The String Cheese Incident Steals the Show 3 Nights in a Row at this Years Forecastle Fest in Louisville, KY |

The String Cheese Incident Steals the Show 3 Nights in a Row at this Years Forecastle Fest in Louisville, KY

August 14, 2013

Review by Anthony Welsh

Photos by Jamie Kastriches 1005203_10151713279832287_527835775_n

The Forecastle Music Festival in Louisville Kentucky can be summed up in two words, “Extra Cheesy!” Three wild nights of Cheesy flowing vibes and Cheesy good feelings left us in a cloudy mist of what Forecastle was all about. I stress “in my opinion” and surely the other String Cheese 1338_10201659944085304_239680898_nHeads would agree, that their performances along with the sets by Robert Plant, The Black Keys and The Avett Brothers, were truly amazing spectacles to witness.

Originally, only buying tickets to see String Cheese Incident at the Enchanted Palace on Saturday July 13th, I would soon succumb to the pressures of close friends, pretty barefooted women, and an overflow of 1013187_10201648553800554_1197962700_nKentucky’s finest bourbon to enter the festival; not that it took much persuasion.

Entering the gate, the surroundings and environment were a bit different from your average festival experience with it being in the 993902_10151711758967287_1393485181_ncity, so enjoying the comforts and pleasures of being in isolated woods or big grassy fields with a hammock or tent away from society would cease to exist. However, it did come with some great perks of its own.601741_10201659580636218_1454454465_n

Forecastle provided us with a spectacular view overlooking the Ohio River, a plethora of great bars in walking distance, and the nicely placed highway 64 directly above us that provided shelter during Sunday’s rather enjoyable monsoon. Overall, the unique features of the Forecastle Music Festival are what sparked that certain attractiveness.

1044208_10201659545155331_871969604_nAs a music enthusiast, stringed instruments are what really hit home for me, and Old Crow Medicine Show provided us with just that. As always, OCMS brings that down-home bluegrass twang you can’t help but raise a beer and stomp your feet to. One of the favorite highlights was when they paid tribute to the Ohio River during the old-timey song by Woody Guthrie “This Land is your Land.” They also blew us all away with “Wagon Wheel” into “Cocaine Habit.” The interworking and collaboration of OCMS bluegrass sound, as good as it was, would only prepare us for what was to come later that night.

The first of three Cheesy Nights was lingering in the near future. The String Cheese opened with the funky, 1014138_10201648949090436_303272904_nhard-hitting, electro opener “Rosie” that turned the Forecastle Festival Light switch on, letting the Kentucky crowd know what was in store for the rest of the weekend following it up with some of The String Cheese’s most fan loved songs, “Best Feeling,” “Sirens” and the Old timey 1012219_10151711754017287_2063831725_nIrish tune “Valley of the Jig.” The first romping night of Forecastle would come to a beautiful ending with one of Cheeses most cherished hometown tributes “Colorado Blue Bird Sky” sure to get Red Rocks goers pumped for the weekend that lie ahead.

On day 2, after another glorious festival day with bands such as The Alabama Shakes, The Flaming Lips and 1069840_10151711753122287_361690523_nThe Black Keys and just a few short blocks from the festival grounds (right on Muhammad, Left of Fourth) sat one of the most spectacularly, mysterious venues than any of us had ever stepped foot in. Awaiting us was a “Mid-Night” to remember, as we walked into the most Cheesiest of Palaces, The Louisville “Palace” that has hosted legendary artists from the likes of The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan.

1014397_10201648609561948_1598613042_nThe crowd packed into the midsized Opera themed venue where Jason Hann & Michael Travis started the show with a little drum/percussion jam, until Michael Kang and the rest of the crew joined the stage and treated us with “Howard,” which was a rare song to open with and a sure way to awaken the jaded festivalgoer’s.

The Kyle Hollingsworth written song “Can’t wait another day” was played afterward. What happened during 1010365_10201648511079486_2108835434_nthe meantime was a “Had-to be-there” kind of show. “Ramble On,” a Led Zeppelin staple, soon began to prosper, and led the crowd into thinking that a rock n’ roll legend may soon appear. Although Robert Plant himself did not show up, the Cheese rendition of “Ramble On” left the crowd in a confused frenzy. They finished the 3 hour show without taking one single set break and then told us to be prepared for the “Bluegrass & Beyond” set that would take place the following day.

1003719_10201648682683776_1927150931_nAs far as I am concerned, the trademark and pride of Forecastle Festival took place on day 3 with the shining sun beating down upon our shoulders. In an amazing tribute to the blue grass state of Kentucky, we were all buckled in for the Blue Grass set that was sure to take us993900_10151711897187287_780594436_n above and beyond any grass we had come across thus far.

If a Cheese set isn’t enough by itself, a few of bluegrass’s familiar faces were there to tune in. The mandolin King 999647_10151711698427287_1569295288_nSam Bush accompanied by Jason Carter (Fiddle, Del McCoury Band), and Andy Thorn (Banjo, Leftover Salmon) provided the already grassy Cheese with more of a traditional Kentucky style bluegrass spin.

If seeing that amazing group of musicians all together on988237_10151711701407287_1923060514_n one stage didn’t make your hair rise, the intro into “Blackberry Possum” should have; a traditional old timing bluegrass number. And just in case you forgot at some point you were at an Incident, River Trance, MLT and Birdland didn’t fail to remind you, with Jason Carter creating his own Bill Monroe like version of the SCI Jams.

1002562_10151711696037287_63107720_nBill Monroe is one name that has the upmost respect when it comes to bluegrass and The Forecastle Incident honored a God of Blue Grass and the whole State of Kentucky with their spin on “Blue Moon of Kentucky”.….Ready…Set…Go with Ronnie McCoury’s own “Quicksburg Rendezvous,” a little ditty that got the feet stompin’ and the dust flyin’.

With the dust still in the air, feet stomping in perpetual motion, Mr. Kang knew just what to do with this Incident. With the strummers strumming, the pickers picking 1016299_10201648837287641_1534845087_nand the mando-rolling, The String Cheese Incident and company took the crowd home with a Birdland

After Cheese, everyone headed toward the main stage to watch the great Robert Plant. In Mr. Plants performance, 21400_10151711756217287_167383696_nthe legend would give a taste of the 70s experience in his repertoire of song and feel with 4 Zeppelin songs out of a 9 song set. Among the songs that were played were staples such as “Baby I’m 59212_10151711720997287_1784335572_ngonna leave you”, “Black Dog” and the classic gem “Going to California” that hit the crowd with stone cold silence and wonder. Along with some new solo material that added a 60’s psychedelic groove, his set was then cut in half by a bumming change in the weather….A strong lightning 60707_10201648680363718_81080612_nstorm forced eager music fans to evacuate the grounds until further notice, or to take shelter under the nearby underpass 64 bridge (Which 90% of the crowd did) that provided a safe hideout for the994494_10151711768322287_939478715_n melting pot of music fans.

Bringing the fantastic Forecastle Festival to a close, the brothers from Concord, North Carolina provided everyone with the soothing comfort that we are all in this together and no one is alone. The Avett Brothers provided me with the nothing short of perfect comforting closing performance. Although different from the three-piece, “Live at the Double Door” Avett Brothers band we are accustomed to, the show slowly grew on me.

1003308_10201659711359486_868273189_nWhat really grabbed the attention of new and old fans alike was the fact that everyone got to see the Avett Brothers put down the six string and pick up the electric. To name a few songs to give an idea of the feel, “I killed sally’s lover” got the crowd very energetic in minds of their 1003132_10201648975251090_1471495526_nown Sally, “Distraction 74”, “At the Beach”, “When I Drink”, “Old Joe Clark”, “Pretty girl from Chili”, and “Blue Ridge Mountain Blue.”  A bluegrass/rock-n-roll show, the Avett Brothers gave us a taste of a little bit of everything.

947260_10201648498399169_1161940575_nTo close out the Forecastle festival was a new tune, and what some would say a crowd favorite, “I and Love and You” a song to what seems to show their appreciation.

As the show came to the end, a mast field of PBR cans and plastic cups were left everywhere (thanks slobs.) Because the trash cans 10ft from wherever you may walk were impossible to 559096_10201648619922207_955910613_nfind?

All in all, the Forecastle Festival successfully hit on all cylinders, providing us with friendly staff, convenient vendors and easily accessible stages, along with hours and hours of good times and unforgettable music. Forecastle sent us all home with ear to ear smiles on our faces, and with the kind of friends that last a lifetime.941263_10201648881248740_1923471610_n

For festival goers in the following summer season, Forecastle Festival should definitely be at the top of your list!




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