, that combination of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. Releasing two albums over the past couple of years, the band is set perfectly as a breath of fresh air with those sweet vocals drenched in reverb and that Brian Wilson-like production. It sets everyone at ease, caters to those exposed nerves that need soothing. Into the first song, the crowd is politely chill, and in Louisville, we are nothing if not polite. As though shaking off the funk, excitement breaks through the mere absorption of the band and the people make their appreciation known. A lot of what She and Him do is very 50’s, like what all the radios play at a classic car show, or a late night commercial advertising a compilation of cruisin’ classics, sponsored by Quaker State. But man, that voice is pure beauty, heavenly, otherworldly. The band is in great form and dynamic: they shuffle, gallop, follow the cues of the bandleaders. She loves her tambourine and the crowd loves her. A two-song encore ends with an amazingly soulful version of “I put a spell on you” with just her and M. Ward and a few thousand of their closest and newest fans.
She & HIm
I ventured over to the East Stage to see Company of Thieves, a band that has recently had a surge of popularity in this city. In the midst of a new recording period, they took a break for a flight to Louisville to play Forecastle and didn’t disappoint. Opening with “Oscar Wilde” and taking most of the crowd by surprise, the band was clearly enjoying the moment and focused on its continuing trajectory. Genevieve is always amazing to watch, to physically see such a huge voice come out of such a tiny body, her animated movements and sparkley dresses engaging the crowd. The band sounded great and the vocalist also treated us with appropriate use of the tambourine. There was a great element of that elusive groove running through their songs and kept the people in front of them moving.
Company of Thieves
The last time I saw Spoon was in Austin on their riverfront, Auditorium Shores, so it seems fitting to see them again on ours. The band opened with one of the most perfect opening songs, “The Beast & Dragon Adored”, much to the pleasure of the onlookers feeling the teeth of the guitar and resonating boom of each intricately placed drum hit. But the crowd is more mesmerized by this display than hyped; a hip begins to move, followed by the leg bounce, and now a head nods in rhythm, and I can see shoulders begin to connect with the axis of the hips and they glide and move. Spoon is a monsoon, a tidal wave demanding crowd submission with sheer ferocity and tenacity. Those guitars cut in just the right place, bass is perfectly distorted, piano notes hit exactly where they are supposed to and nowhere else. The second song, “Got Nuffin’”, is exceptionally longer than their normal songs, but the straight strums and eighth-note repeating attack of the bass throb has placed the crowd firmly in their palm. A six piece brass section of saxes and trombones, from Louisville nonetheless, backs up the band on a few songs, further endearing the crowd to their hearts. By the fifth song, “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”, there’s not a person not gyrating in some fashion or another. And if they aren’t, it’s because they’re dead inside. At one point, Britt Daniel, the vocalist/guitarist, dons a bass and jumps into a drawn out, sparse throbbing intro, feeling for all intents and purposes like a techno song, and right when it would normally go the typical “oom-siss-oom-siss” techno part, the drummer does some crazy fills and the song ends. The band rolls through “Is Love Forever”, “Don’t You Evah”, “Fitted Shirt”, “I Summon You”, “Written In Reverse”, “I Turn My Camera On”, “The Underdog”, and “My Mathematical Mind”, closing the night with “Black Like Me”. I realize that Spoon always makes me want to get a telecaster. This is also one of the last thoughts I have for the evening. I took off after the Spoon set, and rightfully so, have a nice pang of regret every time someone describes the Flaming Lips show to me. Next year, maybe I’ll personally get sponsored by Red Bull.