Louisville was transformed into a rock ‘n’ roll paradise last weekend when My Morning Jacket came home. Forecastle Festival was curated and headlined by MMJ and had its biggest weekend ever. Here are the top five moments from that weekend.
Deer Tick Brings The Rock
Sporting pink cowboy hats and lead by front man John McCauley, Deer Tick took the stage just as the convenient blanket of clouds above began to disperse. But the sweltering heat and muggy humidity didn’t stop the country rockers from drawing a crowd to the Mast Stage.
While the stage probably couldn’t have been rocked harder than My Morning Jacket had the previous night, McCauley and co. gave it one more go-round before handing the reigns over to the comparatively more docile music of Wilco and Neko Case.
“No offense to Wilco, but I wish it was Will Smith,” McCauley mused between songs. His stage banter was in fine form as he offered his opinion on TV (bad) and Breaking Bad (good). He also encouraged festival goers to indulge and overdo it “in the spirit of rock ’n’ roll and sexuality.” A good number of us did.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band With Special Guests Jim James And Andrew Bird
The Preservation Hall Jazz Band is one of the most celebrated and historic groups in the history of New Orleans music. From scoring a Woody Allen film back in the early 70s to collaborating with Del McCoury last year, the band has been in and out of the mainstream public’s eye throughout its 51 year career. Recently the band enjoyed success touring with My Morning Jacket — which is documented in the movie, Louisiana Fairytale — and collaborating with Jim James, Andrew Bird, Tom Waits and other popular artists for its 2010 benefit album.
So it’s no surprise that James and Bird made guest appearances on Preservation Hall’s set. But that doesn’t make it any less awesome. James’ introduction was so low-key the crowd didn’t really respond at first; but as soon as he started singing the crowd went wild.
MMJ Surprise Acoustic Show Under The Overpass
Fans waiting for the My Morning Jacket sound check were sidelined by a rainy thunderstorm that pushed the entire festival back by an hour. To make it up to their patiently waiting fans, the members of My Morning Jacket brought the rock under the highway overpass, where fans waited, for an impromptu acoustic set. By the middle of the day the word had hit the street and festival-goers were kicking themselves for missing what was surely one of the most intimate moments of the festival.
Dr. Dog is a great band.
You’re hard pressed to find anyone on the scene today that is as catchy and consistently inventive. But maybe the best part about Dr. Dog is what an incredible live show the members put on.
And while the band didn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel during its performance, it was easily one of the best sets of the weekend.
The band members did more than recreate tracks from their albums. The raw energy emitting from singer/bassist Toby Leaman as he howled through “The Beach” from the band’s 2008 album, Fate, tops most anything the band has ever captured on record.
Which brings up the question: when will Dr. Dog bite the bullet and record a live album?
MMJ’s Rarity-Heavy Set
Coming into the Forecastle Festival, it was obvious My Morning Jacket would have a few aces up the sleeve; but the band let the whole deck loose for its Saturday night headlining spot. Emotions ran high as the members took the stage in their hometown and let loose a rocking rendition of “The Dark” from The Tennessee Fire.
At that point the band had established that this would be no ordinary MMJ set, but jaws continued to hit the floor as the boys pulled out every cover and rarity a fan could possibly ask for. From The Band’s “It Makes No Difference,” to George Harrison’s “Isn’t it a Pity,” the Jacket tread through the most rocking cover songs in its catalogue.
But the big moment came when the guys covered Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” which the band recorded in the early days and released on its rarities album, Chapter 1 The Sandworm Cometh: Early Recordings. They also brought Andrew Bird out for “Gideon,” like we hoped they would.
Before launching into “One Big Holiday” to close out the show, the band broke out George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” and jammed on it for awhile. During the breakdown Jim James lead the rest of the members in hurling bananas into the crowd. It sounds weird, but it was… Well let’s just say, you had to be there. And to all of you My Morning Jacket fans who missed this set, I’m very sorry you weren’t there, because you missed a piece of rock history.