Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The 8 Best Moments of Forecastle Festival 2015


We're all in this together. I mentioned this last year, but it's so, so true.

We're in it together to endure the heat index, which reached a stifling and relentless peak on Sunday. To escape the 60 mph winds and approaching rain, which cut Sam Smith's stellar set short and made everyone evacuate Waterfront Park on Friday. To quiet the hunger that calls during your favorite set, or the thirst that is forever needy. Maybe you slipped and fell in the mud or sand on the way to a porta-potti. Or, when you finally got there unscathed, the lines were just too long. Maybe all of this just isn't worth it -- the thought must have crossed your mind at least once.

But don't think twice, it's all worth it. Somehow, someway, it's worth it to get to the moments that make you forget about the sweat dripping down your back, or that next wake up call on Monday or Tuesday.

"If it would have been easy, I would not have cared," Jim James of My Morning Jacket sang late Saturday night. No truer words were delivered the entire weekend.

Here's what gave me chills.

8. Gaslight Anthem during "Handwritten."

Specifically when Brian Fallon sang:

And did you wanna drive without a word in between?
I can understand, you need a minute to breathe
And to sew up the seams... after all this defeat

And then Fallon took a moment to look into the distance. And he smiled. I would like to think he did so because he knew this was special: The energy, the people, the time that essentially stopped for a good hour.

7. Noah Gundersen during "Cigarettes."

I mean, he couldn't do this one at a festival, could he? Too sad, right? Well, he closed with it on Sunday, right around 2 PM, when the sun was growling. Noah Gundersen is one of the best songwriters I've heard in the last five years, and I will stand on Steve Earle's coffee table and yell that to the heavens above.

6. Tweedy during "California Stars."

We sort of got a Tweedy + Wilco moment. This may have been written by Woody Guthrie, but you know it because of Wilco, and it sounded just fine as Tweedy, which consisted of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, his son, Spencer, Drain Gray, Jim Elkington, and Liam Cunningham. There were many great moments from their set, including "Low Key," "World Away," and "Summer Noon." Also, Jeff Tweedy's banter was quite funny.

5. First Aid Kit during "Emmylou."

I was hoping to hear "A Long Time Ago," because of that wonderful line, "only love, even if it's not enough." But there was a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "America," and one of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs." And then there was "Emmylou," which only would have been better if the sun was setting in the background. Still amazing, and it capped off a terrific set.

4. Sam Smith during "Leave Your Lover."

He had everyone's immediate attention from the first song. So what does Sam Smith do? He sings a tender ballad as his third song and completely kills it. What other headliner can do that and make it come off so perfect?

3. The Lone Bellow during "Marietta."

I'm a sucker for songs like "Marietta" because they admit mistakes, but not necessarily regret. And maybe they're not even mistakes; maybe they're just the times that didn't last as long as you would have liked them to. Yeah, that's it. The heart hurts when you wanted more. "I let you in again...I let you in again." A perfect moment by The Lone Bellow.

2. Houndmouth during "Sedona."

All the ingredients are there for Houndmouth to keep expanding their fan base. The most important reason is because they're ridiculously good at what they do: they sing, they have fun on stage, they deliver. And they have a song called "Sedona" that should really be a hit.

1. My Morning Jacket during "Spring (Among the Living" and "One Big Holiday."

There are many Jacket songs that build and build, and you can now add "Spring (Among the Living)" to that list. And what a treat it is live.

This was one of the best MMJ shows I have seen because it was clear they were incredibly thrilled to be on stage in front of their hometown fans. Of course, they closed it with a furious "One Big Holiday," which sent everyone home happy.

See you next year, Forecastle.

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