Posted by: hankwillenbrink | July 21, 2009

REVIEW: Forecastle Day Two

Arnett Hollow

CJ: If i hadn’t have already heard so many good things about Arnett Hollow, this performance would have been my biggest surprise of the weekend. For as long as I’ve lived in Louisville, I had never gotten around to seeing them perform. My disappoint of this has now fallen into the ‘epic’ range. The group’s concise take on modern bluegrass (or newgrass, even though i hate this term) provided one of the more interesting and lively shows I saw on Saturday. If nothing else, Arnett Hollow made me extremely happy to live in this town. If you’re given the opportunity to see them in town (or anywhere else for that matter) you’d better take it. They are the voice of our town’s heavy breathing. Just ask Silver Jews. 


The New Mastersounds

(compliments of Keith Robbins)


CJ: Damn I love me some Afrobeat.

Dead Confederate

H: This was my first time to see Dead Confederate.  And to be honest, I wasn’t blown away.  The Athens, GA based group seems to be making a splash across the modern rock circuit.  But the droney, noise-heavy group never put anything together that I was stoked about.  Still, the gathering crowd showed the rich promise for Confederate’s fanbase.  I’ll wait it out until I join them.

Black Crowes

H: There’s something so effortlessly incredible about the Black Crowes.  There’s almost a throwback quality seeing them live.  All us indie kids are into two person bands, bands with multi-instrumentalists.  The Black Crowes have their roles — lead singer, bass, rhythm — and they execute them with precision.  Mining that deep pool of southern-fried rock ‘n roll you can tell there’d be no MMJ without the Black Crowes.  As the tie between groups like the Jacket and the Band, the Crowes stand on their own.  Oh, yeah, and they played “Hard to Handle”.

CJ: They played “Hard to Handle”.

DJ Dory

H: Seeing an Asian female DJ is as rare as seeing two horses kissing.  DJ Dory didn’t let us down, tho.  I’m not a fan of turntable-ism or electronica or whatever you call it.  But, it was hard not to enjoy myself watching Dory’s leg shake to the beat while folks danced in the fountain behind us.  Sorry we didn’t make it to Asiatique afterwards, Dory.  Still, you rocked us while we were here.

CJ: Dory came to Forecastle prepared. Before she even began her set, she handed me a CD as a walked through the ocean stage tent. I expected a single, but found out later that evening that what she gave me was a full length album will no stops, smooth transitions, and everything else the house fanatic in your family will enjoy. It should make everyone’s Christmas list this year. I mean… just look at her! How can you say no to that face?

Royal Bangs

H: Anyone who reads this blog knows that we’re enamored with Knoxville’s Royal Bangs. Having visited the small venue Skull Alley a couple times over the past months, this was our chance to see them if not on the big stage then on the bigger stage than they’re used to. What could have been an awkward transition given the Bangs’s hyper-audience driven shows (they’ve usually got that second drum set right down there with us) turned out to be more like we’re used to. In the first song, Henry, the bass player for the Royal Bangs, stormed into the crowd with a tambourine. It was the perfect energizer to a humid Saturday evening. As the group rollicked through the highlights off We Breed Champions, nothing seemed out of place at all. Sure the skyline was in the background, but the Royal Bangs made us feel like we were at home. Capping off the set was show stealer “Brother” whose two drum onslaught withered any haters who may have just been stopping by on their way to Panic.


CJ: The Annuals set was the biggest surprise show i saw at Forecastle. I had never heard of them prior, and truthfully was sticking around between the Royal Bangs and Man Man sets, but damn… I’m glad I stayed. Every member of Annuals that sings (at least four members) has an immaculate voice. These voices mixed with the aggressive post-rock driven by Anna Spence’s piano made the Annuals set the closest experience to church I have seen at a live show since Sigur Ros (hot shit, i did just say that. maybe i was a little drunk. i’m going with it). Upon further review, I have found that their recorded material is quality as well. See Annuals if they come around. They will make you a believer. 

Man Man

H: Before Man Man took the stage, there was an awkward incident in the press room.  Honus Honus (pictured above) showed up at the Royal Bangs interview.  He started answering questions, rubbing the drummer from Royal Bangs hair comparing it to mouse hair, and the stunt ended with Honus looking at Cory complimenting his smile and saying — “If I worked at a convenience store, he’d be on my milk carton.”  We never saw Cory again.  JK!  He took that picture!  LoL!

Man Man was there to harsh the shit out of Forecastle.  And they succeeded.  Undoubtedly the best show of the festival.  Man Man slayed for an hour and a half.  Their disturbing sounds mixing with the insanity of the stage show.  Honus throwing water, slamming his entire body into the Rhodes piano, and the rest of the band making strange faces and singing like castratti.  What’s incredible about Man Man isn’t just the songwriting, the strange place that you enter when you listen to them, or the antics.  It’s how well the chaos is done.  Dissonance gets attention.  Music is a collection and arrangement of noise and silence.  Man Man is a hurly burly of bluster, noise, and nervous breakdowns.  But, at the heart of it, there’s still a heart.  As “Van Helsing Boombox” closed us down you could catch the real glimpse of what Man Man is all about — insanity because “nothing is everything.”

SK: Unfortunately my only real thoughts from Day 2: Don’t ever try to drink a 45 oz margarita when you haven’t eaten and its 120 degrees outside./ Madi Diaz is amazing and probably my favorite find of the festival.  Her voice is incredible and her songs were gorgeous.  I expect to be hearing tons from her in the near future.  Also, Madi, if you read this and are looking….I’m single.  Just throwing it out there./Royal Bangs killed it as always./I missed the Black Crowes boat.  I’d rather just listen to their LIVE record in some air-conditioning./Annuals were cute….and that’s about it./The Deep Vibration was solid as always./US Royalty was a pleasant suprise with their balls to the wall rock n roll./Really wish I wasn’t too sick to see Man Man.  I heard it was epic.


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