It’s mid-July in Louisville and you know what that means…it’s Forecastle season. And I am back for my fourth year! Yes, today kicks off this three-day music festival that has become a summer tradition for us. I woke up today wide-eyed and ready to start the weekend. Weeks of anticipation, planning, and putting together the perfect outfit has all lead up to today.
Some names I was looking forward to seeing today were Hop Along, Julia Jacklin, Lucius, Chromeo, Jungle, Portugal the Man, and The Killers. (To preface, yes, I realize the correct spelling is “Portugal. The Man”, but the obsessive-compulsive side of me was going crazy putting periods in the middle of sentances, so I’m just going to refer to them as “Portugal The Man” in this post…ok?! Just give me this one.)
We arrived on-site around 3pm and did the responsible thing and headed straight to the water stations. We’re Forecastle pros at this point, so our next stop was the Bourbon Lodge – our air-conditioned oasis for the next three days.
The first act we saw was Hop Along. I did not think I was familiar with their music, but after hearing a couple songs, I went “ooooo THAT band?!” Unfortunately, they were clearly having issues with their sound. You could tell Frances Quinlan was not thrilled. But with her angsty music, I think it just fueled her performance. They pushed through the sound problems and gave us a great show.
I appreciate a good harmony, and Lucius is alllll about the tight harmonies. So I was excited to see them this year. We found a spot in the back of the lawn and listened and relaxed. There were some live painters there this year, and we watched some live painting while listening to Lucius. A perfect mid-day.
“Hello we’re The Killers and this is Mr. Brightside. Just kidding, I’m Julia Jacklin.” Starting with a dumb joke, I like this girl already. Julia Jacklin played a hauntingly beautiful set. Beautiful songs, filled with sadness. I was unfamiliar with her music walking in today, but I left a fan.
From this point on, the energy was cranked to a solid ten and stayed there for the rest of the festival. Leading this energy parade, Chromeo. I’ve seen Chromeo once before in a more traditional music venue, so I was excited to see him in a festival setting. Turns out, he’s just as good, no surprise there. Watching a Chromeo performance is like watching every party montage in every movie ever. Everybody jumping in synchronicity, everyone dancing like no one is watching, beer flowing, girls on shoulders, we all know every word. It was exactly the energy boost we all needed.
In 2011 I missed Portugal The Man by one day when they played Occupy Philadelphia. Ever since then, I seemed to be just missing them whenever they got anywhere near my city. Tonight, I right that wrong. I finally made it, and it is good. They opened with Metallica, went on to Pink Floyd, Marc Bolan, Rolling Stones, and Sabbath. Eventually, they did get around to their own music, but it seemed more like an afterthought to them. They seemed happy playing their covers, and how can you argue with that?
The Killers take me back in a way no other band does. Hot Fuss was pretty much the only album I listened to my freshman year of high school. I remember the day I went to the record store and got the Sam’s Town CD. I remember using the iTunes gift card I got for my birthday and excitedly downloading Sawdust. So many of my memories are tied to their music. And while I have seen hundreds of concerts in my lifetime, I have never managed to see The Killers. So I was beyond thrilled when I saw their name on the lineup. Let me start by saying, Brandon Flowers embodies glam rock. With a satin and sequin blazer, and a button up underneath with just one too many buttons unbuttoned. He has a stage presence reeking of confidence and charm, but in a way that is still likable. In my opinion, they played a little too many songs off their newer albums. Of course I understand that you have to, but they lost the attention of a LARGE chunk of the audience when they switched to anything too new. But guys, we were standing on flat solid earth, and I swear I could feel the ground shaking beneath us when they started playing Mr. Brightside. It was bonkers, and a crazy way to close out day one.
For many people, that was the end of the night. But we had one more set to see.
When we found out Chromeo was playing the Late Night Boat Show this year, we bought our tickets immediately. The idea of seeing Chromeo DJ a riverboat on the Ohio River was too good to pass up. After The Killers finished their set, we walked down to the “Belle of Louisville”, a three-tiered steam riverboat built in 1914. I was a little disappointed to learn we wouldn’t actually be leaving the dock, but we had a blast none-the-less.
Day two, let’s see what you got.