Music News & Reviews

Triple ‘A’ headliners and the best of the rest at Forecastle

Vocalist Brittney Howard and the rest of Alabama Shakes will be the Saturday night headliners at Forecastle. The band’s album Sound & Color won a Grammy.
Vocalist Brittney Howard and the rest of Alabama Shakes will be the Saturday night headliners at Forecastle. The band’s album Sound & Color won a Grammy. Invision/AP

Here we have a round-up of 16 bands — including three literal “A” list headliners — offering 16 reasons why you should be at Forecastle this weekend. For a complete schedule of acts, go to

The Avett Brothers (9:30 Friday) — From club favorites to arena mainstays, Scott and Seth Avett continue to command a sizable new-generation folk-rock fan base with the release of their new Rick Rubin-produced album True Sadness.

Alabama Shakes (9:30 p.m. Saturday) — The earthshaking sound of Brittany Howard, probably the most arresting psychedelic soul voice since Sly Stone, headlines Saturday’s bill with music from the Grammy-winning Sound & Color.

Ryan Adams (9:30 p.m. Sunday) — Adams performed as an unknown in Lexington during the ’90s with Whiskeytown, but he has played Louisville on almost every tour since then, from Americana-savvy band outings to solo acoustic concerts.

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals (7:15 Friday) — Versed in rock, pop, gospel, blues and more, Ben Harper has been a prolific bandleader, an all-star collaborator and a fearsome guitarist. All of that comes into play during Innocent Criminals shows.

Local Natives (7:15 p.m. Saturday) — This Los Angeles indie rock troupe made headlines last week by playing an unannounced rooftop concert on Sunset Boulevard at rush hour. The set was filled with songs from the upcoming Sunlit Youth album.

Brandi Carlile (8:30 p.m. Sunday) — Carlile’s shows run from country adventures to folk-rock bliss, but expect her to unpack surprises at Forecastle. A Kansas City concert in June included covers of Prince, Led Zeppelin and Bruce Springsteen tunes.

Death Cab for Cutie (7 p.m. Sunday) — A realigned version of the quirky Bellingham, Wash., band bolsters Sunday’s roster. Guitarist Chris Walla is gone, but frontman Ben Gibbard remains to lead the charge of Soul Meets Body and more.

The Arcs (5:15 p.m. Saturday) — The soul-shaded side project of Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach, The Arcs is an amalgamation of roots-driven party sounds. The band’s 2015 debut album (Yours. Dreamily) even sported mariachi accents.

Gary Clark Jr. (5 p.m. Sunday) — One of the most celebrated guitarists of his generation, Clark’s love of the blues was on proud display when he paid tribute to B.B. King alongside Chris Stapleton and Bonnie Raitt at the Grammy Awards in February.

Teddy Abrams and Friends (5:15 p.m. Saturday) — The wildly popular music director of the Louisville Orchestra, Abrams is putting together a “Louisville-centric showcase,” according to the festival website, with artists including Scott Moore, Michael Cleveland, Sarah Jarosz and Joan Shelley.

Moon Taxi (6:30 Friday) — A longtime Lexington favorite and headliner of the first two Moontower Music Festivals, this Nashville ensemble juggles jam grooves, pop, prog, funk and more. The band is touring behind 2015’s Daybreaker.

Femi Kuti and the Positive Force (3:15 p.m. Sunday) — The torchbearer of Afrobeat tradition, this London-born Nigerian is the eldest son of activist and world-music pioneer Fela Kuti. The younger Kuti’s jazz/funk voices, though, reflect a sound all his own.

Heartless Bastards (3 p.m. Sunday) — For the past 12 years, Heartless Bastards has been the very flexible vehicle for the turbulent songs of Erika Wennerstrom. Folkish in design, her music is highly electric and gloriously ragged in delivery.

Shakey Graves (3:15 p.m. Saturday) — Shakey Graves is the performance alias of Austin, Texas, “one man band” maestro Alejandro Rose-Garcia. He shares traits with loads of other Lone Star artists, but his folk-infused songs possess wider, stranger soundscapes.

Sarah Jarosz (3 p.m. Saturday) — A schooled Texas songsmith, graduate of the New England Conservatory School of Music and now prolific New York artist, Jarosz, 25, has issued four strong albums. The newest is Undercurrent (See review, page 26).

Pokey LaFarge (1:45 p.m. Saturday) — Retro minded in appearance, LaFarge’s music similarly harks back to roots-friendly sounds that touch on elements of vintage blues, swing, bluegrass and jazz. There also is considerable Southern imagery to his songs.

If you go

Forecastle Festival

When: 3 p.m. July 15, 1 p.m. July 16 and 17

Where: Waterfront Park, 300 East River Road, Louisville

Tickets: $69.50, $189.50

Call: 1-800-745-3000


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