Forecastle 2009

The Forecastle Festival has announced their complete Festival Lineup, including recent additions Man Man, Designer Drugs, Cage the Elephant, Jason Isbell & many many others spread across four stages (West, East, Ocean & Disco). I think it’s safe to say that this year’s lineup includes some of the biggest names that the festival has seen & while you may not be into some of the headlining jam bands, there’s still more than enough to keep everyone happy.

SCROLL DOWN for comprehensive previews for each of the bands performing at this year’s Forecastle Festival.

Friday, July 10

Time West Stage East Stage Ocean Stage Disco
4:00PM Erin Hill and her Psychedelic Harp
with the Space Rats

Lady Killers
Regional DJs
Disco Dome

DJ Electrolyte
Da Riddem Warriors

& many more…

Presented by
Forecastle Festival
“Where the Midwest Connects”

5:00PM Cage the Elephant
DJ Amtrak
5:30PM The Young Republic
6:00PM MudKids
6:30PM The Whigs
7:00PM The Lion’s Rampant
Kid Color
8:00PM Zappa plays Zappa
Bad Veins
8:30PM Hackensaw Boys
Jesse Jamz
9:30PM Pretty Lights
Designer Drugs
10:30PM Jason Isbell & 400 Unit
OK DeeJays
11:00PM The Black Keys
12:00AM After-Party ~ Tim Norris (12:00-1:00)
1:00AM After-Party ~ Designer Drugs (1:00-2:00)
2:00AM After-Party ~ Jesse Jamz & Kid Color (2:00-3:00)

Saturday, July 11

Time West Stage East Stage Ocean Stage Disco
12:00PM Sam Gracie and Ben Alan
Regional DJs
Disco Dome

DJ Electrolyte

& many more…

Presented by
Forecastle Festival
“Where the Midwest Connects”

12:30PM Paper Airplane
1:00PM Madi Diaz
1:30PM Deepak Sharma
2:00PM The Detroit Cobras
Arnett Hollow
3:00PM The Broderick
Hac Le
3:30PM The New Mastersounds
4:00PM The Afromotive
Paul Dailey
4:30PM The Deep Vibration
5:00PM Dead Confederate
5:30PM US Royalty
6:00PM Dory
6:30PM The Black Crowes
7:30PM Trevor Hall
8:30PM Royal Bangs
9:00PM Widespread Panic
9:30PM Annuals
10:00PM Brian Neckel
10:30PM Man Man
12:00AM After-Party ~ Hac Le (12:00-1:00)
1:00AM After-Party ~ Pretty Lights (1:00-3:00)

Sunday, July 12

Time West Stage East Stage Ocean Stage Disco
12:00PM Laylow
Regional DJs
Disco Dome

DJ Electrolyte

& many more…

Presented by
Forecastle Festival
“Where the Midwest Connects”

12:30PM Chemic
1:00PM Outformation
1:30PM Almira Fawn
2:00PM Rosi Golan
2:30PM Umphrey’s McGee
3:00PM Pokey Lafarge & S. City Three
Woodrow on the Radio
4:00PM Jonathan Tyler & Northern Lights
Kim Sorise
4:30PM Keynote Speaker
Christopher Childs
World Affairs Council (Intro)
Gringo Star
5:00PM You, You’re Awesome
5:30PM Yonder Mountain String Band
Adam Franklin
6:00PM Jason Clark (of SKL)
6:30PM The Instruction
7:00PM The Avett Brothers
7:30PM Seabird
8:00PM DJ Ben Wu
8:30PM These United States
9:00PM Widespread Panic
9:30PM Maps and Atlases
10:30PM Backyard Tire Fire

Keynote Speaker

Christopher Childs- An expert on energy, the former Greenpeace spokesperson and NACA Lecturer of the Year is the author of The Spirit’s Terrain: Creativity, Activism, and Transformation, a book which offers ways to draw on creative spirit to change the world.


Art Exhibition by Brad White and The Sustainable Living Roadshow ~ a caravan of educators, entertainers, artists and activists coordinating cross country tours that empower communities and individuals to utilize sustainable strategies for a healthier planet. At each stop, the caravan sets up experiential-learning villages, featuring workshops, speakers, and entertainment.


Over (60) environmental non-profits from (6) states, outdoor extreme sports park, speakers, panels, technology exhibits, films, and more.

# # # THE FORECASTLE FESTIVAL is where the Midwest connects®. Founded in Louisville, KY, the annual gathering is equal parts Music, Art, and Activism. A symposium for musicians, artists, and environmentalists, Forecastle connects the progressive Midwest. The 2009 fest is expected to draw thousands of patrons to the Louisville Waterfront ~ part of a scenic, $60 million dollar riverfront investment which attracts 1.5 million visitors a year. With national headliners and expanded line-ups, the festival will provide an unforgettable experience for all Forecastle travelers, converging in Louisville from the Midwest and beyond.

SPIN Magazine ~ “One of the Top 101 things to do in America” Paste Magazine ~ “One of the Top 33 Festivals in the Country” Discovery Channel ~ “Cream of the Crop of Midwest Events”

Forecastle‘s headliners have been announced for the July 10-12th performance and topping the bill is Jam band legends Widespread Panic (Hippies across the region rejoice). In keeping with the way jam bands like to do it, Widespread will be playing two of the three Forecastle nights. Interestingly, Forecastle is one of only three festival appearances this summer for Widespread. Panic is a band that hardly needs an introduction, with a following equally as fanatical as the Dead or Phish, with noticeably less arrests and confiscation of drugs.

Panic fans are fans in the truest sense of the word, thus now that tickets are on pre-sale at Ticketmaster, you’d better act quick to get your tickets because I envision these things to practically fly off the shelf for single day passes at $40 & three day passes at $100.

Recently prematurely attacked by Maxim for the release of their new album Warpaint after either a) illegally downloading the album from the Internet or b) reviewing an album without hearing it, and of Hard to Handle and She Talks to Angels fame, The Black Crowes are co-headlining Forecastle. Rolling Stone’s review of 2008’s Warpaint read “the first third of the album reveals some of the best range and craft of the band’s career” and that even the rough patches are forgivable because “the band sounds damn good”. I caught The Black Crowes back in 2001 in Nashville and they hadn’t lost a step from their Shake Your Moneymaker days. If they’ve ever been to Louisville, it’s been a long time…but let’s be honest, it’s been a long time since The Black Crowes have been worth listening to, and while you might leave them written off, you shouldn’t because it’s time to give them a second chance because with this album, they’re back and ready to start looking forward rather than back to the 90s.

One of the last true great rock bands, Ohio-based The Black Keys, are co-headlining Forecastle Festival this year. In the vein of The White Stripes in the way that these two carry off the Guitar+Drums only format, The Black Keys are meant to be a festival band. I call them one of the true great rock bands because they have a sound so absurdly big that it cannot be contained and they just seem so natural on stage. Black Keys recently opened for local hometown gods My Morning Jacket, and made for a perfect fit as they’re nearly just as face melting.

On their most recent performance in Louisville, the show sold out CityBlock (if I recall correctly), and they’re sure to sell just as many tickets for Forecastle. Could be best to buy tickets early, because at $40 for a single day passes & three day passes at $100 (available at Ticketmaster), they’re likely to go fast.

Man Man, one of Backseat Sandbar’s absolute favorites, will be performing at this year’s Forecastle. We caught Man Man at Headliners Music Hall back in March 2008 and at The Dame the October before that. Initially, I was intrigued by Man Man’s debut album, but it wasn’t until seeing these guys perform live that you can totally appreciate the madness that is Man Man. Perhaps most importantly, you need to prepare yourself for weirdness abounding from all corners as the insanity of the band is reflected from their crowd, with fake mustaches, fruit costumes, etc. Similarly, the on-stage barking is just one aspect of a show so animalistic and primal that you feel as thought you might have wandered by accident into an ape cage at the zoo.  OF course I mean all of that in the most beautiful and fun way possible….

I cannot recommend highly enough that you catch Man Man at this year’s Forecastle.

Rounding out the Forecastle Headliners is The Avett Brothers. The Avett Brothers make for a perfect Forecastle band, carrying influences of folk, rock and maybe even a little punk, these guys transcend any single identifiable genre to blend the lot of them to act as a complete cross-section of the entire festival. The Avett Brothers have played Louisville a couple times, including last year’s Coyotes show and 2007’s Waterfront Wednesday. These guys are exactly the type f band that Louisville and the WFPK crowd goes nuts over, and this show should feed everyone’s craving.

Zappa Plays Zappa

The band debuted in 2006 with shows in Europe, Canada and the United States during May and June (the tour was also known as Zappa Plays Zappa – Tour de Frank’). The shows presented a collection of Frank Zappa’s rock-oriented compositions from 1960s to 1980s. Apart from Dweezil Zappa on lead guitar, the band consisted of a mix of relatively unknown young musicians and older musicians who previously played with Frank Zappa. Among those, Napoleon Murphy Brock (sax, flute and vocals) was an integral part of the band, while drummer (and singer) Terry Bozzio and electric guitarist Steve Vai performed as guests in parts of the shows. At several shows Frank Zappa himself performed songs posthumously via synchronized audio/video technology, notedly portions of “Chunga’s Revenge”, “Dumb All Over”, and “Cosmik Debris”.

After a break, the band played again in the US during the Fall of 2006, including a show in New York on October 31. This revived Frank Zappa’s tradition of playing Halloween shows in New York. A DVD documenting the 2006 tour was released in early 2008.

In July and August 2007, the band played a North American tour, with a core line up similar to that of the 2006 band. The band then played in Europe during September and October, before returning to the US, starting with another Halloween show in New York. Special guest on the tour is vocalist and guitarist Ray White. They ended the 2007 tour in Australia in early December before doing a handful of shows in Japan in January 2008. Steve Vai returned as a guest on those shows. A brief tour of U.S. and Canadian dates is currently scheduled for the Summer of 2008 with the same line-up as the 2007 tour.

At the 51st Grammy Awards in February 2009, Zappa Plays Zappa won best rock instrumental performance for their performance of “Peaches en Regalia”.

Umphrey’s McGee

Umphrey’s McGee is an American progressive rock/jam band originally from South Bend, Indiana, now based in Chicago, Illinois whose music is often[citation needed] referred to as “progressive improvisation.”

Though the band’s approach to their live performances has much in common with Phish and the Grateful Dead (ever-changing setlists, constant improvisation, two sets per night, open-taping policy), they are much more influenced musically by progressive rock bands such as King Crimson, Yes, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Frank Zappa, and Genesis, as well as heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden. The band also identifies The Police, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin as primary influences.

Umphrey’s McGee – Can You Hear Me Knocking (Rolling Stones Cover)

Yonder Mountain String Band

Colarado’s YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND, known for its high-energy, improvisational live shows has just released (April 15, 2008) a new live album on the band’s own Frog Pad Records. This marks the 5th volume in their lauded series of live albums, Mountain Tracks. Blending bluegrass and rock with traditional instrumentation (guitar, bass, mandolin and banjo), YONDER has pioneered a sound that is their own over the past ten years as a band.

Mountain Tracks: Volume 5, a double-disc CD featuring the unreleased and in-demand live show from Columbus, OH at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion (July 21, 2007) truly captures this sound. It also features a compilation disc of the best live tunes handpicked by the band from the past couple of years. As bassist Ben Kaufmann notes, “it’s a ‘through-the-years set of music” with the material ranging from 2004 through 2007. The compilation album has been sequenced so that it recreates the flow of an actual live show. It connects all the key elements of a live Yonder show: the fans, the music, the band and the energy.

Yonder (Adam Aijala-guitar, Jeff Austin-mandolin, Dave Johnston-banjo and Ben Kaufmann-bass) first came together in September 1998 over a growing love for bluegrass that quite unexpectedly brought the four players together during a free-for-all jam session at The Verve, a bar outside of Boulder, in 1998. Once they met, they knew they were onto something. “It was an eye-opening experience because we heard a unique sound,” says Johnston. “Something coalesced that night.”

Emphasizing song craft and unafraid to push its boundaries, things began snowballing quickly. In 1999, the band debuted with Elevation, produced by Grammy-winning dobro player Sally Van Meter and released (like each of its ensuing studio discs) on their own Frog Pad Records. Yonder Mountain returned in 2001 with Town by Town, helmed by Grammy Award winning songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Tim O’Brien. Van Meter was back behind the boards for the 2003 set Old Hands, a concept album of sorts that featured the songwriting of Benny “Burle” Galloway. Featured on the evocative tunes about cowboys, miners and all sorts of hard-livin’ Western folk were O’Brien, lauded fiddleman Darol Anger (Bela Fleck, David Grisman Quintet, Vassar Clements) and dobro player Jerry Douglas (Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris). In between those studio discs, the band released Mountain Tracks Volume 1-IV, issued on Frog Pad Records, and each capturing the energy of its increasingly popular live shows. Their last studio release, “Yonder Mountain String Band” was produced by rock producer Tom Rothrock (Foo Fighters, Elliot Smith, Beck) creating a sound for the band that continues to close the gap between bluegrass and rock. It’s an album that “represents us more than any other record we’ve done,” states Aijala, “because it incorporates more of our musical influences than ever before. It’s a really cool thing to be a part of and I’ll never take for granted just how lucky we are to do what we do. It makes me more excited for the future.”

With little radio support, Yonder Mountain has become one of the fastest rising touring bands in the country, its fanbase having ballooned over the past five years through steady gigging and high-profile festival sets, all of which are full of improv and none of which feature the same set list. “Now that we’re maturing as performers, our improvisation is more beholden to playing with good tone, good feel, good timing,” says Johnston.

It can’t be understated just what the band has achieved with that untraditional banjo/bass/mandolin/guitar line-up. Using bluegrass as its bedrock, the band has grown like few rock bands even do these days. “It’s funny,” says Austin. “But now we’re selling out Red Rocks in Denver, just 40 miles from where we became a band.” Yonder will return to Red Rocks August 2nd after last year’s triumphant sold-out show. This summer will be a big year for the band with a co-headline tour with longtime collaborator Keller Williams, lots of festivals (Bonnaroo, Rothbury, Telluride Bluegrass, the band’s own North West String Summit), and ending the summer with a hometown show at Red Rocks.

Yonder Mountain String Band- Girlfriend is Better (Live)

Pretty Lights

Pretty Lights is the musical vision of the ultra-versatile Colorado based producer Derek Vincent Smith, accompanied in the live setting by drummer, Cory Eberhard. Together these two achieve a raw energy rarely reached in the realm of electronic music. At a time when music lovers from almost all subcultures, and genres are finding common ground in the basic form of bangin’ beats, Pretty Lights is giving the people what they want; electro organic cutting-edge party rocking beats that fill venues with energy and emotion, and send dance floors into frenzies. What makes Pretty Lights truly different tho, is that these beats have serious soul. Derek’s latest album, “Filling Up The City Skies” is a two disc, 26 track journey through past, present, and future. He juxtaposes collages of beautiful vintage samples against backdrops of futuristic synthesis and dirty broken beats, creating a sound that can snap your neck while simultaneously shedding your tears. The album has been downloaded over 30,000 times from the Pretty Lights website in the short 3 months since its release, proving that the PL sound is not only getting around, it’s spreading like a virus.

Pretty Lights- Maybe Tomorrow

Pretty Lights- Solamente

New Mastersounds

The New Mastersounds are a four-piece band based in Leeds, England, whose modern take on vintage soul-jazz, funk and rock draws influences from Jimmies McGriff, Smith, and Hendrix, as well as their most closely-associated mentors, The Meters. Try to imagine Grant Green and Lou Donaldson having a fight in a Hammond Organ shop while James Brown holds the coats, and you have some idea of what to expect from this band. Their first single, One Note Brown, was released on Blow It Hard Records in 2000 and was passionately championed by acclaimed Northern Soul and funk DJ Keb Darge. To date, the band has released four studio records: 102%, This Is What We Do, Be Yourself, Keb Darge Presents… as well as The New Mastersounds Re::Mixed, and Live At La Cova. Also of note: their single, “Your Love Is Mine” featuring Corinne Bailey Rae, was used in the 2007 Warner Brothers movie Feast of Love.

Having toured throughout Europe, Japan and the USA, the NMS have earned global recognition as a key band in the ‘New Funk’ scene. But purists beware: their unique blend of funk, rock, soul and dance music is hard to sum up and doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre.

Headed soon to a city near you, The New Mastersounds deliver gritty grooves and deep rhythms in clubs, theater venues and festivals alike. Their live shows will get you up dancing and hold you there intoxicated by the funk until last call- when you’ll stagger home, sweaty and exhausted, on a wave of euphoria.

Led by guitarist and producer Eddie Roberts, The New Mastersounds feature Joe Tatton on Hammond, Pete Shand on bass and Simon Allen on drums.

The New Mastersounds- ThermalBad

The Whigs

“[The Whigs] evoke the neo-roots-rock vibe of My Morning Jacket, the cool minimalism of The Strokes and the perfectly constructed pop of the early Sixties.” – Rolling Stone

See our review of their Waterfront Wednesday Performance HERE.

The Whigs- Right Hand on My Heart


On April 21, 2009, Outformation will release their newest album, “Fastburn,”, the Atlanta-based band’s follow up to their 2007 release, “Traveler’s Rest”. Holt says, “we didn’t have a plan making this record, why restrict ourselves. This is our best work.”

“Fastburn” was produced by Outformation and Eli Akins at Fidelitorium Recording Studio, owned by Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Suzanne Vega). “Fastburn” is a culmination of high energy and creative relationships. Outformation really turns up the heat with this newest release. Outformation’s sound draws on a variety of genres, from electrified southern tunes to powerful, melodic vocals. Since being named Honest Tune’s “Best New Band” in 2005, Outformation has built a reputation for bringing the music to the people by playing across the U.S. to their loyal fan base. As an appreciation to the fans, Outformation offered the new album, “Fastburn” to their fans for free for two weeks, a month before the album’s actual release. The fans were in fact much appreciative, as the album received several thousands of downloads in the first week.

Outformation is guitarist-vocalist Sam Holt, guitarist Benji Shanks, bassist Grady Upchurch, drummer-singer Lee Schwartz, and percussionist Jeff “Birddog” Lane. Fastburn is available for FREE download on our website. Ready, Set, Download…

To download the new album, visit here.

Outformation- Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World

Kathleen Edwards (BIO)

Read our review of her Headliner’s show last year, HERE.

Kathleen Edwards- In State

Dead Confederate

Dead Confederate originally emerged in the Athens music scene in 2006 with a few local shows. The band had been together in Augusta, Georgia as the “Redbelly” since high school, eventually gravitating to “The Redbelly Band”, after keyboard player John Watkins joined the group. On January 22, 2008, the band released a self-titled EP on The Artist Organization record label, a newly created label by Gary Gersh, known for signing-on bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth to major labels. This release, along with an appearance at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas gave them some national exposure.

On September 16, the band released their first LP, Wrecking Ball on the Razor & Tie record label. After the album, the band kicked off a nationwide tour, featuring a free show at the 40 Watt Club in their hometown in Athens. On October 10, the band made their first nationwide television appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

Their first single, “The Rat”, debuted and peaked at #39 on the US Modern Rock chart in February 2009.

Dead Confederate- Heavy Petting

North Carolina’s Annuals will be performing at this year’s Forecastle. I remember first getting a copy of Wet Zoo and falling in love with this band, so I’m ecstatic to see that they’re coming to Louisville this year. While not falling into any genre too perfectly, they are, at their core, a pop band, and I mean that in the most beautiful sense of the word as I consider most of what I listen to to be pop music, including the bands of which they’ve been compared to like Arcade Fire, Animal Collective, and Broken Social Scene. Fortunately for us, it’s their live shows for which they’ve become famous, so if you can tear yourself away from the many jam bands at this year’s festival then Annuals are among the more exciting bands at the festival and we highly encourage that you check them out…give them a good turnout so that we might be lucky enough to bring them back for their own tour down the road.

Maps & Atlases are going to be playing this year’s Forecastle Festival. If you’ve not heard Maps & Atlases, fear not…you’re likely to be hearing a lot from these guys soon as they’ve been spending time playing with the likes of Deerhoof & So Many Dynamos. If I had to classify them, I’d put them into dance-folk-pop category, but significantly more dancey and poppy than folk, and all around fun. My suspicion is that Maps & Atlases are going to be that band that is going to shock a lot of people by just how good they are. Nothing mind-blowing, just solid great pop music that will leave you ignoring your friends as you dance in your own little world.

The phenominal Bad Veins will be performing at this year’s Forecastle Festival.  Bad Veins have been making crazy waves since they came together in 2006, including USA Today calling them the best act at CMJ 2007 when they were up against the likes of Bon Iver, St. Vincent & others.  Armed with a megaphone, guitars, keys, a telephone microphone, drums and a reel to reel named Irene,Gothamist claims “the two members in this band manage to sound like a full rock orchestra”. Bad Veins is probably the Forecastle band that I’m most excited to see.  I’m starting to realize that it’s the regional bands that are some of the most exciting bands of the festival, and this one tops the list.

Kid Color may well be providing some of the best dance music of the festival. His mixes have me dancing half asleep as I write this. For some people DJs simply don’t do it…and if that’s you, steer clear, but for the rest of you Girl Talk loving party kids, Kid Color is everything you could hope for, albeit the samples are a little more obscure than the radio-play songs Greg uses, which for me is a step in the right direction.  Check out his blog sometime and you might be able to give some input into the next mix.  Kid Color may well be your Z Trip of 2009.

Man Is Doomed – Escape to Europa (Kid Color Remix) (SUPER EXPLICIT – VNSFW)

Atlanta’s Gringo Star found a spot at this year’s Forecastle 2009.  These guys aren’t just another garage rock band, but rather they are among the harder working bands playing the festival with a tour schedule they keep constant as well as finding plenty of time to appease some of the more significant publications like Paste, Spin, Daytrotter, etc.  If you need extra motivation to watch these guys perform besides their hi-jacked name and strong recommendation from virtually everyone that has heard them play, then consider this: their debut album All Y’all was produced by Ben H. Allen who also did Gnarls Barkley & a little band called Animal Collective for an album you might have heard of called Merriweather Post Pavilion…and this is a guy that doesn’t touch it if he can’t turn it to gold.

Gringo Star – Come On Now

The Hackensaw Boys are going to be playing Forecastle 2009. The Hackensaw Boys don’t play bluegrass, they play a Appalachian Bluegrass, which is and entirely different beast unto itself and fuse it with a lilttle punk rock to spice it up. Listening to these guys, you might be able to close your eyes and envision these guys sitting on their front porch with a can of dip, some strings and a jug (or just as easily, a scene from Deliverance). Founded by Tom Peloso who spends most of his time these days with his other band that you might have heard of (Modest Mouse). Besides their sheer enjoyment for playing, what might be most impressive is the ability of any member of the band to pick up an instrument and be more than proficient with it. I imagine that the Louisville crowd will eat this up, particularly the Widespread fans in attendance…

DJ Three will be performing at this year’s Forecastle Festival.  DJ Three has made a name for himself by spinning residential at some of the countries hottest clubs including Twilo, Cielo & Love, as well as having performed at Fabric & the Labyrinth festival in Japan. Bringing together vintage acid-house, low-fi and underground electronica, DJ Three manages to put people into entirely different worlds and as with any DJ of his stature, he is a ready-made party to-go. Probably most familiar for his work with Hallucienda, DJ Three is sure to provide some incredibly introspective danceable beats.

The Detroit Cobras are playing this year’s Forecastle. Described as having “Patsy Clines pipes and [a] Courtney Loves attitude”, The Detroit Cobras play 60’s sounding soul with a garage rock style. Of course there is a reason for that first part…none of their songs are original as they are a cover band. Don’t shy away from them for that reason though, because just as Me First & the Gimme Gimmes are exclusively a cover band, The Detroit Cobras take each of these tracks and make it entirely their own. I believe that these girls are going to fit perfectly into the space between jam bands and the indie rock groups and if you can get over seeing slightly older women rocking out, you’re likely to really enjoy the tune and perhaps discover some oldies you might want to check out.

Watch for Meg White as Little Red Riding Hood in the video below…

Bowling Green’s Cage the Elephant are making the festival circuit, having recently played Bamboozle (the festival where No Doubt officially reunited) and Lollapalooza before that. However, just because they’re local, don’t assume that geography is the reason they made it into this festival. These kids have been terrorizing audiences and making a name for themselves among the major players with Billboard deeming them to have “more commercial potential” than any act they’d seen at SXSW and with Entertainment Weekly saying “like if the Kings of Leon loved Iggy Pop and didn’t care about their hair”.   The “commercial success” statement is hardly unwarranted as CTE’s “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” made it to 32 on the UK singles chart & was a download of the week on iTunes last spring.  Perhaps as a result of the success in Britain, it seems we rarely get to catch a glimpse of these guys as this summer they’re spending most of their time in Europe. It may be unfair to say Bluesy Hip-Hop at it’s finest because I’m not sure there is anyone else in the game, so perhaps the comparisons ought to stay drawn to the intersection of G Love and The White Stripes.

The Mudkids were supposed to kick off Forecastle last year, but to the best of my memory they were unable to go on, so hopefully the waiting will be over this time around. The Mudkids have been around for 10 years now and have opened for Eminem, Wu Tang, KRS One, Royce da 5’9″, Digital Underground, J5, Pharcyde, Hiero, Souls of Mischief, Atmosphere. Strangely, it’s the 2007 release of Rock ‘N’ Roll (Go Blue), a song written for the Colt’s Super Bowl success, that introduced Mudkids to a whole new audience, and has caused a major resurgence in their career. Well justified, these golden era, socially conscious hip hop heads should put on a great show

The Mighty Mudkids – Rock ‘N’ Roll (Go Blue Mix) Mudkids – Blue Colts

Jason Isbell, formerly of The Drive-By Truckers fame, has been spending a LOT of time in Louisville lately it seems, having been to town February 2008 with Will Hoge & Dawn Landes and again this past March.  This time around, Jason will doing the festival thing at Forecastle, and should be a great show as always as he can pull material from his latest self-titled album he recently released.

Jason Isbell- Dress Blues

Designer Drugs are coming back to Louisville, this time for Forecastle. The Brooklyn-based duo were recently in town for NYE at Fuzion with Jesse Jamz & crew. These kids have been murdering dance floors across the country and making crazy headway with releases on the impossible French Kitsune as well as the closest thing we’ve got stateside in IHEARTCOMIX.  Although I wasn’t able to make it to the Fuzion party, I heard these kids killed it and expect them to do the same to the Forescastlers…this is one I’d suggest not missing.

It’s no secret that since first hearing the Royal Bangs back in November, Backseat Sandbar has become a huge fan of Royal Bangs and now Forecastle loves them too. The Knoxville-based dance rockers have been showing a lot of love to Louisville having played that initial show and another back in April. I think we can comfortably say it’s only a matter of time before they’re picked up on a national scale, so let’s take this moment to appreciate them while we have them to ourselves.  Putting these guys up with Man Man should make for a fantastic show…

Cincinnati’s Lion’s Rampant will be playing this year’s Forecastle Music Festival. The Lion’s Rampant sort of played Forecastle last year, as they were just down the street at Third Street Dive and many of the Cincinnati people took a break from Forecastle to catch them there. This time, the “blues infused, garage brewed rock n roll” of Lion’s Rampant has found it’s way into the official festival. For these guys, think good old fashioned Rock n’ Roll and if you like bands like The Black Keys, then you’re probably going to dig LR.

These United States can’t seem to slow down, whether it’s pumping out album after album, or whether they’re on their relentless tour schedule which has been amongst the most rigorous of any band out there, these kids can’t seem to help but play music. According to their website, from Aug 2005 until Dec. 2008, they’ve played 421 shows, and two albums down and one nearing it’s completion. If their songs sound melancholic at any time, it’s probably because they have no time to sleep. These kids have killed at SXSW, have toured Europe, recorded Daytrotter & WOXY sessions, and played with some seriously bigtime acts including M.Ward, Why?, Vandaveer, Blitzen Trapper, Bishop Allen, Jukebox the Ghost, and countless others. And that’s just since they’ve been tUs, because prior to that, each of these guys were in a whole mesh of other Lexington/DC bands.

Admittedly, we’re fortunate to get these guys to spend a lot of time in Louisville, but don’t take them for granted…instead be sure to catch them while we still can

Nashville’s Elmood Band might well be the next Dave Matthews Band. Or maybe the next Virgina Coalition. Similarly equipped on stage with the sax and all, lyrically less quirky and perhaps a touch less sentimental than the Dave Matthews that I recall from those days when I was regularly listening to him, Elmwood comes off as authentic and genuine, and I can imagine that the jam band-heads of the festival and the average college student of the crowd could easily fall in love to one of their songs. I have to admit a bit of nostalgia when listening to songs like “Dreaming Little Things” which was always what I loved about DMB’s songs.  If you like the genre, as most of the WP-heavy audience will, I suspect you’ll really enjoy these guys.


You might just be familiar with Cincinnati’s Seabird without even knowing it. Hell, you might even be a fan. If you’ve watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Numb3rs, or probably any of those other shows that are on prime-time TV, then you’ve definitely swooned to their pop gems. Even the much-loved, yet quickly-canned show Pushing Daisies used one of their songs as the theme song. This little bit of licensing has seen them catching national attention and they’ve definitely capitlized on the momentum by touring like crazy. Right now, they are touring with the Christian-crossover darlings Jars of Clay and are making a few festival appearances along the way. If you’ve got an ear for unabashadely poppy piano rock made by well-dressed dudes, then they’ve got some killer songs for you.

Deep Vibration

Ask just about anyone who knows and they’ll tell you that Nashville just isn’t the place where stars are made anymore unless you’re hoping to score a CMT hit. Apparently, this sage wisdom was totally lost on The Deep Vibration who have a backstory and pedigree that would make Jacob Dylan jealous. The boys already have a legend (apparently Lou Reed himself christened the band with its name) and a legend on their record (famed songstress Gillian Welch sings harmonies on their track “Tennessee Rose”). The band is half bar room-rock-ruckus and half old-school-Neil-Young. Think Built To Spill with those clean, nice studio player chops. They’ve got a sound so clean you’ll be surprised when you hear Matt Campbell’s gravelly growl. The songwriting is top-notch and has folks like Paste Magazine bowing at their feet. Make sure to catch this band before they blow into “One Headlight” proportions. Also, check out their EP on Dualtone records called Veracruz.

Paper Airplane Let me rest the confusion now. This is not the up-and-coming and well-loved indie band from Louisville that you’ve undoubtedly seen and heard around town. I would say that this is a terribly unfortunate thing if Cincinnati/Columbus OH’s  Paper Airplane were not so damn wonderful. They put out a stellar record called Middlemarch back in ’07 and are getting ready to drop their new LP White Elephants on All Hail Records. Along the way, this four-piece has been saddling up with great national bands like The National, Mates of States, The Walkmen, Heartless Bastards, Rogue Wave, and Matt Pond PA. They are thankfully one of those bands that doesn’t fit easily into one category. Instead, think of them as a fun and earnest rock band with a whole mess of heart. Prepare to fall in love with one of your new favorite bands.

The Young Republic

This year Forecastle has tapped Nashville-based pop sensation The Young Republic for the first night on The East Stage. The Young Republic, fresh off of a bunch of shows at SXSW and NYC, TYR is prepping the release of their new album BALLETESQUE which should be out this fall. They have steadily been making a name for themselves as female-fronted purveyors of all things pop music by taking cues from band like The Pixies, Bob Dylan, and Animal Collective just to name a few. They are big in number (6 members) and have a big sound that will no doubt leave you dancing and spinning in the hot, hot sun.

US Royalty

It seems quite fitting that a band called US Royalty sprung up in Washington DC where everyday life cannot be separated from our country’s political structure. I’m not quite sure what it takes to be considered royalty in this country, but stunning crowds with raucous, guitar-fueled catchy pop songs and an explosive live show is probably as good start as any. Though the band has only been around since early ’08, this band led by brothers John and Paul Thornley has been making waves and catching ears all over the place from SXSW, Spin, Nylon, and Brightest Young Things. Comparisons of the band range from The Beach Boys to Cold War Kids to The Killers to Okkervil River. Needless to say, this is one band that you will have you dancing and wishing you knew every word.

Jesse Jamz

Most of Louisville’s introduction with DJ Jesse Jamz (Jesse See Tai) was as the third member of the two-man band The Photographic. Jesse did all of the video editing for the projections that turned The Photographic into a good instrumental band to an instrumental band that blew folks away with their visceral live show. BUT, these days JJ has made his own name for himself as absolutely one of the hottest and most sought-after DJs of the region. He regularly spins next to VHS or Beta DeeJays and has saddled up with acts like Flosstradamus and played parties all over the country. He is becoming more and more well-known for slinging sweet remixes of Figure, Hollywood Holt, Eli Smith, Digitalism, and more. Louisville’s DJ culture has been expanding and growing, and it looks like black horse DJ Jesse Jamz is the new kid king.


  1. Impressive coverage of Forsikn. Kudos to all your hard work ;)

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