Forecastle Music & Arts Festival: Friday Review

Friday, Day 1

All Photos by Bill Foster

Cage the Elephant

Saturday, Day 2

Sunday, Day 3

The annual festival known as Forecastle returned to Louisville’s Waterfront Park yesterday, and so, too, did a four-person crew representing BLANK Newspaper. The following is a few of our observations and select photographs taken on a steamy, dusty opening day.

 Why we go early: Mondo Cozmo

With their debut album due in early August, it’s possible that Mondo Cozmo may not even know how big they are about to get. Opening up the Ocean Stage on Friday, Josh Ostander and company continued their 2017 festival run after plying their first show less than a year ago. Songs such as “Automatic” and “Hold on to Me” bring a unique, modern blend of electronic elements with rock ‘n’roll, creating a building narrative that simultaneously seems both familiar and brand new. Closing with a cover of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony”, it is apparent that they know how to captivate their new fan base, which is sure to continue its rapid growth. – Matt Miller

Mondo Cozmo by Bill Foster

Quiet Hollers

Vacillating with ease between different strains of rock ‘n’ roll, Louisville’s own Quiet Hollers showed themselves to be grateful, heartfelt and – most importantly – thoroughly engaging. Each song performed throughout the course of their late-afternoon set at the Port Stage absolutely dripped with earnestness and soul. The band members, while clearly humbled, also seemed to relish the opportunity, and the sizable crowd mirrored their enthusiasm. Promising stuff from a talented group with solid chops, and reminiscent of Houndmouth, another local entity that has made a name for itself both regionally and nationally. – Matt Rankin

The Quiet Hollers by Bill Foster

Real Estate

These guys aren’t conducive to everyone’s sensibilities; just among the BLANK crew here in Kentucky, the band’s repetitive, technical noodling and lack of stage presence in a live setting are inextricably divisive subjects. I happen to fall on the side of appreciating/loving the care that goes into their songcraft, and the group was in fine form on Friday evening at the Boom Stage. Maybe the hordes of festivalgoers half my age weren’t feeling the dad rock, but the relaxed jams lulled me into a calm inertia. – MR

Local highlight: Jaye Jayle

One of the best aspects of Forecastle is their unstinting support for Louisville’s strong local music scene. Following local favorites Quiet Hollers on the Port Stage, Jaye Jayle wasted no time grabbing the crowd’s attention. This project is the brainchild of Louisville-based indie rocker Evan Patterson (also of the metal band Young Widows) and features members of Freakwater and Shipping News. Jayle plays cowboy music for doomed stoners, a kind of pastiche of gothic Americana and more traditional music, highlighted by eloquent guitar solos through a broad range of effects. Jaye Jayle’s slow-building songs draw one in subtly, refuse to let go and mark them as a band to keep an eye on. – Bill Foster

Songs: John Moreland

I was blown away in my first experience seeing this Oklahoma native perform. With a gruff yet tender voice and immaculate fingerpicking skills, Moreland delivered line after devastating line in a series of roughneck ballads, each more plaintive and touching than the last. It was the perfect kind of music to soundtrack a hazy summer evening, and the sun descending over the Ohio River behind the singer-songwriter’s perch on the Port Stage made for a fitting and stunningly beautiful scene. – MR

Midday highlight: Capital Cities

This indie-pop sextet has come a long way since performing at the lil’ Miller Lite Stage at Bonnaroo in 2014. The folks at that show, which featured perhaps the largest crowd at the boutique stage’s existence, knew that big things were in store for Capital Cities.

Fast forward three breakneck-paced years and dozens of festival appearances later, and Capital Cities are a welcome addition to any musical gathering. For their Forecastle set, CC played the hits and won over yet another gaggle of first time viewers. If you dig indie rock with a little brass, give these guys a look. – Rusty Odom

Sunset show: Cage the Elephant

Bowling Green’s rock ‘n’ roll champions are now one of the biggest bands on the planet. After winning a Grammy for their latest release and playing almost every U.S. festival in 2017, Cage the Elephant has upped their game, a feat seemingly impossible if you’ve seen these guys through the past few years. Matt Schultz’s energy is raw and contagious, as he seems to never stop running around and jumping into crowds. In last night’s set, we saw small glimpses of Mick Jagger’s sound and swagger in Schultz. One huge highlight was their surprise cover of Wreckless Eric’s “Whole Wide World,” a song that fits their sound and set perfectly. Once again, Cage the Elephant proved they will be around for the long haul, and no one in their packed main stage crowd is jumping ship anytime soon. – MM

Run the Jewels

Killer Mike and El-P are being booked among the top tier in their festival appearances this year, and there should be no question as to why. The duo electrified the crowd from the start with songs from “RTJ 3,” including “Talk to Me,” “Legend Has It,” and “Call Ticketron.” The group uses brash lyrics and intense beats to power through songs meant to question society and demand change, while still paying ode to the history of true hip-hop and its struggles to remain relevant. For many, RTJ was the headliner of the night, as their energy, near-perfect stage sound and overall fun performance set a new standard for the genre at Forecastle. – MM

Killer Mike from Run the Jewels by Bill Foster


Teddy Abrams & Friends

Year after year, one of the most unique aspects of Forecastle is the dedication to highlighting and celebrating Louisville music, arts, bourbon and local business. Teddy Abrams is the music director for the Louisville Orchestra, along with serving as a conductor, pianist and composer throughout his career. Abrams & Friends gave everyone a taste of the rich, yet somewhat unknown, Louisville music scene, spanning multiple genres. His goal has always been to bring local musicians together, combining all musical styles, to advance and celebrate a town he loves so dearly. In the closing spot on the Port Stage, he did just that. – MM

Teddy Abrams & Friends by Matt Miller




Cage the Elephant by Bill Foster


Run the Jewels by Bill Foster




Wacka Flocka Flame by Bill Foster



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