story, photo, video by Evan O. Albert
How was Big Boi going to pull off last night’s live show at Forecastle, still in a full-length stiff leg brace? I have seen Tyler, The Creator, crowd surf with a below the knee cast, but nothing like this. No need to worry. After taking his throne and making introductions, Big Boi said it had been far too long since he has been to Kentucky, even lamenting his absence at this year’s Kentucky Derby. “As you all know, I’ve had a knee injury, but I wouldn’t miss Forecastle for the world man!”Regardless of the seating arrangements, Big Boi’s vocal punch and swift rhyme smithing rendered everyone to the mercy of the king himself.
It was a perfect Friday evening, hardly a cloud in the sky and a refreshing breeze was whipping up from the Ohio. Truly the perfect setting for a great evening of live music, kicked off by the hip hop legend. Big Boi, half of the rap duo Outkast, has experienced success among both critics and fans since launching his solo carreer with his 2010 release Sir Lucious Leftfoot: The Son of Chico Dusty and his 2012 album Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors. Both have the elements that made us fall in love with Outkast when they first hit the mainstream in the 90s. Having seen Big Boi before I knew we were all in for a healthy dose of the classics along with the best of his solo career.
The live production of Big Boi’s music is a blend of the traditional hip hop dj matched with a live drummer and a guitarist. Two hype men keep the feeling heavy with choreographed b-boy dancing and backup flows to fill up the stage and the vocal sound. An additional backup singer makes all the hooks real instead of loops triggered by the DJ. The presence of such a full band makes the production work that goes into each of his and Outkast’s albums come alive. Classics like “Miss Jackson,” “So Fresh and So Clean” and “Bombs over Baghdad” sounded just as good they did more than a decade ago, even without the other half of Outkast, Andre 3000. New tracks like “Shutterbug” and “For Your Sorrows” are framed to perfection with the backing group.
After an hour-long performance, Big Boi got back on his crutches and continued to rap while making his grand exit. What a great start to a big weekend. Here we come Saturday!
P.S- Big Boi retweeted me. Checkkkk it out!
— Big Boi (@BigBoi) July 13, 2013
Old Crow, String Cheese, and Young the Giant
photos and story by Alex Sardam
Old Crow Sing-Along
Old Crow Medicine Show didn’t have to travel very far to grace Louisville with their presence on the Mast stage Friday night at Forecastle. We know them as the band that’s infamously responsible for annoying bartenders and at college bars since one of their tunes has become a national hit that’s especially a delight to sing along with when extremely inebriated. It’s especially even more fun for the kiddies that have developed a strong sense of loathing towards the state of Tennessee. (Only Kentucky kids get that reference.)
But what was so pleasantly surprising to a vast majority of the ears at Forecastle on Friday was the plethora of delightful banjo plucks that accompanied perfect part harmonies to songs other than, “Wagon Wheel.” Old Crow knows how to pluck the perfect songs to generate thousands of happy, over-zealous stomping feet.
With nearly every man, woman and child joyously flopping about during Old Crow’s set, the lawn in front of the Waterfront was nothing other than a celebration of life and good, southern bluegrass.
String Cheese Incident Gives Good Vibe
It was a circus Friday night as veteran jam band-ers, The String Cheese Incident closed out Friday night’s Forecastle experience at the Waterfront Park.The Mast Stage stood well against the warm night sky of Louisville as the seasoned musicians walked on stage and claimed their spots opening up the set with song, “Rosie.”
Views of the stage were impaired as a sea of neon hoola-hoops were launched in the air as black silhouettes slithered around in time with the guitar, one by one, retrieving the fallen, lit up circles around their bodies and repeating the trick. But the view of the Mast Stage didn’t matter because the music spoke for itself.
String Cheese Incident played into the night closing with what seemed to be a never ending jam of three to four songs mashed together in the sweetest, summer fashion. The first day’s festivities came to a close with easy, “Colorado Blue Sky.” The song wasn’t explosive and loud. It was just a happy-go-lucky, enjoyable song that set everyone on their merry way to a weekend full of bliss and good vibes.
Young the Giant
Young the Giant couldn’t have been more brilliant playing for adoring fans on the Boom Stage as the sun slowly began to slip away into the night sky anchoring in a luminous crescent moon. From the natural glow of the atmosphere to the lights that gently exploded with every chorus of Young and the Giant’s songs, the visual for the band’s set was perfect. It was a hip masterpiece that was created before the fans at Forecastle Friday night. The band dabbled around played a lot of newer songs but the audience didn’t seem to mind as everyone flowed and bopped happily along. While they played a rather short 13-set performance, closing out with “My Body” was an effective goodbye, neatly wrapping up the music on the Boom stage for one night.
[The best my Iphone 4 could do, this is Big Boi taking his seat at the beginning of the show -- Evan.]