Forecastle’s pirate ship theme is strangely appropriate. Eleven’s roadtrip to Louisville got off to a rocky start Thursday night, as a torrential thunderstorm kept us grounded for the evening (we resolve, instead, to go home for the evening and watch The Perfect Storm). With high hopes and drier skies, we set sail again bright and early Friday morning.
It was clear upon our arrival that we weren’t the only ones dissuaded by the weather. Though the day was still young, crowds had barely begun to form anywhere – which allowed for seemingly private viewing sessions at earlier shows like Light Pollution and St. Louis’ own Andy B. Festival grounds felt quiet and slightly disorganized – surprising for a festival that’s nearly a decade old.
And it definitely has to be said: The Forecastle festival guide is a design disaster. Somehow, Drive-by Truckers’ 6:15 show starts before Light Pollution’s 6:10 affair. There’s no “West Stage” on the map associated with the “West Stage” listed in the schedule (we deduce by elimination that it’s labeled the “Main Stage” on the former). Not to mention the onslaught of free water bottles, with nowhere besides a single, rattly old water fountain to fill up on that oh-so-important H2O (Did we mention no re-entry?). Someone must’ve relied too heavily on intern labor.
Beyond those few hurdles, we found ourselves able to settle in for a few intimate shows in a terrific setting. The bridges and greater Louisville backdrop are gorgeous.
Light Pollution’s energetic set was one of the highlights of our daylight hours spent at Forecastle. The Chicago band’s shoe-gaze stylings and Grizzly Bear-esque freak folk caught our attention simply because front man James Cicero is one helluva performer. We were instantly mesmerized by his lively stage presence. Think the energy of So Many Dynamos with the sounds of Animal Collective. After coming off a stellar SXSW performance, Light Pollution definitely lived up to our expectations, and then some.
Treasure Fingers electro-dance jams were another favorite of festival goers on Day 1. Normally-nocturnal glowstick collectors came in droves to dance their pants off (literally, clothes were in short supply) for this daylight dance party, and we’re not even talking about the pants-less women dancing in bras on stage!
Next up, Eleven caught Cirque Berzerk–a freaky LA circus troupe. We’ll just let that photo of a contortionist do the talking for us.
Widespread Panic headlined and delivered a marathon 2.5 hour set to close out the day, though the Best set of Day 1 award goes to Lucero, a Tennessee folk-rock band. Playing to a swarm of die-hard fans at the East Stage, Lucero couldn’t refuse to play an encore, closing out with fan-favorite “Chainlink Fence.”
Stranger highlights of the day included a pirate-themed marching band, a sustainable living rapper and road show, and a zombie-themed circus – you know, the typical stuff you’d expect from a music festival. We’re remiss to have forgotten to pack feathered hats and an assortment of iron hook/hand/baseball glove prosthetics, but eager to see what oddities tomorrow will bring.