Saturday at Forecastle was a constant assault of great band after great band & for those that missed Saturday, in my eyes, you missed Forecastle. Leading up to Forecastle, when JK asked me who I was most excited for, without a moment of hesitation I replied Snowden. For me, this was a no-brainer. With Jordan leading vocals, and Corrine diverting everyone’s attention, these kids make some incredible dance rock, and, as it is far and away my favorite genre of music, it made for an incredible show. If you’re a fan of VHS or Beta, and since you’re probably from Louisville, then you most certainly are, you need to know Snowden. Virtually every song is an dance anthem….and when Black Eyes starts out….in my eyes, it’s impossible to not start moving. Of course, ever to my astonishment, kids in Louisville refuse to dance to dance music, so in the end, one of the best bands of the festival played to a small group of kids with their arms crossed and bobbing their heads at best. How I miss the days of Bedrock @ Metro in London, where kids weren’t too cool for the music they liked. In the end, so long as you could detach yourself from the awkwardness of it all, it was a great performance and I hope they’ll come back again soon…
Louisville’s People Noise was up next & put on a very strong performance. Sadly, this was my first time seeing these guys, but was glad to see a decent few people turned out to see them perform. As everyone knows, these guys do the shoegaze rock thing, and that they do it very well. I sat down with Zeke & Luke afterwards and chatted about life on the road and where their going to next. I think that every band in Louisville needs to look to People Noise as a model for success. In the ever-shifting music industry, the staple is live performances. While every band understands that the most important thing in the beginning is becoming known, whether it means giving your music away or playing for free, few bands have gone to the lengths that People Noise have (Snowden being an exception, actually). People Noise tour relentlessly, which is in large part the cause of the constant shifting line-up. Never content to stay in one place too long, or oversaturate any market, these guys launch full scale tour after full scale tour, and they’re getting to play with some pretty incredible bands as a result of it.
Extra Golden was another of the real surprises of the festival. Although I had heard they simply dominated Pitchfork, I had no idea what to really expect. Half from Kenya and Half from America, and having only toured the US once before thanks to Obama, these guys put blues, benga, and americana together and create incredibly fun dance music (at least the hippies dance). Every moment spent playing gave me the impression that they truly felt God was blessing them because they appeared so thankfuk and so happy and alive. It was infectious, and reflected the sense of goodwill, love and hope that Forecastle is all about.
After spending some time in the fountain, we headed off to see Tortoise and their dueling drum kit brand of progressive/post rock. The first thing one notices and appreciates is the two drum kits set up similar to the way a Man Man stage is, up front & facing one another. Mixing kraut, electronica, jazz, and good old fashioned rock, these guys put on an experience for Forecastlers that would be impossible to forget. Louisville has a deeper connection with these guys through our cult heroes David Pajo and Will Oldham, each of whom have spent some time working with Tortoise.
Z Trip, for many, was the culmination of the day. Our friend, Andrew, from Azns n Bnzs, told us that, in large part, Z Trip was the reason he got into DJing. I had heard the mixtapes, but until I saw Z Trip perform his sets live, I hadn’t seen or heard anything. The man mixed Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Madonaa, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash, Alice in Chains, Journey and DJ Kool seemlessly. Z Trip was like Girl Talk, but first, and personally, I thought better. Mixing dark and light beats, never more haunting than with Alice in Chains, and never more fun than teasing us with snipets of Michael Jackson or giving audio-strobe effects to Journey which invariably reminded me of the cut of “These Boots are Made for Walking” at thte opening scene of the film Go. The highlight of the performance for me though, was when Z Trip took a moment to acknowledge what JK was doing, and what everyone who showed up was doing, which was taking time to think about the environment and arts. In appreciation of that, he spun one of my favorite Saul Williams tracks “Not in Our Name: The Pledge to Resist” and to hear those kindered spirits out there chanting “not in our name will you erode the very freedoms you have claimed to fight for”…it was a magical moment for me. As he finished his set, the copyright guy in me laughed because he mentioned how he had mixtapes with all of his mash-ups available for free download because he just wanted to give back. Of course, what I heard was that he was sampling tons of other artists and if he tried selling it, they would not be too happy about it. Nevertheless, the performance was incredible, everyone was bouncing and dancing and having an awesome time.
Closing the night was the Disco Bisciuts who seemed to belong more to Sunday than Saturday. For me, along with many of our friends, the transition was too drastic and for all intents and purposes the night ended with Z Trip. I think that it might have financially been the right decision to have Disco Biscuits close the show, because for a lot (and I mean a LOT) of people, these guys were just the cat’s PJs, but for me…well, my mother taught me that if I have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all….
Poison Ivy vs. Batman