The Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Kentucky started ten years ago as nothing more than a PA system and some lawn chairs. Since then, the festival has expanded into a powerhouse summer tradition that has grown so large it offers its own off-shoot festival in January.
With an expected attendance of over 30,000 people, the line-up offers a wide enough variety of bands (My Morning Jacket, Flying Lotus, Preservation Hall Jazz Band) to keep everyone happy. Here are five bands playing this weekend that will definitely make the summer swelter worthwhile.
Beach House’s moody pop is perfect for slow-motion tracking shots. The Baltimore-based duo released their fourth album Bloom just a few months ago and have kept up the frowny-face streak with a lush offering anchored by Alex Scally’s spiraling guitars and vocalist Victoria Legrand’s sullen, operatic restraint. If you are just looking for a nice corner to sway by yourself, this duo has just the soundtrack for you.
Justin Townes Earle
Sixty-six percent of Earle’s name is loaded with a folkie responsibility few people would be willing to take on. The son of Steve Earle and named after the late Townes Van Zandt, Justin has forged his own identity without losing his lineage. He is a charismatic performer who can carry a crowd with just his voice and a guitar. Although only 30, Earle has lived and imbibed enough for a lifetime. He has an undeniable troubled charm that women want to cure and men wish they could exude.
Stax! Soul Revue
Pennsylvania-based Dr. Dog are a ragged crew of touring veterans. Their newest release Be the Void, although a little cleaner than their previous releases, doesn’t hold off on the back porch rock. The band’s alternating lead vocalists, Toby Leaman with his throaty bark and Scott McMicken’s sensitive persistence, combine to make for a multifarious musical identity but always keeps its feet planted in the catchiest road-tested hooks.
The 60-something Bradley, affectionately referred to as the “Screaming Eagle of Soul,” only has one album to his name. The tireless showman scraped together a living through kitchens and various cover bands until being discovered by the soul revivalists at Daptone Records, which is home to Sharon Jones. Bradley is now making up for that lost time with a documentary and steady itinerary outside of Brooklyn. His weathered howl deserves all the recognition it can get.
—Sean J. O’Connell