Admittedly, I am still very much in the LouFest honeymoon stage. The festival ended 6 days ago, but it was my first, and I loved every single moment of it. We had heat, humidity, rain downpours and the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen outside of the desert and the mountains of Colorado. I could go on for days about the non-music reasons I enjoyed the festival, but that is not what you are here for. So, without further delay, here are my Top 10 Favorite Moments from LouFest (split up into Top 5 of each day).
On Friday night after a day of sightseeing, @begt and I determined which of the bands we didn’t spend much time researching, that we were going to see. There were a few times we changed our minds, and I don’t think either of us regretted the choices we made.
5) We started off the day and festival completely on the right foot. We had both listened to the two acts opening up the festival before, but only really briefly. One of the bands, Kentucky Knife Fight had appealed to me due to their bluegrass influences. They are a local St. Louis band. The other band with an opening set on Saturday was Jukebox the Ghost from Brooklyn, NY. After listening to a coupe of their songs on Friday night (after a few drinks) we decided to go with Jukebox the Ghost…and I was not disappointed. Their set was high energy from the first note. This 3 piece is a mix of Queen, Ben Folds Five and the Fray with a side of Brooklyn Hipster. From my personal favorite song (after purchasing their newest record Safe Travels) “Adulthood” to the catchy relationship woes filled “Oh, Emily” the band kept the energy through the roof. They even ripped out an amazing version of “Somebody to Love” from Queen. Not many artists can sing that song well, lead singer and keys player Ben, did an incredible job. They ended their set with their most popular song, “Somebody” from Safe Travels.
4) I didn’t get to catch much of the set of this next band (as I went early to the set mentioned in #2), but we had to take a break from the heat and watched the band Modoc under the trees at the BMI stage. This Nashville based band has a very powerful sound and occasionally breakout a bit of a Southern rock sound. I hope that this band comes out west soon so that I can see a full set.
3) One of the bands that I was excited to see that was unknown to me before the LouFest lineup, is Utah based Desert Noises. These guys played about halfway through the day on the smallest stage of the event. The stage setup was very idyllic with an open back and a beautiful view of the trees of Forest Park. These four guys look to be about 20 years old each, but have a very mature sound. I feel that their name is very representative of their music as I can think of few bands who would go as well as these guys when driving through the expansive deserts of Utah and Nevada.
About halfway through their set, Kyle, the lead singer looks out into the crowd and says to the audience “This is good…this is good right?”. I hope he realized just how good their set was.
I have a feeling that these guys are just beginning a long career. They just wrapped up a tour across the US, but I am sure they will head back out on the road soon. Check out the haunting “I Won’t See You”.
2) As mentioned in #4, I had to leave the Modoc set early. The reason I left that set early was to head to the main stage to prepare myself for Trampled By Turtles. When finding out about LouFest I was so excited that TBT was playing the festival. I’ve been listening to this band for a couple years, and really wanted to see them live. They don’t travel a lot to the western US, so I was very happy to catch them here. I went to this set alone, as @begt and Jennifer (aka the comedian) needed some more time to lay around…but I met a delightful couple from Peoria, IL who had seen TBT on a couple different occasions. Trampled by Turtles did not disappoint. This Duluth, MN based band keeps their energy high and makes sure that each member gets to showcase their skill. I was very excited as I’ve not seen a live mandolin player since starting to play one myself. The TBT mandolin player is quite good, and at one point the fiddler brought out a mandolin and the two of them were getting down.
They played many of their hits including “Victory”, “Whisky”, “Wait So Long” and they finished their set with my personal favorite, “Alone”.
1) There is really no contest about the best show of the day on Saturday. I first heard this band when playing around on our Roku while watching music videos on the one of the many music video channels. Their sound is unlike any other group I’ve heard. I was bummed slightly as they played Las Vegas the day we left for St. Louis, and it would have been great to see them twice in the same week, but I believe that I will have many opportunities to see them. What is the band you ask? None other than Los Angeles own Fitz & the Tantrums. I was blown away by their performance. They have so much energy and they know exactly how to get the crowd into the show. Other than the National and Wilco, this was the biggest crowd I saw at any performance. FATT is one of those groups that sounds better live. Their recorded stuff is great, and definitely gives a feel for the band, but they should be enjoyed live and in person.
From LouFest (not taken by me) “Out of My League”
Stay tuned from my wrap up from Sunday. I am still processing the amazingness that was Sunday at LouFest.