Set up in the shadow of downtown, sandwiched between the Ohio River and the picturesque Louisville Slugger minor league ballpark, the three-day eco-urban Forecastle Festival hosted one of the most high-profile lineups in its low-key nine year existence this weekend.
With a new location in a 70-plus acre riverside park that aimed for a mini-Lollapalooza vibe, the weekend kicked off on Friday night (July 9) with Forecastle faves Widespread Panic, followed by the reconstituted Smashing Pumpkins on Saturday (July 10) and the always-explosive Flaming Lips closing things out on Sunday night (July 11). With temperatures in the brain-melting upper '90s down south, we opted to just check out the final day’s activities and when we arrived it looked like plenty of three-dayers were running on fumes (and from the looks and smell of it, some other gases and solids) after 48 hours of music from a variety of DJs, lesser-known jam bands and national acts like Devo, Cake, Manchester Orchestra, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Bassnectar and the New Deal.
Most of the afternoon was about beating the heat, as sweaty modern primitives strapped hammocks between trees in the waterfront park and gently swayed near the Ocean Stage to a DJ spinning hacky sack-friendly techno.
One of the first big names of the day was duo She and Him, who opened a pleasantly perky set with the summer swayer "Rave On," during which actress/singer Zooey Deschanel busted out an electric ukulele. When she wasn't singing, partner M. Ward added a smoky croak to her high and tight vocals on the band's country shuffles, playing a series of slide solos with an assist from a bottle of local microbrew.
Deschanel, dressed in a 1960s vintage Nashville cowgirl singer blue dress with white frilled piping, brought a delicious longing to "Thieves" and bopped along while strumming her uke on the Hawaiian pop "Get Along Without You Now." With the sun finally fading behind some clouds, a crowd gathered near the main stage for the girl group singalongs "In the Sun" and "Don't Look Back." The set ended with a rousing cover of "Roll Over Beethoven" with Ward on lead vocals as Deschanel pounded away on her keyboard.
Spoon appear to be spending time in dingy dance clubs, as half of their strong set felt like it had gotten a remix from Chicago avant-rockers Tortoise. Along with straight-ahead rockers like "The Beast and Dragon Adored," they added a six-piece horn section for the secret agent rock of "Rhythm and Soul" and trippy, echo-laden dub effects for "Don't You Evah." A cover of the punk icons the Damned's "Love Song" was stripped of its pop sheen and reworked into a spare, spooky drone while "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" sounded like a Motown-via-Elvis-Costello swinger, accented by the low fart of a bass saxophone.
As the long lines for free water from the fountains near a child's playground overrun by hipsters covered in body paint began to ease up around sunset, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists blasted away a set of blitzkrieg punk to a sparse crowd near a canal larded with party pontoon boats. Read More...