In sweltering but generally tolerable heat, the second day of Forecastle treated festival-goers to a series of interesting music culminating in a lengthy set by Louisville’s musical hometown heroes.
Early attendees got to hear bands such as Mariachi El Bronx, which was essentially the punk band The Bronx retrofitted to play Mexican folk music. The band includes Louisville native Brad Magers. Another intriguing early performer was Desaparecidos, a side project from Conor Oberst more similar to Fugazi (though not exactly) than Oberst’s most famous and more mellow project, Bright Eyes. Political and aggressive, Desaparecidos provided a nice jolt of energy.
Another treat was Louisville’s Dr. Dundiff and Friends, bringing old-school hip-hop to the festival. Performing on the Ocean Stage under Interstate 64, Dr. Dundiff packed the smallest stage at Forecastle with about as many people as it could hold, boasting a band, horns and a string of guests. One of the great moments at a music festival is when a lesser-known act gets a great reaction from the crowd–and that’s exactly what Dr. Dundiff got. The set culminated in a surprise appearance by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, who sang the chorus for the final song. It was a rowdy scene that got a heat-struggling crowd moving.
The Ocean Stage was also the scene of another lively set by ILoveMakonnen, the hip-hop artist best known for the song “Tuesday.” Again, a lively crowd showed a ton of energy, bolstered even more by by a nice breeze that flowed under the interstate. They got to enjoy “Tuesday” at the end of the set, happily, and Makonnen seemed to want to keep playing even after his time was up.
The latter part of the day brought other doses of energy, at different levels: Shovels & Rope, War on Drugs and singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson with their own brands of folksy, indie rock and bluesiness, respectively.
This Saturday’s line-up, however, centered on My Morning Jacket, a band that doesn’t need a festival to draw thousands of people to Waterfront Park. Jim James and company took the stage at about 9:30 p.m. and played deep into the night. The early set mixed songs from their latest album, “The Waterfall,” released in the spring such as “Believe (Nobody Knows)” along with what I suppose we can call classics now, such as “Off the Record.”
This is a band that’s always had a soft spot for its hometown and Forecastle. The band was joined for a good part of its set by members of the Louisville Orchestra, including music director Teddy Abrams. Not only did the orchestra perform with Louisville’s most famous band, but James also gave the organization a hearty endorsement to a crowd that largely may not know too much about classical music. It was a nice touch.
My Morning Jacket didn’t become My Morning Jacket by disappointing audiences. James and company played most of the songs fans would hope for in the first 90 minutes of the set, and then seemed to increase with its more jam-band aspects. That seemed to be OK with everyone–many left after the 90 minute mark, but it’s unlikely they were dissatisfied. The odds are–no matter what they enjoy most about My Morning Jacket–the festival-goers got what they hoped for.
Forecastle ends Sunday and includes performances by TWEEDY (as in Jeff), Portugal. The Man., Modest Mouse and Widespread Panic. Here’s the schedule.