As everyone knows "going green" is the "bomb" right now and LouFest did not skip in that department. There were recycling tents set up all over and a recycling can next to every garbage can. There were plenty of green sponsors and a heavy emphasis on alternate transportation.
The crowds were a little thin but I imagine that after a successful first year the second should be better. I was told that it wasn't marketed very thourougly in St. Louis which is surprising especially considering the fest was held in the absolutely massive Forest Park that has two large universities on either side of it.
Another great thing about the fest was the lack of hipsters and hoopsters! I only saw a few but I made sure to kick the sh*t out of the ones I did see.
They seem to going for a country sound these days. Not really good country though, like, Tim McGraw pop country. They were sounding good, just wasn't my cup of tea.
I was quite surprised by this 3 piece. We heard them during sound check and it sounded cool but I was skeptical because of their atrocious band name. They brought it though. Stephanie Morgan, the groups singer/guitarist, has a set of pipes on her! She knows how to manipulate her voice to the music and it really worked well. Their lyrics were so-so but this group does have potential.
I couldn't believe how much they sounded like Son Volt! Both musically and vocally they were really broadcasting the "alt-country" signal. The front man was actually very sick ( "puking from both ends" as he put it) but apparently it did something to his voice! I liked it, my sister (the Lucero fan) said she didn't. Either way, they sounded good despite illnes, they did end their set about 20 minutes early though, he was getting hooked up to an IV apparently.
Built to Spill
On record I'm not crazy about the vocals of frontman Doug Martsch but live I thought he sounded great. The guitars in this band are rediculous too! It was great to see some guitar raging after a day that was seriously lacking it. They were able to play 30 minutes past their set time too.
This is a band that will get some of my time over the next few months. They seem much more tame on record than they are live. It was the perfect first time exposure I'd say. Eric D. Johnson is a compelling front man with a great voice and I must say they all seemed to be enjoying the hell out of themselves while on stage.
Another first time exposure, Alejandro Escovedo and his band played a set that reminded me of a version Bruce Springstein that I actually like.
What can I even say here? Jeff Tweedy solo is an absolute treat every single time. Apparently the mayor of St. Louis annouced August 29th as "Jeff Tweedy Day" to which Jeff Tweedy responded with "the stupidest thing I've every heard." Tweedy is good with the crowd. He played all sorts of Wilco classics but I must say I was bummed he did not play the Tweedy written Mavis Staples song "You Are Not Alone."
She & Him
Man that Zoey Deschanel is a babe! Oh yeah, she sings too and plays a little keyboard too. I love her voice but I must say she looks quite bored on stage, she makes next to no facial expressions seemingly ever. M. Ward was his cool self as usual, just kind of hanging out playing the guitar and lending some vocals here and there. We did get a few M. Ward solo songs and a rockin' version of "Roll Over Beethoven" to end the fest out.
LouFest had a good first year and I think with some minor tweaks it can really become something special. They drew some great acts this year and hopefully they can use this momentum to lock down some more next year.
Good work LouFest.