Forecastle 2022 Wrap-Up: The Best Of The Fest

Where oh where to begin with this one? The daily recaps we’ve done show how much running around we did. They also vaguely mentioned some of the food we had and many of the people we talked to. However, this is going to run similar to my recap of Outside Lands 2021 (check that one out here). I’m going to break down each day’s performances, give a top three, and then choose the best of the fest from each of the number ones of the day. Shall we begin the countdown?

Friday

Friday, despite its weather, was a busy day for us. We interviewed Maddy O’Neal and The Homies, and caught exceptional performances from those two as well as Earl Sweatshirt and Porter Robinson. However, there can only be three on a top three list. It’s in the title “top three list.” So who cracks the top three for Friday of Forecastle 2022?

3. Wale

Wale acknowledged many times throughout his set that he has hits, and I didn’t realize just how many Wale songs I knew. Every time a song would start, I would say to myself “Oh, I totally know this one.” Wale knows he has hits, and he’s not afraid to remind everyone about it. This set was filled to the brim with energy. Back and forths with the crowd, a ton of dancing, and a short DJ hype set at the beginning that truly hyped up the crowd made this performance memorable, and Wale deserves all the praise he gets.

Wale (Credit: Elena Lin)

2. Maxo Kream

When I saw Maxo Kream at SOB’s in New York four years ago, I thought he was good. I saw him rising the ranks and joining those who were bold enough to sample Tame Impala. Even still, I was not expecting what I saw this weekend. Maxo Kream had the Ocean Stage crowd wrapped around his finger, and he brought the heat for his entire set. Playing hits like “Roaches,” “BIG PERSONA,” and “Pop Another,” Maxo had everyone bobbing their heads, waving their arms, and hanging on every word. Just an exceptional performance from someone who is finally getting his due. Very excited to see where Maxo Kream goes from his festival run this summer.

Maxo Kream by Roger Ho for Forecastle Festival

1. Clairo

Clairo with a live band is something every music fan needs to experience at least once in their life. Claire Cottrill made a name for herself through her lo-fi bedroom pop, and although that was very pleasing to the ears and showcased her abilities, there is something about the full band/full production that has just pushed her up to the next level. I’m aware that she had full instrumentation and co-production from Rostam and Jack Antonoff on Immunity and Sling respectively, but still. Although she had some sound issues and the rain started coming down hard and fast during her set, Clairo decided to have some fun with it. I will never, for as long as I live, forget Clairo asking a fan to throw up a poncho while her band vamped so she had time to put it on, going directly into “Amoeba.” That was a religious experience.

Clairo by Kara Smarsh for Forecastle Festival

Saturday

Day 2 of Forecastle was by far our busiest, and although we saw some amazing performances from EVAN GIIA (who also graced us with her presence in an interview to start the day), Wax Motif, 6LACK, and TroyBoi, anyone who read our pre-coverage should know where this day leaned heavy for me.

3. Flamingosis

This set was loud. This set was bumping. This set was groovy. Flamingosis brought the vibes to the start of Saturday, and it was impossible not to move. Absolutely impossible. Almost everyone was dancing, and those who weren’t were still moving in some way. Feet were being tapped. Hands clapped. Heads bobbed. There was nothing but movement at the Flamingosis set, as for an early day set, that was impressive. It didn’t hurt that my soul was vibrating with the bass.

Flamingosis (Credit: Elena Lin)

2. Phoebe Bridgers

Walking out to “Down With The Sickness” is one thing. Walking out to “Down With The Sickness” and immediately busting into “Motion Sickness” is something else entirely. Phoebe Bridgers had me hooked the moment she was put on the lineup. I’m incredibly biased because of it, but the set she gave delivered in absolutely every conceivable way. Maxine made an appearance during “Scott Street.” She gave us an acoustic solo rendition of “Me And My Dog” from the boygenius EP. “Kyoto” made me cry tears of joy. As someone who has turned a corner since last I saw Phoebe live, it was beautiful to hear the new songs live. Emotions overcame me. Everything I expected from the Phoebe Bridgers set was met and then some. I’m still not over it.

Phoebe Bridgers by Kara Smarsh for Forecastle Festival

1. Tame Impala

Seeing how Tame Impala survived their Squid Game incident from last Halloween, I should have expected nothing less than what they gave us. The ring and the lasers were there. The confetti cannons were there. Kevin, Jay, Cam, and the rest of the squad were there. There was an issue with one of Kevin’s guitars towards the beginning of the set, but they fixed that almost instantaneously, and I’ll say it again: “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” is a perfect set closer. It has been since its release in 2015, and it will be until the end of time. Absolutely incredible performance from a band I’ve grown to expect nothing less from. As one onlooker said about three songs in, “I don’t even care what they play. I’m just happy.” Me too, man. Me too.

Sunday

The exhaustion set in on day three, but we still got out and did the thing. So I will go in and do the thing here.

3. Jai Wolf

Seeing as this was the first time Jai Wolf had brought his live set to Louisville, this was bound to be hype. And hype it was. Our friend Mr. Peanut was there, just dancing to the music. That’s what stood out to me most about Jai Wolf’s set. Yes, his visuals were incredible. Yes, the songs sounded perfect. Yes, he was bouncing on stage like his life depended on it. But the crowd, at the end of the day/weekend/festival, was moving. Like… a lot. There was so much dancing here that it’s hard for me to adequately describe how impressed I was. Props to Jai Wolf. That’s no small feat.

Jai Wolf (Credit: Elena Lin)

2. Dayglow

Ok, so: Dayglow was gracious enough to let us interview him at the start of the day. Dayglow and I bonded over our connection with Post Animal and Roosevelt. Dayglow was one of my most anticipated sets for Sunday. And Sloan delivered in every conceivable way. The hits were played. A new song was played. An exceptional cover of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” was played. There was nothing missing from this Dayglow set, and everyone at the Boom Stage was completely invested. I’m still reminiscing on that particular performance of “Close To You.” Beautiful.

Dayglow by Pooneh Ghana for Forecastle Festival

1. Tyler, The Creator

Everything I said in the Day 3 recap stands (link here). This was my favorite Tyler set I’ve seen since the IGOR tour, and this crowd was the most invested one I’ve been a part of since that night in Orlando. When Tyler said “jump,” the crowd said “how high?” Literally. During “DEATHCAMP,” Tyler wanted everyone to jump, and much like Jai Wolf, despite it being the end of the day, everyone jumped. As high as they could. As long as they could. When Tyler played “NEW MAGIC WAND,” the crowd cheered him on. When he did “911,” they were almost as loud as the recorded Frank Ocean vocals pumping through the speakers. There was not a dull moment in this set, and it was even better than I was anticipating.

Tyler, The Creator by Roger Ho for Forecastle Festival

I couldn’t even begin to tell you how hard this final ranking was, but having sat with it for a few days, I must say I’m surprised at the result. I really am. And I’m sure it’ll surprise you, too.

Best Of The Fest

3. Tame Impala

I know. After everything I said earlier, to put them at number three? The sets were just so good this weekend that it was impossible to not put these next two above this one. But when I say Tame Impala is literal millimeters away from the next two if they were laid onto a metric ruler, I’m not lying.

2. Clairo

Nothing will compare with that religious experience of “Amoeba” live in a downpour. Except maybe…

1. Tyler, The Creator

Yeah. I’ve said all I can possibly say about this one. It was hard to rank these three performances, but I was absolutely blown away here. End of a day, end of a weekend, end of a festival… And Tyler came and did that. Yeah. Number one of the weekend.

This was my first time at Forecastle, and really my first time in Louisville. I’ll be back. If this year was any indication, Forecastle is going to keep on doing what they do best, and the artists will keep bringing their best. I’m excited for the future.

Photos from Glasse Factory Photographer Elena Lin here.

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