Forecastle Reivew: Day 1

Photo by Christine Hudson

“When we got here, it smelled like rain. Now it just smells like weed and vagina. And a little sunshine”

Slug’s assessment of the weather during Atmosphere’s 7:30 set was met with grandiose cheers and raised, waving hands from the audience. He wasn’t that far off, either; the weather forecast had called for a 50% chance of rain, but it never came. Skies were cloudy and temperatures were warm, but definitely tolerable enough to not deter from riveted dancing and singing.

Atmosphere’s hour-long set bounced from album to album, playing “Sunshine” from Sad Clown Bad Summer following Slug’s cheeky statement about the weather, then moved into “Shoulda Known” from When Life Gives You Lemons. He asked permission from the audience, unnecessarily, to play “some old shit” and made so many shouts to Louisville and Kentuckians that I lost count.

Slug continued to talk to his fans after one song, “My kind of people. I could tell the minute that I heard your voice- my kind of people. And when I say ‘my kind of people’ I’m not talking about the people that buy my records. I’m talking about the kind of people that like to start fires and drink beers out of cans and shit. My kind of people. So this song is for you.”

Atmosphere followed the introduction with “Guarantees” to which Slug suggested the audience sing along. “It’s like a campfire song,” he said. Guitarist Nate Collis traded his electric for an acoustic and took a seat for the mellow, groovy tune. Orange beach balls from a festival sponsor bounced around the front half of the crowd as the band played.

Photo by Christine Hudson

“Ya’ll are really good at this. You put on a good show, Louisville. I feel like we should probably do something off of an old record called ‘Overcast’ from a long time ago. That was the first time that I started to move around and started going to a city called Cincinnati for a thing called Swivel Jams. And that was when I first started meeting some of the mother fuckers from Louisville- the rappers and DJs and hustlers and weirdos. And now I’m out here kicking orange balls in the air. It’s a fuckin’ weird road. This song is called ‘Scapegoat’; it’s mad old. I hope you like it.”

Photo by Danielle Look

Sleigh Bells gave a very energetic performance, due in large part to Alexis Krauss’ endless bouncing back and forth across the stage and her raspy, sporadic screams. The duo’s music was much more raw and vivid in person than their recorded work is and offered a pleasantly stimulating live experience. I was puzzled, however, by the absence of a drummer or DJ given the music’s heavy, pounding percussion lines. Nonetheless, being a relatively young band with only two albums released, all the classic favorites were played- “End of the Line” from 2012’s Reign of Terror, as well as “Tell ‘Em”, “Treats” and “Infinity Guitars” from 2010’s Treats.

“HOLY SHIT! We were here in Louie-ville two years ago,” Krauss stated, obviously not a local by her botched pronounciation of the city. “We haven’t played here in a long time. We played at Zanabar. Who was there? And it was probably like 110 degrees and about 100 people. So to come back and have all you guys show up is pretty fuckin’ incredible.”

Photo by Christine Hudson

Flying Lotus was the perfect transition from Sleigh Bells’ raw noise-pop punk rock to Bassnectar’s wompy electronic dance music. His set fell somewhere in the middle; nearly three quarters of the show incorporated sexy, electro-groove with the remaining quarter consisting of the occasional dubstep track and easily identifiable samples (e.g. “Niggas in Paris” by ‘Ye & Jay-Z; “Intergalactic” by The Beastie Boys; a particularly stimulating version of “Original Don” by Major Lazer; and exhilarating set-closer “Hard In Da Paint” that nearly incited a riot at The Red Bull Stage). With a performance consisting of largely lyricless songs, Flying Lotus emphasized sound and music’s ability to arouse- evidenced by a moderately sized, rambunctious crowd that stayed until the very end of his show, despite Bassnectar’s 30-minute overlap.

Oh, ya know, just a party under a bridge in the middle of the city.

Photo by Christine Hudson

As Bassnectar played Friday night’s closing set, temperatures were still high and the untamed dancing fans continued to sweat buckets until the very last bass drop. From revered classics like “Timestretch” to new VaVaVoom favorites such as “Ping Pong” and set-ending “Pennywise Tribute”, Bassnectar delivered another impeccable performance as testament to the reason that the industrious producer dominates late-night schedules at festival across the country.

Photo by Danielle Look

“Forecastle, you beautiful people! Can we take a family photo?” he asked as the clock approached midnight.

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Day one at Forecastle closes & attendees head home.

Almost immediately after Bassnectar left the stage, Forecastle security went to work shooing festival attendees out of the park. I managed to sweet-talk one on the other side of the gate at the front of the main stage into handing me one of the bajillion beach balls lying at his feet. I then inquired with some locals about an after party somewhere on Washington Street that I had gotten wind of, but decided against going after their cautionary reaction when I told them the location. My friend and I checked out a few art booths on our way to the exit before again being pushed along by security.

Outside the gate, red and blue lights flashed on both sides of the street and cops on four-wheelers continued to keep rowdy festival-goers on track toward their cars and cabs. A playful pair of guys took interest in my beach ball and commenced an impromptu game of sidewalk volleyball that lasted nearly 10 minutes before we got another warning to move along; I heeded my third notice and headed back to the hotel for a late-night snack and a good night of rest before embarking on day two at Forecastle.