by Savannah Burke
Beck helps end Forecastle's 2014 edition on a perfect note
The third and final day of Forecastle finally arrived. The fest’s weekend felt much longer than, well, a weekend, though each day seemingly flew by. By this point, the festival started to feel like home. I entered the media tent expecting familiar faces, waited like a patient puppy in front of its food bowl for happy hour, snagged a band interview or two and wandered from stage to stage. Despite my tired eyes, I knew that I could get used to this. Like all good things, though, Forecastle had to come to an end. But not before one last day of fun.I got to the fest just in time for The Weeks at the Boom Stage. After interviewing the band the previous day, I was looking forward to seeing what they would present live, and I wasn’t disappointed. A Southern-rooted band (Mississippi-rooted, to be exact), the Rock vibe was heavy with lead vocalist Cyle Barnes belting out his husky, Caleb Followill-esque lyrics. These young and rowdy dudes proved to be the perfect start to a sunny afternoon of music.I scooted away from the stage to browse through the artist tents behind me. As I’ve said, I’m a total sucker for band posters, so off to shop I went. Thankfully my new friend Coltin found me before I could spend too much and we made our way to happy hour in the media tent.It is quite possible that this is the most pizza I have ever consumed in a three-day period, but when free food calls, one must answer. After taking advantage of the day’s free amenities, Coltin and I attempted (and failed) to get into the Bourbon Lounge, so found our way to the Mast Stage for Brett Dennen. The songs that Dennen write are simple — They aren’t trying too hard, but they’re pleasant, and Dennen’s vocals tie everything together quite nicely. After several songs, though, it was time to wander again, so to the Boom Stage I returned.Trampled By Turtles was next on my list, as I was scheduled to interview them that evening. Day 3 was much hotter than the others — the cool breeze that carried us through Days 1 and 2 had left us, and bodies glimmered in the summer sun. If you’re getting the idea that this stopped anyone from basking in the heat for their favorite bands, you’re wrong. I realized this as TBT began their set, the audience dancing without hesitation. Perhaps this proves to be true for most shows, particularly at a festival such as this — our bodies ache, our feet hurt, we are “hangry,” but once the music begins we forget it all. We are taken to a different place. TBT did this for their audience as the incredibly fast-fingered Erik Berry on the mandolin drove the crowd wild. It was a sight to see. Day 3 required much more wandering on my part and floating between bands, so, knowing that I needed to at least catch a few songs from Jenny Lewis’ set, I made my way to the Mast Stage. Wishing my beagle Rilo (named after Rilo Kiley) was with me, I swayed to Lewis’ songs from her latest album, The Voyager, and was quickly reminded of why I fell in love with her old band some years back. Lewis is a little sassy and a lot of fun, rocking out on stage with her band dressed in white and rainbow suits. After a few songs it was time for my last interview of the fest.I met with a few guys from Trampled By Turtles in the media tent for a quick chat, though I was admittedly distracted by the sounds of Nickel Creek in the distance. I wrapped up our interview and bolted to the stage like I’ve never brisk-walked before. With a smile on my face and happy tear in my eye, I was thrilled to watch a band that I’ve adored since middle school. I cannot begin to describe how happy I was to see Nickel Creek, especially considering they played so much of their early material. Songs like “The Lighthouse’s Tale”, “Reasons Why” and “When You Come Back Down” from their 2000 self-titled album and “This Side,” along with the instrumental tunes from 2002’s This Side, were all featured, and each song sounded as perfect as the recordings. After so many years, Nickel Creek sounds as beautiful as ever and the band even has a new record out, A Dotted Line. I think I could have died a happy gal after seeing them.After Nickel Creek, until Beck’s Forecastle-ending performance, I travelled from stage to stage (mostly in search of food) and ran into Adam, a fellow photojournalism pal from school. It was nice to see a friend after only briefly seeing familiar faces throughout the day, so together we went to dance to Flume. It was quite literally a party under the freeway as the Australian DJ blasted his beats from the stage, hands in the air and a sea of bodies moving in sync. Once that set ended it was time for Beck, and Adam and I ran to the stage. Over the course of Beck’s first few songs we managed to weasel our way toward the front, getting closer to the main stage than I had been the entire weekend. There couldn’t have been a more perfect end to Forecastle. Beck sang the beautifully airy and springtime-sounding songs from his latest release Morning Phase, but didn’t fail to bring the party with old favorites like “Loser”, “Girl” and more, eventually ending the night with “Sexx Laws” for the encore. One would never realize that Beck has been at this for as long as he has. His energy was amazing; bouncing across the stage between band members, the party atmosphere was what we needed to wrap up the night (and fest). The audience was immense but was perhaps one of the friendliest crowd I encountered over the weekend — not sure if that’s due to the realization that our tired feet would soon get the rest they needed or perhaps it was just the booze. Either way, Forecastle ended with one of the best shows of the weekend, and we left on the perfect note to wrap up the fest.Things to know for Forecastle if you plan to go next year: Wear comfortable shoes. Know that if you come in sandals, you will leave with very dirty feet. Stay hydrated. Keep water with you, especially if the weather is as hot as Day 3 this year. Music festivals require long days, so don’t forget to take care of yourself.Come with a schedule. You can create a custom schedule on the Forecastle website and print it out, something that helped me immensely this year in keeping track of things. Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone, though. Discovering new music is what festivals are all about!
by Mike Breen
JJ Grey, Ghostwriter and Angel Snow also in town for concerts this evening
Greek New Age music god Yanni performs at the Aronoff Center tonight at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $39.50-$99.50. Think you're too cool for Yanni? Are you cooler than Beck and Thurston Moore? Because they love Yanni so much, they covered an entire album of his. • If Yanni is a little out of your price range (the ONLY excuse for missing his show), there's a solid alternative at MOTR Pub tonight that will cost you nothing (unless you want to buy merch, drinks or food). Portland singer/songwriter Ghostwriter — called "the post-punk version of a Harry Smith-era self-accompanied singer/songwriter" — performs at the club with another solo troubadour, Nashville's Angel Snow (which IS her real name). Snow co-wrote three songs for Alison Krauss and Union Station on their most recent album's deluxe edition. She wrote them with Krauss' brother Viktor, who produced Snow's sophomore album (due this August). Showtime is 10 p.m.Here's a clip of Viktor and Snow performing one of the song's they co-wrote, "These Days." • JJ Grey and his band Mofro return to the Cincinnati area tonight for a performance at the new Ballroom at the Taft (in the basement of the Taft Theatre). The swampy, rootsy, rockin' crew from Florida are touring behind the current film and album Brighter Days, recorded live at a performance in Atlanta early last year. Grey and Co. are joined by Bright, Indiana's Pure Grain. The soulful area Country/Southern Rock crew records for Sol Records (home to Dallas Moore and others), which put out the group's most recent effort, Sowing Seeds, last year. Here's the music video for Pure Grain's "Cowgirl" and a preview of Mofro's live release.Click here for even more live music events tonight.