Forecastle Festival continued yesterday with even more music, madness, and mermaids. Here are some highlights from Saturday:
Hip-hop rising star Jalin Roze and indie rock supergroup Spanish Gold (their drummer is Louisvillian Patrick Hallahan — you might know him from My Morning Jacket, or maybe just the Germantown Kroger) went toe to toe in the battle of the hometown heroes Saturday afternoon.
Spanish Gold drew a large and chill crowd of blanket-sitters and day-drinkers to the massive Mast Stage for the heavy-yet-hooky set that Louisville’s been waiting for since their Waterfront Wednesday performance got rained out back in May. A highlight of the set was their cover of Ghetto Brothers’ 1971 hit “There Is Something In My Heart,” the B-side of their Record Store Day release and the ever-appropriate “Day Drinking,” which frontman Dante Schwebel told the crowd “was made for days like this.”
But Roze drew an impressive crowd himself to the WFPK Port Stage, and the energy on stage and in the crowd was high. Where are the dancers, you ask? At Jalin Roze’s set. He got the crowd hyped early and they stayed with him and all of his guests — he keeps the stage full, with excellent vocals by Yalonda JD Green, plus appearances by members of Nerves Junior and The Pass.
Back at the Mast Stage, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings took the stage for an emotionally charged gospel-infused soul revival. Jones took last year off touring and making appearances after being diagnosed with cancer, and she finished her treatment in January. Halfway through “Get Up and Get Out,” she took a little time to preach for us: “In my church, we shout when we’re happy, and we shout when we’re sad,” Jones said. “But tonight I got something to shout about, because I am cancer free.”
Jones got right back on the road once she finished chemotherapy, and Forecastle is her last stop before heading home for a while, where she plans on “fishing my way back to happiness.” Amen.
And speaking of emotional, Jason Isbell delivered one of the stand-out sets of the festival so far, tearing through his acclaimed album “Southeastern” to an overflowing Boom Stage crowd. He opened with “Flying Over Water,” followed by “Stockholm.” When he went back to his Drive-By Truckers days for “Decoration Day,” the slightest of rains fell for less than a minute, before he chased it away with the world’s saddest ear-worm, “Codeine.” Isbell followed the DBT anthem “Outfit” and the newer “Live Oak” with the driving beat of “Alabama Pines,” off 2011’s “Here We Rest.”
Highlight of the set: during “Cover Me Up,” when he sang “I sobered up and swore off that stuff forever,” the crowd went wild, celebrating Isbell’s recovery in a touching show of solidarity. The wail of the guitar on “Never Gonna Change,” one of DBT’s most emblematic numbers, wasn’t such a bad finish, either.
And for anyone waiting to hear whether Isbell and his wife, singer/songwriter and fiddler Amanda Shires, have plans to grow the family band — what are you, his nosy Aunt Clara? — earlier in the afternoon, Isbell told WFPK’s Laura Shine that “as a dude,” he can’t plan such things, because he doesn’t have to tote [the baby] around for nine months and “feed it with his body.” Just in case you were picking out onesies for them already. But he would tell Shine that he’ll probably start recording a new album next spring — songs about working people who have nothing to do with show business.
In a bit of sonic and scenic whiplash, many caught a Band of Horses’ big-stage set that reached back to 2006’s “Everything All The Time” only to wander over to the Ocean Stage for Slint.
The Ocean Stage sits under Interstate 64 and is largely used for dancier music. Slint, the Louisville math rock innovators, are many things—dancy isn’t one of them. Not in the traditional sense, at least. Even still, a large crowd that included many familiar Louisville faces heard the band hit “Breadcrumb Trail” and all the influential songs that make Slint Slint. The din of chatter rose as the band played on, but math rock isn’t precisely “festive” music; people seemed generally pleased to have a shot, though, of catching a significant band perform.
Dwight Yoakam’s trademark bent-note voice was on full power in the early evening set, and although his people requested no professional photos of his set, he did charm his way thoroughly into the hearts of the audience, substituting local references in “Streets of Bakersfield” and proving that he knows how to pronounce “Louisville” like a true local. Yoakam went to the way, way back with classics like “Guitars, Cadillacs,” his cover of Elvis’ “Little Sister” and the barn-burner “Little Ways,” and he did it all backed by a band blinged out like living disco balls.
But Saturday belonged to headliner Jack White, who played a solid set that covered White Stripes, Raconteurs, solo and Dead Weather material. He opened with vintage White Stripes, “Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground,” and tucked a brief “Sam’s Place” interlude into “Hotel Yorba.” The sound ranged from the old-timey “Blue Moon of Kentucky” to lighthearted with “We’re Going to Be Friends,” then barreled into heavy with an over-the-topped “Top Yourself.”
White rounded out his extremely energetic set with an epic 40-minute-long encore that he seemed reluctant to bring to a close. From the cover of Dick Dale’s “Misirlou” to dueling violins on “Sixteen Saltines,” White committed fully to his performance right up to the end. Highlights are hard to choose, but “Seven Nation Army” pretty much tore the crowd down. He concluded with the simple, incontrovertible truth: “You’ve been incredible, and I’ve been Jack White.”
WFPL’s Joseph Lord contributed to this story.
We’ll have picks for Forecastle performers to catch on Sunday later today. Tomorrow, we’ll have a festival roundup and more photos.