The Top Five Artists We’re Excited To See At Forecastle

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Forecastle is just a day away, and this year’s lineup is as impressive as its ever been. Curated by hometown heroes My Morning Jacket, the lineup boasts collaborators and friends of the band along with a who’s who of up-and-coming southern bands. It’s impossible to narrow down so many great bands to just a top five, so instead we decided to choose five bands whose live performances you wont want to miss. After we did this it became clear that Saturday was one of the most stacked days of any festival this summer. Here are the five acts we’re most excited to see at Forecastle Festival this weekend.

Dr. Dog

Dr. Dog and MMJ go way back. Before they were playing late night talk shows, singer/guitarist Scott McMicken’s girlfriend passed along a copy of the band’s album, Toothbrush, to Jim James in 2004. Needless to say, James was impressed, and MMJ invited Dr. Dog to open for them, which provided a pivotal moment in the Philly-based rockers‘ careers.

Fast forward to 2012. Dr. Dog is touring fiercely behind its new album, Be The Void, and Scott and co. are doing fine in their own right. Saturday marks the kickoff of the second leg of Dr. Dog’s 2012 tour, which will see the band (along with Andrew Bird) once again opening for MMJ. Extra points if they decide to break out some songs from Toothbrush to celebrate the occasion, or just for old times’ sake.

Andrew Bird

Andrew Bird released his newest album, Break It Yourself,  in early March. Since then he’s been touring like a madman, whistling on talk shows, and extending his US touring all the way to October.

What we can expect from the virtuoso violinist and his band is new material and a chance to slow the festival down with his rich, textured songs. Bird will be opening for the guests of honor, MMJ. Enthusiasts of the two will remember Bird’s guest appearance on MMJ’s 2005 album, Z. Hopefully a sit-in is not out of the question.

Futurebirds

Following a long string of southern rock/country bands from Athens, Georgia, the members of the Futurebirds have been working hard  to build a solid following. They’ve done this through relentless touring with big acts like Widespread Panic, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals and Drive-By Truckers.

The Futurebird’s combination of strong group harmonies and unique blend of psychedelia and country have helped distinguish the band’s developing sound. They play high energy live performances that can get wild. Head over to the Starboard Stage Saturday night and check out Athens’ next big band.

Sleeper Agent

The decision to include Sleeper Agent in one of the biggest lineups Forecastle has ever seen was a bit of a no-brainer. Hailing from just down the road in Bowling Green, the local rockers are at the forefront of the blossoming Kentucky music scene.

If Friday’s electronica-heavy schedule has you looking for something different, you can slip over and catch the punky sextet on the Port Stage, where they will play opposite of Bassnectar.

My Morning Jacket

Seeing My Morning Jacket in Louisville can be tricky. You’re hard pressed to find a band that the city has more pride in, which is what makes the decision to collaborate with the band members such a good business move for Forecastle. The problem is when you go see My Morning Jacket, often you’re going to hear more of the drunk Kentuckian behind you than you are of Jim James himself. And in Lousiville, they know all of the words to all of the songs, even the obscure early ones.

If you’re not into off-key sing-alongs, you might want to try to secure a spot near the front early on. The Saturday forecast is predicting a 50 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms, so pack your rain boots. But don’t fret about the weather, if history has taught us anything, it’s that MMJ plus rain and lightning equals one epic rock and roll show.

 — David Hollerith and Chris Rutledge

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