Tomorrow (July 13th), the tenth annual Forecastle music festival kicks off here in the wonderful city of Louisville, Kentucky. Before I dive into my must see acts at Forecastle, I want to speak on the festival itself. In the beginning, it was the dream of JK McKnight, who threw the first Forecastle in a small park with two hundred people in attendance. Now, in its tenth year, Forecastle sprawls out on the Louisville waterfront, serving as the perfect example of how, with some hard work, a wild dream can materialize into actuality. Forecastle was a passion that over time turned into one of the best music festivals in the world. While most will be celebrating hanging out with friends and hearing some great tunes, for me, Forecastle X will be a celebration and reminder that artistic dreams can still come true.
TOP 5 MUST SEE
5.) Flying Lotus
Friday - 10:15 - Ocean Stage
"FlyLo" is one of the most interesting music producers we've got, and one of the best creators of spacious beats we have going currently. A staple at the Low End Theory in Los Angeles, the one time I caught Flying Lotus the world stopped and his music was all that existed. I fully expect his concert to send shock waves through the nearby Ohio River.
4.) Atlas Sound
Friday - 7:15 - Ocean Stage
I've seen Deerhunter five times now and Bradford Cox is one of those musicians, no, one of those stars who you just have to see in person. Maybe the most important contemporary musician, seeing Bradford Cox in person will be the equivalent of saying you saw Elvis in years to come. The guy is as special and unique as they come, and still boasts a perfect record of releasing great albums under either band name.
3.) Andrew Bird
Saturday - 7:30 - Mast Stage
Andrew Bird is solid. I'm not sure if there is much more to say. The guy has released one solid album after the other since 1996 and has never left me disappointed at a live show.
2.) Beach House
Friday - 8:15 - Boom Stage
Beach House is responsible for the best back-to-back album releases in recent memory. Their dreamy pop and shimmery guitar work will float around and transform the Louisville waterfront into an oasis of musical wonderment.
1.) Neko Case
Sunday - 7:45 - Mast Stage
If you don't know me, one of my big turnoffs is large music festivals or venues. It's a personal thing, but I constantly struggle with connecting to the music when a sea of people on their phones drowns out a moment of shared artistic greatness. To date, Neko Case is the only band or artist that has ever made this problem disappear for me. Her music slowly melted away the thousands of people around me, and I felt like she was singing just to me. With power like that, nobody else deserves the number one spot.
TAKE A CHANCE
Friday - 8:00 - Port Stage
Before CMJ, I told everyone that the Alabama Shakes were the number one band to check out and that it would be their coming out party. I'm not sure if Forecastle will do the same for Houndmouth, but I'm quite certain, and most of Louisville already knows this, that Houndmouth will be a household name in the vein of an Alabama Shakes within a year. See them now on a small stage before they headline next year.
Friday - 6:30 - Port Stage
You never know what you're going to get with Nerves Junior. I tweeted after a New Years Eve Nerves Junior show that they had, in the same year, played my favorite and least favorite concerts of 2011. What is guaranteed is that you're not going to get something in the middle and if the band steps up, this could prove to be the can't-miss show of Forecastle.
Sunday - 8:30 - Starboard Stage
I can say without blinking that Sollee is the most talented musician at the festival. If you've never seen Sollee wield his cello with his trademark calm aggression, then put a bunch of circles around his set time. This is someone you need to see live at least once in your lifetime.