Forecastle Festival 2017

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Crowds, summer heat, portable bathrooms.  These were the reasons against accepting my concert buddy’s invitation to Forecast Festival, located in his hometown of Louisville, KY.  They weren’t compelling reasons to not go, just part of the deal.   It’s not so different from going to a concert in Atlanta and dealing with standing on concrete floors for hours after sitting through congested highways.  You do what you gotta do.

Forecastle is a three day festival – neither of us had a desire for a full weekend, so we picked the third day – my concert buddy’s favorite due to PJ Harvey, mine because of Spoon, a fairly lackluster Saturday lineup, and, hey, don’t argue with the Cruise Director.   So, let’s begin. 

#1.  Where’s the line?  A quick frisk and we were in.

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#2. Hey!  A beach party!  Well, the festival is located on the banks of the Ohio River (as I gaze from KY to IN, but, then, the Mississippi River starts in Minnesota so I guess it’s okay).

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#3.  Stuff.  I like stuff.  If I went to the whole festival, maybe I’d drop the cash for the $30 souvenir T-Shirt.  But for only one day… nope.  And, nope again for the $10 boxer.

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#3.  Festival goodwill. Bring in your own sealed water bottle and you can refill it for free at the hydration station!  Well played.  Didn’t use it once.

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#4.  It’s a music festival!  What the?  (consults the Festival app)  Oops.  Wrong stage.

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#6.  Right stage.  COIN, “bright, synth-spiked indie pop.”  Yeah, not for me, for what they do, they do well.  The show was delivered with a lot of enthusiasm and with a surprising strange presence given the seeming youth of their lead singer.

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All of that goes to show why there was no one at that other stage and were gathered here, almost all of them 25 years old or younger.  A band on their way up, I’d say.

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#7.  Well, it turns out the average age was probably south of 25. Therefore, these guys’ wardrobes make sense in context.  For their needs, they were later seen with girls on their arms, soooo, good investment guys.

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#8.  Sierra Nevada was a sponsor for the festival, and this collaboration with Treehouse brewing, East Meets West IPA, was a great surprise.  This is why I didn’t visit the hydration station.  Treehouse is my fav, and it begged repeats.

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#9. Aaron Lee Tasjan.  He/they were the next band up and… they won “Best of the Day.”  Tasjan is a singer/songwriter at the core, but compared to his recordings (which I listened to afterwards), this was much more a rock show.  Even his delicate songs sounded strong with the punch.  He definitely held the over 25 crowd, but he deserved more.  His latest CD should arrive at my door Tuesday.  Thank you, as always, Amazon. 

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#10.  Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires.  We left a show that we were very much enjoying to go to one that we expected to very much enjoy.  There has been a resurgence in funk/soul bands of late, many of them anchored by a previous generation newly “discovered” and now finding an audience.  It was a completely different vibe from Tasjan, of course, but I don’t think that influenced my opinion.  This band didn’t rise to expectations.  

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#11.  Foxygen.  I listened in advance.  Decent.  In person… Decent.  I probably should have listened to them more carefully, as they demonstrated that they have a variety of music styles well suited to festival audiences,.  As the photo below shows, he’s got a bit of McCartney in him, mime face notwithstanding.  I wouldn’t pay to see them as a headliner, but they were a good addition for the day.

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12.  Big Thief.  Stole my time. 

13. Conor Oberst.  Critics darling.  But if I want earnest, I’ll just skip to Damien Rice, who fills that niche in a single CD.  Good band, but didn’t really hold my attention.

14.  PJ Harvey.  My concert buddy said she was good.  I took a break in the shade, reflecting on my IPAs.

15.  Spoon.  I’ve wanted to see them, and now I have.  I like a good number of their songs – simple, upbeat.  And dang if they don’t sound just the same in concert (not a good thing for simple music).  And, with zero stage presence, I’ve no need to see them again.

15.5 We skipped Weezer, the closer, just because.  Well, because we had to get up, and, really, other than that odd song on the radio (like “Buddy Holly”) I really have no use for them.  The under 25’s appeared to rush that way after Spoon for the “oldies” act though.

16.  Elsewhere around the show… given the demographics, I expected a lot more tattoos.  Here’s a couple.  The left one says “Welcome to the tragic kingdom,” no doubt No Doubt. Nevertheless, it might be a warning sign to guys?  I would have asked the one on the right what the story is, but it’s kind of hard to hear at these things anyway, but, given the detail, I don’t think I’d be disappointed in the story.

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Here’s where all the cool kids hang out… Yeah, in the shade.  Where they had to listen to a DJ.  Sense the excitement?

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The even cooler ones hang out here.

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I saw this guy a few times during the day.   A lot of work for a little advertising.

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Overall, the festival was a lot less crowded than I expected (the crowd built to the evening, but there were no lines for anything), and other than people holding cups of beer, it was very much a G rated affair.  One benefit of the great weather (mid 80’s, low humidity) was that someone was able to comfortably wear her mom’s jeans from the real festival days.  Well, okay.  Maybe these were made in China, but it’s the spirit that counts.

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Overall, glad I went, and this particular festival overcame my initial fears – no overwhelming crowds, no oppressive heat, no lines at the portable johns – which were cool because they were placed under the bridge.  This festival did everything well.

One the better songs from Tasjan.

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