[ In what's become an annual trek south, CHIRP DJ and Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Avampato is reporting this weekend from Louisville, Kentucky, covering the Forecastle music festival, which blends art and music with environmental activism, through the festival's charitable foundation. ]
Sometimes, the weather's perfect for a music festival -- just enough sun, just enough breeze, just enough clouds.
And sometimes, you've already sweat through your clothes before the first act is even three songs in.
The tone was seat early for Forecastle this year -- it's going to be a scorcher, so take it easy.
Despite a jam-packed festival schedule, I did my best to ease into the day. Better to hear a few songs then go sit in the shade, than to drop from the heat.
The first act I got to see was 21-year old Parker Millsap, an Oklahoma-born country influenced songwriter. Not knowing much about him other than his name and his genre, I was absolutely captivated by his set. His songs were very memorable -- one was a touching track telling the story of a boy coming out to his religious father, another was the flip opposite in tone, spinning a wild tale about fairy tale characters that lose their jobs and turn to things like prostitution and cooking meth to bring in the money. Towards the end of his set, Millsap introduced a few songs by saying "now we're gonna do some songs about the devil" -- and if I weren't already hooked by his music, I sure would have been then. His voice and his songs are much bigger than his years, that's for sure.
By far one of my favorite discoveries so far has been Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds. Hailing as a collective from New York, but with their members coming from all over, the group performs a smart, savvy blend of blues, rock, and soul, led by the enormous voice of frontwoman Arleigh Kincheloe. Their music was captivating from the very first note and unrelenting in its energy. Their brand of roots rock was very easy to fall in love with, and I'm looking forward to hearing more from them.
Another big surprise for me was St. Paul & the Broken Bones. The seven-piece soul band out of Birmingham, Alabama provided an excellend mid-day soundtrack to dance to. Lead singer Paul Janeway does not look like he should be singing soul music, but he was amazing and quashed any doubts that the audience may have had as soon as he opened his mouth to sing.
San Fermin, a CHIRP regular, was the next act I caught. The Brooklyn-based band's music sounded far different live than on their first album, and perhaps it was something about the festival setting that gave them a bit more of an edge, but the music didn't sound nearly as polished as it did recorded, which is a good thing for a performance. They had an energy and rawness to them that doesn't come across quite as well in studio recordings.
I closed out my day at Forecastle by catching a few songs from Indiana's Houndmouth. Their brand of roots rock got the crowd moving and singing along despite the extreme heat that was still lingering, even late into the night.
I checked out far before the evening's headliner, Sam Smith was to take the stage. While I really enjoy his album, I think I'd rather enjoy listening to it at home than drenched in sweat on a field. I apparently left just in time, though -- as I type, severe thunderstorms and torrential downpours are roaring through the area and the festival had to close early for the evening due to weather concerns. Meanwhile, I'm dry, freshly showered, and ready to go to bed and do it all over again tomorrow.