The first show I saw on Saturday was Louisville’s own 23 String Band, who came out on stage to the lovely Marion Dries of 91.9 WFPK announcing “The 23 string band has informed me that they have added more strings, free of charge for the Forecastle audience.” I met with Scott Moore, fiddle player for the band, under the conditions of our previous interview, and he’s just as cool in person as he is on phone interviews. I was told that 23 string is working in studio right now for a new album.
Following a suggestion given to me in the press tent, I did end up wondering over to the Foxygen show and was pleasantly surprised. Their psych-pop sound was a relief to hear as the four piece rocked the socks off of the crowd with great confidence. Later in the set Sam France broke the barrier, climbing into the crowd to sing an entire song. Their fuzzbox fueled guitars and time signature jumping rhythm section tied the sound together to deliver a grand performance to the Forecastle audience.
After Foxygen finished their set, the grounds were evacuated due to a storm that was rolling in from the west with seventy mile winds and dime sized hail predicted to hit the city of Louisville. Hordes of attendees were set loose on the downtown streets, filling bars, restaurants and parking lots evenly. A little rain sprinkled over the city and the grounds were opened back to the public.
Do you remember the cute girl from high school who wore floral skirts and started a band for the talent show where everyone found out that she shreds on a Stratocaster? Well some boy in Wales is kicking himself for never asking her out right now, and 37 Flood is right there with him, because she grew up and started the aptly named Joy Formidable. The Welsh rock trio had a sound as big as the river and as loud as the Fjords in a hurricane. Ritzy Bryan (the trio’s guitarist and lead vocalist) couldn’t sit still as she ran back and forth from the drum kit to the bass rig as she played her heart out, breaking those of all in attendance as she wailed through their hour and fifteen minute long set. The performance came to an appropriate halt as she smashed her guitar on the amps like a true grunge veteran.
The highlight of the day was inarguably the Flaming Lips’ set. The band took the light covered stage to open with crowd favorite Look… The Sun is Rising through their new album’s title track and into The W.A.N.D., Coyne clutching a baby doll wrapped in strands all the while, kissing and rocking it to sleep. The band emphasized throughout that this was “the perfect fucking night” for a Flaming Lips show, with Wayne shining a handheld lamp on the audience deemed “the pot smoking light.” He was dressed like he bought his suit from David Bowie's garage sale.
If you’re a band with the reputation that the Lips have, it’s really easy to tour promoting your current album, but that’s not what the Flaming Lips are about. The band played six tracks from The Terror, and two from Embryonic (Virgo Self-Esteem Broadcast, and Silver Trembling Hands). Not only did they play from all three albums from their famous trilogy (including the obligatory Do You Realize), but they went as far back as to grace the audience with Unconsciously Screamin’ from their 1990 release In a Priest Driven Ambulance and a cover of Devo’s Gates of Steel.
Overall, the evacuation was inconvenient for everyone, but who cares? The festival staff was trying to keep everyone safe and none of the performances were cancelled as a consequence. Day 2 in general was the highlight of my Forecastle experience, regardless of the overlap.