The Forecastle Festival is where the midwest connects. In the ten years the festival has been going on, one of my favorite things about the event is the fact that bands from the midwest are always represented. So this year, when the likes of The Flaming Lips, Smashing Pumpkins and Spoon were announced as headliners, I wondered if our boys from Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Louisville would still be represented.
Of course they all were, and they were the perfect compliments to the big boys throughout the weekend. When we arrived on Saturday, the first thing that really turned my head was the new venue. Forecastle is now on Waterfront Park, taking 70 plus acres over for the entire weekend. The park is right on the mighty Ohio river and the backdrop and logistics of the entire place are perfect for an outdoor festival.
[singlepic id=70 w=320 h=240 float=left]
So what a great way to start my day with the nostalgia of Modern English on the main stage under the burning sun. We all got sunburned waiting to hear “Melt” and hear it we did. The dudes from Modern English might be past their prime, but seemed to be having a blast regardless. I hit up the East stage next and got a nice dose of home cooking from The Tillers. The Cincinnati trio sounded as fresh as the occasional breeze that drifted in from the Ohio and when it was all said and done, might have been the best thing I heard all day long.
The rest of the afternoon was good but nothing was really helping me overcome the rising temperatures. Of course, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals looked the part, but had a sub-par set in my opinion, possibly due to the heat as well. Walking around more I saw energy domes everywhere on [singlepic id=42 w=320 h=240 float=right]peoples heads, a sure sign that DEVO was near and ready to save the day. And they pretty much did just that. Their set was as high energy as bands half their age and complete with four costume changes to boot. The new stuff is not what anyone came for and the band knows that, mixing in the big hits and satisfying festival goers from 18-55.
When the sun finally gave us some relief in the evening, I made a bee line towards the east stage again to see Cloud Cult followed by We Were Promised Jetpacks. Even though I have seen both bands a few times, both are a real treat live and I was interested in Cloud Cults new material. Sadly, both sets were not up to par for different reasons. Cloud Cult had the most frustrating time, dealing with tech issues that could have amounted to a poor representative behind the boards. While WWPJ’s issues were with their pedals and the suddenly attacking mayflies around the stage. I fear that neither band was happy with the end result but both were good natured and I know I enjoyed their sets regardless.
Of course, all of this was to set up the night featured headliner, Smashing Pumpkins. Talk to anyone that is a fan of the band or a casual observer and you are likely to get some snark in [singlepic id=3 w=320 h=240 float=left]return. After all, Billy Corgan has not exactly been the nicest guy to front a rock band in the past 20 years. He has run off band-mates and fans alike but the Pumpkins are still alive and kicking, even if I did hear some fans refer to the latest iteration of the band as “The Billy Corgan Experience.” So imagine my surprise when the Pumpkins not only opened their set with “Today” but sounded really amazing in the process. The new material is pretty forgettable, but the hits are still the hits, and for this night at least, Corgan had Louisville eating out of the palm of his hand.