I began the final day for Forecastle with Blue Sky Black Death, a production duo coming out of Seattle, Washington. These two pump out dirty beats that had the crowd feeling like we were all on purple drank.
Chrome Sparks followed Blue Sky Black Death with a beautifully layered electronic experience. The electronic/ambient/dance group shook the crowd from their BSBD haze and brought them into a jazzy set full of delightful ear candy.
I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to see Sun Kill Moon (the guy has a catalog that goes back 23 years) but I’m glad I did because it was worth the wait. I was lost and the crowd was lost, swooning to the spoken words of Mark Kozelek. His lyrics are rooted in depression and the perils of life. He seems to be able to sing what we all wish we could say. Track him down; he’s worth it.
One of my most anticipated acts of the weekend was Tune-Yards, the audio kaleidoscope outfit founded by New England native Merrill Garbus. Her approach is so fresh. Tune-Yards’ live sets are full of layered vocals, drum loops, ukulele, dirty bass and some of the best back up dancers and singers around. I look forward to following Merril on her musical exploration.
The alternative rock legends that are known as The Replacements have influenced an entire genre and generation of artists. One such artist is Billie Joe Armstrong (the front man for Green Day), who was on stage to help carry Paul Westerberg and the veteran rockers through a set of youth anthems like “Bastards of Young” and “Cant Hardly Wait.” Seeming to stumble at moments, Westerberg’s outbursts and banter pleased the crowd nonetheless. The guy next to me said, “Yeah, they’re old fucks, but they still rock harder than half these Indie kids.” I couldn’t disagree.
As Beck started his set with “Devils Haircut” a fuse was lit that ignited the crowd and got them out of their sets and onto their feet. Soon we were all mimicking his funked-up Michael Jackson dance moves. Not long after, Beck confessed to his audience, “I don’t know if this is legal…” before busting into M.J. favorite “Billie Jean”. The festival came to a close with an incredible set full of old and new tracks that could have only come from the one, and only, Beck.
As I walked from stage to stage, from the beer tent to the port-o-potties, from the gate to the front rail, I kept thinking about Hunter S. Thompson, Louisville’s hell child. His presence was felt beside all of that southern charm and drawl. If Forecastle – and Louisville for that matter – is going to use his likeness as the figurehead for their journey, I think we’re going to see big things on the horizon, even if it’s a mirage were heading towards. Who knows… that mirage might turn out to be reality after all.
All photos by John Ellison.