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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Moonshine, great music & southern hospitality: Best of Forecastle 2014

Moonshine, Chris Thile & Southern Hospitality: the Best of Forecastle 2014

The Main Stage at Forecastle 2014

Welcome to Wildfire Review’s biggest concert review ever-the best moments of Forecastle Festival 2014. We’ll be discussing everything about the festival from food, people, beer, performances to even some of the musicians themselves in an exclusive one on one interview. Forecastle Festival 2014 was a fantastic combination of all of the above, proving to be one of the best festivals within the United States this reviewer has ever been to. The talent in the performances were top notch with only a few sets that fell flat over the three days of the festival.

Before we go any deeper, as discussed in the beginning of the page, Forecastle is a 3-Day long music festival with music happening on four stages from 1PM until 11PM in downtown Louisville, Kentucky annually. The festival is in its twelfth year of existence, although it wasn’t trademarked until 2007. Read on to find out more of this stuff:

Here are the top Eight Moments of Forecastle Festival 2014

1)      Arriving at the Festival/Festival Setting

After a long twelve hour long drive the day before from Syracuse, NY to Louisville, Kentucky, we finally arrived to discover several unique things about Forecastle Festival that make it a little bit different from others of its kind.

The festival takes place at the beautiful Waterfront Park on one of the widest places of the Ohio River.  Looking down at the two main stages underneath the overpass bridge and seeing the river behind it with Louisville’s bridges in the background is an experience of its own.
                Is it cool to perform underneath bridges and hang out? The answer is yes, because a part of Forecastle Festival is actually underneath a major freeway bridge in Louisville. The bridge literally splits the festival in half, but that necessarily isn’t a bad thing. It’s another thing that makes Forecastle unique and special in its own way, and although it doesn’t have the skyline Lollapalooza offers, almost anywhere on the festival grounds you can look up to see the skyscrapers of Louisville which are pretty impressive in their own way.

2)      Jack White’s set list & performance

Despite everything Jack White’s been through lately and the recent hate that’s been spreading around, the man was surprisingly the best performer of Forecastle 2014. He drew the biggest crowd as well, which was another surprise to see even more people there for him on the main stage than Outkast the previous night. It was shoulder-to-shoulder packed!

Halfway through Jack White’s set, most haters of him at the festival were subsided. The man was energetic as ever and played heavy heartily into the night.  Lo and behold he was actually respectful to not only the massive 80k crowd that was in front of him, but the other musicians at the festival as well. One of the best moments of the festival was realizing that Jack White wasn’t as arrogant as everyone thought he was but still a hard working and positive musician.

 And of course, no one could disagree with the set list he played, which was one of the best ever in his career that consisted of mostly White Stripes songs and older material. It went emotional as well as the crowd sang out ‘uh, uh-uh uh oh-oh,’ during Seven Nation Army. He was the only performer at the festival to play past his schedule performance and did 30 minutes over time to make a 2 hour performance that was well worth attending and could make many haters into like minded fans.

Set list:

1)      Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground

2)      High Ball Stepper

3)      Lazaretto

4)      Hotel Yarba

5)      Blue Moon of Kentucky (Bill Monroe cover)

6)      Temporary Ground

7)      Missing Pieces

8)      Top Yourself (Raconteurs)

9)      Lover Interruption

10)   You know that I know (Hank Williams cover)

11)   We’re going to be Friends

12)   Cannon

13)   Astro

14)   You Gotta Move (Mississippi Fred McDowell Cover)

15)   Ball and Biscuit


16)   Icky Thump

17)   Misirlou

18)   Fell in Love with a Girl

19)   Steady as she Goes

20)   Sixteen Saltines

21)   Would you Fight for My Love

22)   The Hardest Button to Botton

23)   Just One Drink

24)   Seven Nation Army


Chris Thile

It was clear to most fans of the festival that Sunday was by far the best day overall for music, and it proved to be true (despite the last two performers, Beck & Ray LaMontagne were the worst out of the weekend). Earlier in the day when it was hottest, Chris Thile and Nickelcreek came onto the Boom Stage to a record breaking crowd in front of them. They delivered one of the most wonderful performances at the festival.

It was hot, but that didn’t stop the crowd dancing and moving or Chris Thile, as he played the mandolin with such passion it was like nothing else was left in the world. Every musician of Nickel Creek played together so well it sounded perfect, yet, Chris stuck out. The faces he made and the way he moved across the stage was priceless. It was a fantastic Forecastle moment to see one of bluegrass’s greatest groups play at their best. Their set list was powerful as well, which included such hits like ‘The Lighthouse’s Tale’ and ‘Reasons Why’. It also included surprise editions of more unique songs like ‘21st of May’ and ‘Elephant in the Corn.’ Finally another great moment of the set was the trio playing Fleetwood Mac cover of ‘The Ledge’ by lead singer and fiddler Sara Watkins.   


Moonshine & Barbeque
(Mayor of Louisville, festival creators & producers talking in media tent)

Even though there was plenty of great music throughout the 3 Days of Forecastle, that wasn’t just what the festival was about. Bourbon & great southern food/barbeque were both major players in the festival, and they both were fantastically and equally good. Ole Smokey Moonshine were serving four delicious flavors of their moonshine, with Electric Lemonade easily being the best one.

Eating great food and having a bourbon barbeque was fantastic as well. Pulled pork sandwiches and fantastic home made mac and cheese were the highlights of these treats  during the festival.


Interview with the Weeks

Hailing from Mississippi, the lead guitarist of the Weeks discussed what it was like being in a band playing Forecastle Festival that weekend and what it was like being a new group in today’s world.

Here are some questions & Answers from that Interview with lead guitarist Sammy D:

Sammy: We got in last night, later than Outkast.

Leo: So you missed Outkast? Huh? They were great!

Sammy: Man I know, I’m sure and he had the wig and everything it sucked we've been doing festivals all summer, when we first started doing them, you get all excited like “Oh my god all these bands are gonna be here and then you realize, the second that you say, you start making plans to see those bands you get an interview, or you get something else, and its like “fuck, I cant go. And so I've been thinking ll summer that forecastle they (Outkast) were playing, and we have been in the studio all week so I was like shit I'm going to miss and then we got here at like to our friends house. It was a bummer. 

Leo: Have you guys ever been here before, to Louisville?

Sammy: Yup, We’ve played Zanzibar a couple times. 

Leo: Sweet, we have been talking about going there. Is that a cool place?

Sammy: Its alright,. they’ve got a bunch of arcades. So the green room is this building on the other side of the street, and it is entirely, the whole thing, like, they probably have like 10 or so in the bar, they’ve got like 30 or 40 of these crazy awesome pinball machines in the green room. 

Justin: Is it all pinball or are there other types of games?

Sammy: No. There’s a bunch of weird, obscure shit. I’ve never heard of a single one in there. It’s got all these ones you put your face in and shit.

Leo: So you guys are playing tomorrow (7/20/14) right?

Sammy: Yea we are at like 2. We were here earlier today around the same time. Those festival slots are always weird like you know, you might get on a stage,. You know the early set at all festivals isn’t always a good thing, but Hurray for the Rif Raf were around that time today and they had a great crowd so.   

Leo: So who are you’re biggest influences?

Sammy: Right now its probably like Thin Lizzy, Lizzy is my jam.

Leo: So you guys are really into classic rock?

Sammy: Yea: The Band is our number one forever and always. The Band is the greatest of all time. Right now we have been pulling from a lot of bands we are friends with. Once you go on tour long enough you’ll see bands that you get to see every night and its like unbridled energy that doesn’t come from a gigantic stage. There are a lot big acts that are great but you kind of lose some of the spontaneity when you have to perform those big productions every single night. So its really hard to find bands that can still do that and still pull it together. 

Justin: So you said you are working in the studio. Are you guys coming out with a full length? What are you guys working on now?

Sammy: Yea we got an EP coming out next month. We start the next full length on Monday ( 7/21/14 ) That will probably be out last this year or early next year.

Leo: Do you guys have any tracks in mind or completed?

Sammy: Yea we probably have about 30 or 40 songs at this point. Which is something we have never really done before. We have 10 new songs we have a record. Trying to pick from a big pile.

Justin: So are you saving any of those songs for a later time if need be?

Sammy: Its never a bad thing to have a bunch of songs just laying around you know.hopefully in 30 years we are the biggest band in the world. People will need more Weeks songs. And we could say “Hey in 2014 we did 80.”

Justin: I have heard a lot different names thrown out there but who do you think you guys sound like?
Sammy: He (Chaz Lindsay, Vocals) gets told that he sounds like Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy but he gets a lot of Eddie Vedder. We all respect Pearl Jam but when we were growing up  its like the same thing. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. We were Nirvana boys. I’ve listened to them (Pearl Jam) since and I respect the shot out of them but we never grew up listening to them. So its weird that they are a big one. 

Leo: So do you guys write your own songs are is there someone else who does the writing. 

Sammy: Yea we definitely write our own songs. We grew up in Mississippi and there are so many cover bands. It took us six years as a band to cover anything. So we play all originals. 

Leo: So you don't have any covers?

Sammy: We have a handful that we do. Mostly David Bowie. We have this dream that one day we will perform Ziggy Stardust from cover to cover in latex and face paint. We’ve also got some Springsteen and Thin Lizzy.

Justin: Of those which songs do you pull out live?

Sammy: We break out the weird ones.Like the song in Reckless Fiction when he is sitting on the couch.  So I always imagined that maybe if I start playing this song, Maggie Gyllenhal is just going to come pounce on me and break my guitar. So far I’m like 0 for 80. She is my dream girl behind Jenny Lewis. I am going to woo her (Jenny Lewis) tomorrow.  


The rain during Outkast/Weather for the entire weekend.

The weather channel said it was going to be overcast and no rain for Friday in the high 70s or lower 80s. The later proved to be true, but when Outkast took the stage, a stead flow of sprinkling rain came onto the stage and everyone at the festival. However, the rain wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, it was actually a powerful experience dancing in the light shower and seeing the rain come down in front of the legendary hip hop group. The temperature was perfect so nobody ended up getting cold, in fact, the weather was great all weekend. It was surprisingly not too hot (except on the last day) nor humid, which is always a good thing when standing outside for 3 days during a music festival. Outkast were another group at the festival that although hip hop were fantastic and one of the best performances there as Big Boy and Andre 3000 came together to sing such hits like ‘Ms Jackson’, ‘So Fresh so clean’ and ‘Ms Jackson.’


                Band of Horses

                Band of Horses proved to be one of the better acts for the entire weekend as they opened up for Jack White on Saturday. Forecastle Festival gave them an impressive one hour and 30 minute time slot-which is just as long as the headliners. However after seeing them, one can understand why. The group has true power and force behind their music.
To match with the beautiful guitars and piano is the lead singer’s voice which has its own unique setting and tone which blends in perfectly with the other musicians and their own sounds. The set included some great Band of Horses songs from all over their career, including ‘The Funeral’, ‘Great Salt Lake,’ ‘Is There a Ghost’ and ‘Factory.’


                Gary Clark JR

                Speaking of voices, Gary Clark JR’s voice was more powerful than ever as he performed on the main stage in the afternoon on Friday before Outkast. No matter where you see him, Gary Clark JR will simply entertain you to the maximum amount as you can watch him and his guitar hammer away effortlessly. In today’s new music, he’s proving to be one of the best ever guitarists of all time and a demanding force in blues rock history with a voice that equally measures out to his music skill.

Performance Grades (Who I’ve seen @ Forecastle Festival 2014)

Friday, July 18th:

The Black Lips:                   ** out of 5 stars (2)

Against Me:                        *** out of 5 Stars (3)

Gary Clark JR:                     ****/* 4 out of 5 stars (4 in a half)

Twenty One Pilots:          ***/* out of 5 Stars

Outkast:                               ****/* 4 out of 5 stars (4 in a half)

Saturday, July 19th:

Lorde Huron                       **** out of 5 stars

Band of Horses                 ***** 5 out of 5 stars

Jack White                          ***** 5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, July 20th:

The Weeks:                        ***/* out of 5 stars

Sharon Van Etten             **** out of 5 stars

Trampled b Turtles          ***/* out of 5 stars

Nickel Creek                       ***** 5 out of 5 stars

The Replacements          ***/* out of 5 stars

Beck                                      ** Out of 5 stars

Best of Forecastle 2014:

Best Set list:                                                                        Jack White

Best Performance Over All:                                          Nickelcreek

Best single entertainer:                                                 Chris Thile

Hardest Working Performers:                                    Twenty one Pilots

Best performance that went with festival:           Outkast

Best Solo artist:                                                                 Sharon Van Etten

Best moment outside of music:                                 Moonshine happy Hours

Worst Performance:                                                       The Black Lips

Lorde Huron:
The Weeks:

Sharon Van Etten:

Trampled by Turtles:

The Replacements with Green Day:
Ray L: