Sunday, July 19, 2015

Forecastle 2015 Day 1 Review

        It took a minute to get down here from Cincinnati so by the time I actually got into the festival, Cage the Elephant had been playing for fifteen minutes or so. The crowd was pretty tight when the show first started, but loosened up as the band did. The last time I'd seen them was at Starry Nights Music Fest in 2012, and the difference from then till now was incredible, like their stage presence has gained momentum with their career. As I got closer to the stage one man walking past me remarked "That guy is an animal" in reference to Matt Schultz, whose stage antics displayed the energy of a four year old. Matthan Minster stepped away from the keyboard and picked up a guitar to join Brad and Nick in the arpeggios for "Shake Me Down" which hovered over the audience like a thick fog.
         For their closer, "Sabertooth Tiger," Matt sang the first verse from the stage, then took to the audience with his microphone. It took him nearly a minute to get off the stage then over the barricade to his fans, sometimes rolling around surfing the crowd, others standing on top of them to sing his final verses. It was oddly reminiscent of Ian Svenonius' antics.

         Houndmouth took the Boom Stage in the middle of Cage's set. It was cool to see a hometown band that was scheduled for the Port Stage just two years before come back to a crowd that was anxious to see them. They've maintained all the same charms that they had when we last spoke to them, but with a nuance that comes with only experience. They also had an ASL translator stage left of the band, which I thought was really cool.
         Forecastle has always had a good ear for hip-hop acts, but the bulk of these end up on the Ocean Stage. On one hand, it's cool to have a stage that's almost exclusively for rap and dance music. On the other, the Ocean Stage is located directly under an overpass, which just naturally causes a large amount of reverberation. This is only exacerbated by the loud, bass-heavy, nature of the music that's most often slated for that stage. Remember when Run the Jewels played in 2013? The same thing happened for Big K.R.I.T.'s set this year. He delivered an incredible performance, but the sound quality was awful. Talib Kweli made a surprise appearance and everyone went apeshit when he played "I Got This."

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