Sunday, July 20, 2014

Logan's Forecastle 2014 Day 2 Review

Day two began similarly to day one, overcast, breezy, but no misting like the day before. Completely exhausted from Friday's events, I didn't make it down to the waterfront until a little before Jalin Roze started. But once he did, it seemed like the day was finally in full swing. There was a crowd of a couple hundred in attendance when The Grand Nationals started into "Give it Up." Roze's crowd engagement and the Grand Nationals' intensity kept momentum until the Pass joined them on stage for a song. It was great to see so many people come out for a local hip-hop act, whether the audience was full of Louisvillians or not, he delivered an exceptional performance and got some much-needed exposure for Louisville's expanding hip-hop scene.
Jalin Roze. Photo by NA James/Eleven Music Magazine
An hour or so after Jalin wrapped up, Jason Isbell took to the Boom Stage with his band the 400 Unit. What struck me about this band is the quality of the songwriting itself. Having formerly been involved in folk music, I've had a limited exposure to Isbell's work, hearing a track here and there, receiving countless recommendations over the years, I knew that his was a set worth seeing. He played some of his songs that I'd recognized like Codeine, Alabama Pines, Cover me Up. I was really impressed however with Elephant, a song about a lover's diagnosis with cancer. 
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Here I have to say that there were two acts that I never expected to see at Forecastle. Often, it seems, a lot of the bands selected are safe bets. Bands that people will definitely show up to see. But Forecastle took a risk this year with Dwight Yoakam and Slint, unfortunately they had conflicting showtimes, but these things cannot be avoided. During this time, I bounced back and forth between Slint's set (which featured original members: Brit Walford, Brian McMahan, and Dave PAJO) and Yoakam's set. All bets aside, I'd probably say the highlight of the day was Yoakam's cover of Elvis' "Suspicious Minds" which soared for about six minutes with crashing highs, nearly silent lows, and one hell of an organ solo.
Before I begin my review of Jack White's performance, let me just say that I have been a fan of his before. When Great White Northern Lights came out, I busked in front of the record store until I had enough money to buy it. Before the Dead Weather released their first album, I'd already bought a single and saw them perform live. When the White Stripes officially broke up, I sulked around the house with my red guitar playing their songs all day. That being said, Nashville has ruined Jack White for me. I'm not sure exactly what prompted the Detroit Rocker's transition to pseudo-country frontman, but the Harvey Dent quote comes to mind, "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."
Throughout his set White sprinkled in Dick Dale, Hank Williams, and nine White Stripes covers (most of which felt contrived or obligatory). Though on a more positive note, he did run twenty minutes over curfew after leaving the stage for ten minutes around 10:40, and end with a stripped-down and intimate cover of "Seven Nation Army" before joining his band to take a bow and leaving the stage.
Jack White. Photo by NA James/Eleven Music Magazine

Special thanks to Kristen Luther and Na James of Eleven Music Magazine for sharing images of Forecastle 2014.

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