We’ve been buzzing about it for months, and, this weekend, July 17-19, it finally returns: Louisville’s annual Forecastle Festival will once again take place in downtown’s Waterfront Park, boasting a stellar lineup of artists like Sam Smith, Modest Mouse, Widespread Panic, Cage the Elephant, My Morning Jacket, Tweedy, The Tallest Man on Earth, The War on Drugs, Sturgill Simpson, First Aid Kit, Desaparecidos, Gaslight Anthem, Cold War Kids, ZZ Ward, JEFF the Brotherhood, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Cherub, Diarrhea Planet, Noah Gundersen, The Lone Bellow, and many, many more. Weekend passes and single day tickets are still on sale right here, so start planning your weekend trek up north, and get excited for the fest all week long with our preview coverage! We already gave you the rundown on the ten talented Nashville acts performing all weekend, and well as a list of can’t-miss Friday artists. Now, we’re moving on to Saturday, with another ten recommendations to help make sure you make the most of your festival weekend! Check ’em out below!
Saturday | Ocean Stage | 6:15pm
A testament to the power of the internet age, ILoveMakonnen was plucked from relative obscurity last year, when his infectious hip hop hit “Tuesday” was remixed by none other than Drake. Born in Los Angeles, Makonnen really started to get serious about music after moving to Atlanta in his teens, influenced by rappers like Young Jeezy and Gucci Mane, and motivated to self-produce and upload his creations online. A series of interested producers in Atlanta would lead him to work with Sonny Digital, who helmed “I Don’t Sell Molly No More,” the track, along with “Tuesday,” which would garner attention from the likes of Miley Cyrus and Drake (not to mention the internet-influential Vine community), helping almost instantly put the up and comer on the map last summer. With a poppy, r&b infused style, and an unorthodox, hypnotizing flow, Makonnen seems a bit of an unlikely success story at first listen, but something about him just works. We’re curious to see what all of the fuss is about live.
LISTEN | “I Don’t Sell Molly No More”
WATCH | “Tuesday” ft. Drake (Official Music Video)
Saturday | WFPK Port Stage | 5pm
Norman, Oklahoma based indie fuzz rockers Broncho adopted a sleeker, more streamlined sound with their sophomore effort, Just Enough Hip To Be Woman, released last year. Although still staying very true to the nature of their inspired debut LP, Can’t Get Past the Lips, their slicker production, broader influences, and shaper bite on the new record suites them well. Combining an affinity for riff-driven, ’80s inspired hooks and a modern, lo-fi appreciation for indie, the group were one of our favorite club stage acts at this year’s Bonnaroo, and we’re eager to soak up their set once again at Forecastle!
LISTEN | “Class Historian”
WATCH | “Try Me Out Sometime” (Official Music Video)
#8: SHOVELS & ROPE
Saturday | Boom Stage | 6:15pm
Comprised of Nashville-raised singer/guitarist/percussionist Cary Ann Hearst and singer/multi-instrumentalist Michael Trent, Charleston duo Shovels & Rope are a callback to classic country and draw heavily from real-deal folk traditions. Propelled by the incredible success of their 2012 breakout release, O’ Be Joyful, the duo have amassed universal acclaim and a multitude of awards. Known for their multi-insturmental setup, unbeatable harmonies, and unstoppable energy, Shovels & Rope’s live show is something that must be witnessed firsthand; it’s almost punk in attitude, an unwavering, unrelenting force. Originally pursuing separate solo careers, Hearst and Trent met in early ’00s, and began writing and recording off and on together for several years before forming a permanent band. Not just musical partners, but husband and wife as well, Shovels & Rope technically made their debut in ’08, but it wasn’t until just before O’ Be Joyful that they became to committed to Shovels as a full time gig. Out supporting their latest, last year’s Swimmin’ Time, there’s a very good reason this group have become festival stapes.
LISTEN | “The Devil Is All Around”
WATCH | “Birmingham” (Official Music Video)
Saturday | Ocean Stage | 8pm
One of Nashville’s biggest breakout success stories of the past few years, electronic duo Cherub have become something of festival regulars over the last several summers, gracing just about every high-profile lineup you can name, and amassing larger and larger crowds at each. Benefiting from their production prowess and multi-instrumental talents, the band have forged a unique mix of pop, EDM, and indie, achieving international acclaim with last year’s Year of Caprese. We’ve seen them live more times than we can count, everywhere from basements to big stages, and can’t recommend their energetic, dance-ready live show enough.
LISTEN | “XOXO”
WATCH | “Doses & Mimosas” (Official Music Video)
#6: KNOX HAMILTON
Saturday | Boom Stage | 1:45pm
Arkansas brothers Boots and Cobo Copeland grew up with the hymnals of their father’s church, and later came into pop music as youngsters. They pieced together their first songs with the modest instruments in the family home, and officially filled out into a four-piece five years ago. So, how did this quartet come up with a name that sounds like another Nashville singer-songwriter? The band was thumbing through a 1970’s school yearbook they found, and “the most rock n’ roll looking” photo in said yearbook belonged to one Knox Hamilton. With the name in the bag, all that’s left is to craft some memorable dancable indie rock. Clearly feeding on influences like Phoenix or Foster The People, Knox Hamilton crafted their debut single “Work It Out”, which immediately caught the attention of the blogosphere with its high energy, synthy hooks, and driving and danceable beats. We first heard about Knox Hamilton when they came through Nashville for a gig at Mercy Lounge last year, as they were touting an impending album. A year’s gone by, and we’re still waiting for that album. So, if you like what you hear in the single “Work It Out,” then be sure to catch their Boom Stage set for a taste of what’s to come.
LISTEN | “Beach Boy”
WATCH | “Work It Out” (Official Music Video)
#5: TWIN PEAKS
Saturday | WFPK Port Stage | 6:30pm
A welcome addition to the young, electrifying, fuzzy, punk-tinged garage rock scene (see: most of the Infinity Cat roster, The Orwells, Ty Segall), Chicago’s Twin Peaks have been on our radar since their buzzworthy home-brewed debut, Sunken, and, even moreso, last year’s Wild Onion. A near-perfect blend of ’60s garage rock and modern punk, the group, who formed in high school a few years back, have an unpretentious, relentless energy about them, and an eclectic vibe which sets them apart from their numerous peers. A powerhouse live force, there’s a reason they’ve gained so much traction over the past year, and their prominent placement on Forecastle’s Port Stage is a definite testament to the fest’s knack for tastemaking curation.
LISTEN | “Irene”
WATCH | “Making Breakfast” (Official Music Video)
#4: THE WAR ON DRUGS
Saturday | Mast Stage | 7pm
Catching The War On Drugs at Marathon Music Works back in October was one of our highlights of last year, and their Bonnaroo outing back in June was amazing; are we ready for a third helping in such a short span of time? You bet. The past two years have been a breakout for the Philadelphia based rockers, as their fifth release, Lost In The Dream, graced an endless array of year-end lists. While the studio tracks on that record are masterful, it’s the live show that really drives them home, and the most common “love child” comparisons that we came up with included Bruce Springsteen and My Morning Jacket or Dire Straights and Pink Floyd. Make your own comparisons with their well-earned Saturday evening spot on the main stage.
LISTEN | “Baby Missiles”
WATCH | “Red Eyes” (Official Music Video)
#3: STURGILL SIMPSON
Saturday | Boom Stage | 8pm
With the unprecedented, crossover success and buzz surrounding last year’s incredible Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, Sturgill Simpson has become something of the poster child for Nashville’s new country scene. Merging traditional country influences with contemporary, alternative country sensibilities, propelled by his smart, honest lyricism and unparalleled talent for composition, Sturgill has managed to find fans from all genres and walks of life, really exploding over the last year and earning countless festival slots, television appearances and more. Forecastle comes in the midst of a seemingly never-ending summer run, which will also take him to Europe and to even more festivals into the fall.
LISTEN | “Turtles All the Way Down”
WATCH | “Railroad of Sin” (Official Music Video)
Saturday | Mast Stage | 3pm
A sharp contrast to Conor Oberst’s most famous band, Bright Eyes, a project which predated Desaparecidos (but amassed greater recognition after their disbandment), Desaparecidos channel a more raw, aggressive indie/garage rock sound, conjuring elements of post-hardcore and mid-’90s emo. Their debut album, 2002’s Read Music/Speak Spanish, managed to amass a large cult following over the past decade and, coupled with band’s short window of initial existence, they become something of musical legends in their 10 year absence, before resuming activity in 2012. A proper band, and not just a vehicle for Oberst, Desaparecidos seem to have reformed for all of the right reasons and their bombastic new album, Payola, is a declarative testament to this. A bombastic, politically charged, and uncontrollable live force, this group is unlike anything else Oberst has been involved with, and, while it seems that they’re back for the long haul, all of the band’s members are juggling the projects, so we strongly encourage you catch them out while you can!
LISTEN | “Fiesta Loca”
WATCH | “City on the Hill” (Official Music Video)
#1: MY MORNING JACKET
Saturday | Mast Stage | 9:15pm
Nabbing the highest billing at what’s become their quintessential hometown fest, Louisville psychedelic/alternative/roots rockers My Morning Jacket have been festival staples for a number of years, and return to Forecastle for the first time since 2012. One of the best live bands in the world, their mass appeal stems from their unwillingness to pigeonhole their sound into any one genre, and the band’s latest album, The Waterfall, shows that they still know how to play to their strengths while exploring new, progressive sounds. With hometown headliner status and such a sound reputation, we really shouldn’t have to talk you into watching what is sure to be one of the weekend’s best, most memorable sets (and, since it’s their turf, we wouldn’t be shocked to see them make some guest appearances during others artists’ performances, so keep an eye out).
LISTEN | “Outta My System”
WATCH | “Off the Record” (Official Music Video)