By Ian Ording
Saturday proved to be a big day for Louisville’s native music makers. Under the pervading clouds of the weekend — although with noticeably less precipitation than Friday — Forecastle fans were able to see just about the full gambit of what the River City has to offer ears, as well as some other notable acts, including what might turn out to be the best show of the weekend.
An early standout show of the second day was the Soul Rebels. Fellow fleur de lis fliers from down south in New Orleans, their brand of jazzy big band jams were a great way to enter the Forecastle grounds.
After taking in all the brass section I could ever want in one day, I swung by the Boom Stage for a few minutes of Boy & Bear’s set before heading to the media tent for some water. By this time, I figured it would be prudent to head to Mast Stage to get a solid spot for Spanish Gold’s show.
Spanish Gold, helmed by two Texans and a Louisvillian, played an admirable set for so early in their existence. This was to be somewhat expected, however, as front man Dante Schwebel has been in City and Colour as well as Hacienda, guitarist Adrian Quesada played for Grupo Fantasma and drummer Patrick Hallahan is in some band from around here called My Morning Jacket. Their onstage chemistry wasn’t quite where it could have been, but their brand of slinky psychedelic rock carried them.
I then wanted to head over to WFPK’s Port Stage to see all of Louisville’s Jalin Roze. If you weren’t there, you blew it. Backed by his band The Grand Nationals, Roze laid down a blistering set that I was sure I was going to call my favorite of Saturday. His crowd control was superb, making sure the sizeable Port Stage audience was following his every move. The best part was when his brass section started playing the horn part from Spottiottiedopaliscious and Jalin led the crowd in a “Damn damn damn daaaaaaamn” chant. Word on the street is, later that day he played an unannounced show on the boat by the Bourbon Lodge, which I, unfortunately, heard about too late. Either way, this guy is for real.
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I scurried from there across the grounds to Boom Stage to see the end of Lord Huron, who played well. After that, it seemed like the best time to bounce around and sample some acts. I had a delicious, albeit disappointingly small-for-five-dollars corn dog while checking out Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, who were expectedly awesome. Mount Moriah won my award for band I hadn’t heard but now want to hear more of. I caught their final two songs and was left wishing I had showed up right at 5:30 for their entire set.
Then I went to a song of Jason Isbell’s before wading into the Mast Stage’s crowd for Band of Horses. After starting with just front man Ben Bridwell on stage with an acoustic guitar and a mic, two other members joined him for the second song, also acoustic. After that, they were turned up all the way. Sporting more neck tattoos than someone who hadn’t seen them in person before would have expected, Band of Horses’ hour-and-a-half set was a standout of the day and the weekend. To everyone in the crowd’s delight, (fine, including mine) they closed with a booming rendition of “The Funeral.” Bridwell also used a super sweet chrome guitar for part of the show.
It was during their set I saw a tweet about Jalin Roze finishing his impromptu show on the boat. My only regret of the weekend thus far.
It was time to go get lost in the weird, experimental no-fi of Louisville’s last performers of the day, Slint. I had no idea what to expect from this set. I was certain they would play at least somewhat stranger than they did on the Spiderland record, but I couldn’t tell if I would enjoy that or find it a bit too heady. It ended up being the former, and the nineties trailblazers put together a cool show that was maybe a little out of place on the Ocean Stage.
Remember earlier when I said I was sure I would call Roze’s set my favorite of Saturday? Jack White ruined that.
Saturday’s headliner was, as of the time of writing, the best Forecastle show thus far. White reminded the audience he is one of the best guitarists in the world. After opening with “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground,” one of my personal favorites from the expansive White repertoire, he tore through White Stripes classics and destroyed tunes from his new solo album. The whole thing played as if some festival jam band had been headed by Ozzy Osborne and Jimmy Page, amps at eleven and heavy, distorted, squealing solos abound. It was as if he knew he would be good enough to only need one color of light bulb, and so the stage was awash with blue for the entirety of the show. I was especially tickled when he closed his pre-encore set with my favorite Stripes jam, “Ball and Biscuit.” Between a Frank Zappa lookalike playing a Theremin, a drummer assuredly better than Meg and Jack’s own gigantic stage presence, this was a show I won’t soon forget.