Go to here to check out all of our coverage from Forecastle 2018, including features, photos and daily recaps, but, for a taste, below are a few words about three of our favorite sets from the weekend.
Wax Fang | Friday
The Port Stage, which is now hidden in a shaded row of flea market booths, was a pretty great starting point. The bass and drums sounded good at this stage, heavy and driving in the way that gets folks pumping their fist. Of course, that’s equally attributable to the band, who are in a lot of ways Louisville’s answer to Queen, with their driving and anthemic jams. Scott Carney (vocals, guitar) can holler like a madman. He’s got range and puts it to work. Lacey Guthrie (Twin Limb) came out and slayed it — her sultry vocals drifting in the air above the crowd as a soft breeze and a slick groove served the crowd. So many solos. So many fucking solos. When we reached the ballad portion of the set, a sweet piano melody that you could imagine Elton John rolling out was the prelude to a rowdy breakdown. The crescendo was matched by the crowd, Carney orchestrating from his place onstage. Glitter was everywhere. Was there a glitter storm or something? I was momentarily happy at the continued success of the glitter industry. Godspeed, you pioneers. —Syd Bishop
Margo Price | Saturday
The first time I saw Margo Price in Louisville was at a much smaller festival. A few years ago, she played at Seven Sense Festival — another event that’s worth marking on your calendar — at around noon. Back then, her first full-length record wasn’t out yet, but those early songs, such as “Hurtin’ (On The Bottle),” made it obvious that she was bound for big things in the world of country music. Two albums and probably hundreds of shows later, she and her band put on one of the best shows I’ve seen in my four years of Forecastle. I understand that probably sounds hyperbolic, but it was that good. She reminds me a lot of Sturgill Simpson — the big, booming voice, matched with smart and straightforward lyrics, while she and the band are pushing country sounds in all sorts of meta-modern ways. From new songs such as “Cocaine Cowboys” to Tom Petty covers to jam interludes where she jumped on the drums, Price showcased that she’s become a versatile, captivating performer. She moved from playing small venues to pretty large venues quickly. When that time comes, some people aren’t ready for it. Margo Price was. And she’s thriving. —Scott Recker
Courtney Barnett | Sunday
Courtney Barnett is a casualty of cool. Her set at Boom Stage on Sunday confirmed this, and she even sported a French tuck. She opened with three songs fresh from her new album released in May, Tell Me How You Really Feel: “Hopefulessness,” “City Looks Pretty” and “Charity.” She eventually switched from a sunburst Jaguar (a Fender model that her counterpart Kurt Vile is also known to play) to a cherry-chrome baby to bring on the back catalog with “Avant Gardener” from her double EP, A Sea of Split Peas, and some established stories from 2015’s breakthrough album Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit — quality, midset carriers such as “Small Poppies,” “Depreston” and “Elevator Operator.” It wasn’t until the end that Barnett wielded her secret weapon, the infinitely-rockin’ single “Pedestrian at Best.” My comrade Jake Hellman (of the Never Nervous blog) said this was the most rock-and-roll thing he’d seen all weekend, and I think anyone in attendance would have agreed. —Lara Kinne •