The festival that started as a small local affair in a city park has grown over the past decade into one of the largest annual music festivals in the Midwest. This year, Forecastle Festival saw record attendance – to the tune of 80,000 people – and one of the most diverse lineups thanks in part to Ashley Capps (Bonnaroo, Big Ears) at the helm. Beyond the big headliners, dedication to local arts and eats, and an environmental advocacy slant, the other big attraction of Forecastle this weekend was the weather. Rather than the brutal July sun, Louisville’s Waterfront Park saw English weather most of the weekend: lower-70s as highs and a light mist. More of that please, Mother Nature.
But the music took precedence above all, and this past weekend was full of great sounds. And while there were certainly some higher highs, there weren’t too many lows (thank God), which made this Top 10 quite difficult to piece together. Nonetheless, we assembled a list worthy in at least our eyes. So, read on and take a trip back to Louisville.
10. The Black Lips
Photo by Michael Powell
Kicking off the weekend, The Black Lips set the proper tone for Forecastle right out the gate during their 2 p.m. Friday slot. Sure, they might be a bit tamer these days via their latest album, Underneath the Rainbow, but the live show still packs a ferocity that first brought attention to these rowdy, Southern gentlemen garage rock tent revivalists. –Michael Powell
9. Mount Moriah
Photo by Zach Hart
Sometimes great rock and roll is all you and need. Similar to Neko Case’s 2012 Forecastle appearance, Mount Moriah put on a no-frills set that leaned on their at-ease songwriting and alt-country rock sensibilities. The band kicked off the set with some favorites off 2012’s Miracle Temple and then treated the crowd to some brand-new songs off their forthcoming album. The newer fare sounds spectacular and finds Mount Moriah building slowly on their previous work. If this show was any indication, their next offering has shot up my most anticipated upcoming releases list. –Zach Hart
Photo by Lilian Cai
Merrill Garbus’s insane, new live band packed the Ocean Stage with one of the most enthusiastic crowds I’ve ever seen at Forecastle. It certainly helped to draft Louisvillian Dani Markham to hit skins. Two drummers, two backup singers, an array of outfits showing love for the early ’90s, creative face paint, and Garbus’s trademark looping assembly line and ukelele brought forth the oddest and coolest dance party of the weekend. –Michael Powell
7. Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks
Photo by Michael Powell
Animal Collective were scheduled to play last year’s fest but had to cancel due to Dave Portner’s health. Guess he wanted to make it up by bringing his new Slasher Flicks project to Louisivlle. Having lost touch with the AC gang’s various side projects the past few years, I walked in with no expectations and came out a believer. Fans of pre-Sung Tongs Animal Collective can rejoice in the return of maniacal Avey Tare, complete with danceable beats. The new project features Angel Deradoorian of The Dirty Projectors behind a wall of Moog synths and ex-Ponytail drummer Jeremy Hyman. Easily some of the best AC-related output in recent memory, and a phenomenal, surprisingly energetic live sound. –Michael Powell