Tuesday, July 22, 2008

At the Forefront

Every stage, every act, everything you need to know about the music that will be made at Forecastle

We asked Peter Berkowitz to check out every band and artist appearing at the festival. Here's his report:


Jamili Brown
5 p.m.
A seven-piece local band that cites in its press materials influences like "Outkast. Red Hot Chili Peppers. Neptunes. Tupac. Eagles." Still unclear? "JB loves to showcase their influences in cover songs ranging from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to The Beatles to 2Pac to The Eagles."

Code Red
6 p.m.
One of the best hip-hop crews in a town, even if national fame has eluded them. Code Red has worked hard for a few years to get heard. Show 'em some respect.

DJ 2nd Nature
7 p.m.
Forecastle's website brags that this Atlantan is ranked the "4 VJ in the world by DJ Mag." That probably makes him better than Dave Kendall, but not as good as Matt Pinfield. I just hope he's a Republican virgin!

Devlin and Darko of Spank Rock
8 p.m.
Spank Rock's 2006 debut, "YoYoYoYoYo," was the best hip-hop album of the decade, but rapper Naeem Juwan won't be part of the performance this time. Spank Rock without him is like Led Zeppelin without Robert Plant, but if you like dancing to people playing records, this will still be one of the better sets.

Del the Funkee Homosapien
9 p.m.
In the early '90s, few would have suspected that Del would last this long. He's too playful, too weird -- not gangsta enough, not sex-obsessed enough, not interested in the charts. These qualities and a well-developed flow (he provides the raps for the Gorillaz), have brought him fans and kept him afloat.

10 p.m.
Forecastle's 97-percent middle-class Caucasian audience has loved the Wu Tang Clan for years. The chance to see a member in person doesn't happen in Louisville very often. (Method Man already canceled.) Let's hope that the fourth-most-popular (living) member actually shows up.



Go Van Gogh
With a name like that, it's got to be good. But it's not, unless you like the over-heated frat rock heard in every miserable college town.

1 p.m.
Instant-classic sounding indie rock from Cincinnati that should sound perfect on a summer Saturday afternoon. Like the ad says, "Not too hard, not too soft … just right." Bring your girlie with you, she'll probably want to make out.

Morning State
2 p.m.
Four very young men from Atlanta/Athens, their classic approach to pop-rock blends the Shins, Phantom Planet and Foreigner in a stew that is crowd-pleasing and surprisingly athletic.

Margot & the Nuclear So and So's
3 p.m.
Being the best band in Indianapolis isn't really that awesome, so it's great to see Margot et al. getting discovered all over the country. This catchy, literate pop should be on the top of the charts and pouring out of everyone's hoopties all summer.

Film School
4 p.m.
I don't like untruths, so it pisses me off to see "featuring ex-member of Pavement" in the press materials for Film School. It's correct that a member (Scott Kannberg) played on their 2001 record, but that's it. He's not in the band. Anyway, speaking of the past, did you know that shoegazer bands still exist?

5 p.m.
A groove-based Atlanta rock band from the indie world that isn't "dance punk" and isn't a mopey wannabe Joy Division ripoff. Can you really dance to a indie-rock band? Yes! See you there.

Extra Golden
6 p.m.
Do you like Kenyan music but wish it could be fused with Chicago post-rock? Well, brother, come on down! Long story short, this is an international cross-pollination that doesn't come around often, so don't miss a musical experience of a lifetime.

7 p.m.
The fact that this Chicago group, which in the mid-'90s smashed rock, jazz, lounge and modern classical music together and shaped a sound that has since influenced thousands, is opening for a jam band called the Disco Biscuits says everything that is wrong about music festivals.

8 p.m.
While some might say that this gimmicky L.A.-based DJ (and Tommy Lee pal) peaked in 2001, he recently went to Kuwait with Carlos Mencia, Jessica Simpson and the Pussycat Dolls, so who am I to judge?

The Disco Biscuits
10 p.m.
Didn't this junk go out in 1994? They sound like the soundtrack to a bad movie on Cinemax about robots. I don't see how anyone who isn't an 8-year-old boy could possibly like this. I mean, do you like horrible, lazy, self-satisfied jam bands? Then you'll probably like this. But you shouldn't.


All We Seabees
12:30 p.m.
Folk-based indie rock from Nashville. Which means one of them probably waited on you the last time you ate in a restaurant in Hillsboro Village.

The Seedy Seeds
1:30 p.m.
A duo from Cincinnati who are cute cute cute! (Stay away if you don't like cute.)

D.W. Box and One Long Song
2:30 p.m.
A theatrical local who is somewhere between Broadway and Diamanda Galas. (In other words, best enjoyed at night, indoors or perhaps in the woods.)

Unwed Sailor
3:30 p.m.
Epic instrumental/cinematic big idea music from a collective now based in Lawrence, Kan.

Prizzy Prizzy Please
4:30 p.m.
Well, it's not the worst name you'll hear all weekend. If you're ready to have fun and let some wild kids get all crazy, these Bloomington goofballs would like nothing else. They will spazz their noise all over your ch'i.

People Noise
5:30 p.m.
One of these guys was in VHS or Beta for 10 years. You figure it out. They don't sound like John Mellencamp.



The Giving Tree Band
12:30 p.m.
A group that fell asleep at Woodstock and just woke up. Their blend of rural folk, bluegrass, and old timey country is as fresh and pure as their "environmentally friendly music" and "a band that rocks green" mottos are illogical. (What, did you walk here from Chicago?)

Arnett Hollow
1:30 p.m.
Locals grounded in bluegrass (and, perhaps, a bit of extra rock 'n' roll energy) who began from a concept - a bluegrass "opera"? - and can be seen regularly at bars around town. And proud we are of all of them.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
2:30 p.m.
Wait, what? The music takes a break for the festival's "keynote speaker," who just happens to be the eighth-most important member of the Kennedy dynasty. Well, it's still better than Jack Johnson.

Gran Bel Fisher
3:30 p.m.
No pressure, Gran Bel Fisher, he's just a Kennedy. The lad (his name is spelled incorrectly on the festival website) is such an insufferably sensitive singer-songwriter twit that I'm surprised that he plays anywhere but college coffeehouses. Who else but those girls would tolerate this?

Catfish Haven
4:30 p.m.
From Chicago, home of the Blues Brothers, comes this oddly soulful rock band that only needs to be heard to increase its fanbase. It would take a cold, dark heart to not be impressed by the genuine feeling, talent and dedication.

5:30 p.m.
The first song on this band's MySpace is called "Scuff Muffin." Take your bong back to the basement and learn how to play music, guys. (F.Y.I.: You do realize that the cantina band in "Star Wars" was supposed to be funny, right?)

The Del McCoury Band
6:20 p.m.
One of the greatest bluegrass bands in existence today graces us with its beautiful vocalizing, harmonizing and amazing musicianship. If you don't like Del and the boys, then you don't like life and I don't like you.

Dr. Dog
7:40 p.m.
It's America's Gomez, road warriors from Philadelphia making their 23rd trip to Louisville this year and doing their dangdest to win you over with a '60s-inflected classic rock sound that always works on a sunny day.

The New Mastersounds
8:45 p.m.
I don't get how none of the oxy-fueled faux-freaks who love jam bands listen to actual jazz, yet somehow can appreciate a well-done approximation of the real thing like this. These Brits have played with Lou Donaldson and Idris Muhammed, names which will mean nothing to fans of Ekoostik Hookah.

Ekoostik Hookah
10 p.m.
This is a headliner? This sounds like what happens when guys who used to play together in high school get together at their 25th high school reunion and jam one more time.


The Town Criers
Led by Mick Sullivan of the dearly departed Fire the Saddle, this rootsy group includes guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, tuba and drums. That's right, drums. Weird, huh?

Otis Gibbs
1 p.m.
From the unfashionable state of Indiana comes this Socialist-seeming folk singer of the type that was only fashionable for a moment in the late '50s. (But you don't follow fashion, do you?)

Backyard Tire Fire
2 p.m.
Some bands do a great job of picking a name that tells you about their music. This is punky/rootsy/alt-country/heavy drinkin' rock, right? Yeah, pretty much. It's not as on the nose as Drive-By Truckers, but it also doesn't get old as quickly -- just like their music.

4 p.m.
Once tagged as Louisville's Coldplay, the Cabin mates have yet to marry a Gwyneth, father an Apple, be savaged by the New York Times or be produced by Brian Eno. But there's still time!

5 p.m.
Like Medeski Martin & Wood, these U of L alums do a respectable job simulating post-bop jazz. They might even make you dance, but it's a challenge -- when was the last time you danced at 5 in the afternoon?


Chris Volpe
1:15 p.m.
From Nashville, an independently-minded, finger-pickin' folker who's just a little too interesting to ever get played on the radio, unfortunately.

Josh Garrels
2:15 p.m.
Garrels' "soulful" "grooves" will help convert you to his ministry. (And this time, I don't just mean fanbase. This Indianapolis singer/songwriter is a true believer amongst Mary Magdalene and the lepers.)

Brigid Kaelin
3 p.m.
If you live here and are interested in music, you don't need me to tell you that this is one of the most popular and respected singer-songwriter-keyboardist-accordianista-saw players in town, do you?

c. 2008 Velocity Weekly

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