[Above photo by Nik Vechery]
Zach: The final day of Forecastle 2015 kicked off with an intimate performance from Louisville’s own Twin Limb. For my money, Twin Limb are the next breakout band from town due to their overflowing talent and unique stage presence. If you’ve never seen Twin Limb, they set up as an accordion player and drummer facing each other while a guitarist/electronic wizard stands a few feet behind them. The group consists of Lacey Guthrie, Maryliz Bender, and Kevin Ratterman. It’s important to note their names because if the world is fair, everybody will know them and their band real soon.
It’s usually all down hill when your favorite set happens at the start of the festival, like in the case of Twin Limb. This was not the case on the final day of Forecastle. My journey was an amazing experience of jumping back and forth from bigger name act and raw rock over at the WFPK Port Stage. A little bit of the calming Tweedy and a lot of in-your-face rock from Diarrhea Planet … laughing like crazy during Portugal. The Man’s cover of “Nightman” from Always Sunny In Philadelphia … Modest Mouse taking me back to my college rock days … King Tuff feeding my need for more rock and roll … and then Tallest Man On Earth gently pulling the curtain on my Forecastle 2015 with the most earnest folk set of the festival.
It was a long weekend where the festival crowd had to fight through storms or blistering heat. Luckily, Forecastle was as smooth as it always is and they packed each day with enough talent to forget you were being baked by the sun. Great music wins once again.
The good: The WFPK Port Stage, free sunblock
The bad: Missing WFPK’s Laura Shine forced to say, with a straight face, “Diarrhea Planet”
The ugly: White people’s shitty and dumb cultural appropriation
WFPK, the taste-making beacon amongst anyone in Louisville who’s muttered the word “sustainable” in conversation at some point, has really beefed up the diversity of their programming as of late, for which I applaud them for. But “hard rockin'” is simply not a descriptor that often finds itself in the same sentence (not knockin’ ’em, triple-A radio just doesn’t shred, ya know?). Not true on Sunday though. The WFPK Port Stage was the place to be.
Twin Limb kicked off Sunday as the new power trio — the original duo of MaryLiz Bender on skins and Lacey Guthrie on accordion, and the recently annexed Kevin Ratterman on atmospherics. Their original gothic (in the Edward Gorey sense) approach now more resembles the majestic slowburn of the sonic Aurora Borealis of Cocteau Twins and Sigur Ros — deserving of a massive festival stage (though decidedly best for nocturnal endeavors).
[Special note: I am personally and professionally involved with White Reaper, so for the sake of journalistic integrity, I will abstain from any comments. But just ask anyone who was there.]
Diarrhea Planet was awesome. They’re from Nashville. They have four (4) guitars. Not including the bass. There’s a bass too. They mix greaser punk with ’70s style, Thin Lizzy/The Sweet-evoking cock rock and it ruled. They obviously embrace humor and trolling and fun and making people uncomfortable with their name — like this grandfather who took to a Nashville area paper to sound off about it. I so regret not making it in time at the beginning to hear WFPK’s Laura Shine say, with a straight face, “Diarrhea Planet” during her introductory announcement. Did anyone Vine it? Hit me up!
King Tuff closed out the Port Stage with his punkish synthesizing of ’70s glam and shades of psych pop. Like Diarrhea Planet, he offers up a nice wink-nudge via a giant backdrop adorned with skulls sporting shades and KING TUFF in a badass flame font, tattoo-ready.
Yes, the Port Stage rocked today and was the place to be. I didn’t regret missing Isaac Brock — the Port Punk had me floating on just fine. Really the only thing that dragged me down is shitty white people with headdresses, conical hats, and various other #problematic apparel that, if one grunted out just an ounce of introspection, should make you feel as uncomfortable as Laura Shine felt saying “Diarrhea Planet.” If I was one of those guys walking around in a yellow shirt, I would’ve kicked you out for being a fool.
Syd: I rolled into the event somewhere around 1:30. I was fortunate to get there at the top of the Twin Limb set, which was, as expected, phenomenal. I’ve heard their music online and had high hopes for them live, which were ultimately satisfied. Twin Limb knows what they’re doing and do it with style and purpose. It’s an airy, dreamy pop, which served by and large as a wonderful counterpoint to the often hyper-masculine jams, deep fried hip-hop or Americana found at the rest of Forecastle. They had a kind of cyborg hybrid of acoustic and electronic instrumentation, although it was clear for you purists out there that they could carry their own with a bare minimum of instrumentation; it was either as excellent as I recall or a beautiful heat-induced mirage.
About half an hour later, White Reaper took the stage in flurry of youthful rage. There is no argument here that age has anything to do with anything, but goddamned if these fellas don’t have that kind of vibrant and undeniable fervor that comes with your early twenties, manifested here in some of the most infectious jams of the entire festival. They played a blistering set where they tore through a few of their classics, insomuch as “classic” is a quality that a band of only a few years can possess, before launching into their new album, the badass “White Reaper Does It Again.” Youthful hubris aside, they did do it again, and are on top of their game, made apparent by slamming through one of the best sets of the weekend.
The third set I caught at the WFPK Port Stage, was just on fire. The gleefully heinous Diarrhea Planet took the stage next, with a sound not unlike a pop-friendly Karp, and they were as righteous as their name promises. They had a dedication to heavy riffage, harmonized guitar, and hollered vocals, which made for a big and especially festival-friendly set. It was easy to listen to, and despite a name that some might find repellent, drew an enormous crowd. For my money, it was nice to see the weirdos win at Forecastle.
Scott: Well, at this point, the sun has baked my brain to the point where I’m having trouble forming cohesive thoughts, so I’ll keep this brief. It was a day that fuzzed-out punk once again stole the show and White Reaper kicked that off with a hell of a set, one that was a welcome shot of adrenaline after spending 20-plus hours being stared down by the sun. Yesterday also marked my first trip to the bourbon tent, which, since it had air conditioning was probably the best $25 I spent all weekend. I’ve previously heard nothing but bad things about Modest Mouse live, but they delivered. It was a fun set, full of energy and nostalgia. Widespread followed and noodled around on their guitars like Widespread does — a pretty boring headliner for a music festival, but whatever, you can’t win them all. A good weekend. Everything went pretty smoothly, other than opening late on Saturday. And the staff was friendly and the cops weren’t dicks, which is always a plus.