New school Forecastle acts with old school vibes

Forecastle Festival
Source: Nathan Zucker

Earth, Wind & Fire, Prince and Neil Young won’t be there.. or will they? If you’re like me and feel like most of the world’s great music was made decades before your birth, here’s a guide to the new artists coming to Forecastle who’ll give you those old school vibes.

FRIDAY

Jungle – It might be surprising to learn this group’s two founders, Tom McFarland and Josh Lloyd-Watson, are from London, because the music sounds like they were born and raised inside Studio 54. With Anita Ward instrumentation and falsettos to make even Philip Bailey proud, Jungle promises to be one of the funkiest acts of this year’s Forecastle lineup. They hit the Ocean Stage at 8:30 p.m.

Chromeo – Picture it.. it’s the 1980’s and George Clinton is jamming with Daryl Hall & John Oates; the hair is flowing and the synth is rocking. That’s Chromeo’s vibe. The duo of  David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel fuse soul, disco, synth-pop and rock to make music it’s impossible to sit still during. The dance party starts on the Boom Stage at 6:15 p.m.

Cold War Kids -It’s pretty to easy to draw a straight line from the Smiths through Radiohead and arrive at Cold War Kids. They’ve swapped members with fellow west coast bands Modest Mouse and We Barbarians, but stayed true to their indie rock roots. Keep an ear out for guitar moments that would make even Buster proud. They take the Mast Stage at 5:15 p.m.

SATURDAY

Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals – By far my most anticipated act of this year’s festival, Anderson .Paak has skyrocketed to popularity on the back of what can only be described as a master music library in .Paak’s head. Only someone who grew up listening to Rick James, Chic, Midnight Starr, Prince and the O’Jays could concoct the perfect effortless grooves; the rock-solid foundation upon which the undeniable hits are built, and reach to the sky. Southern California’s funkiest export is sure to win over anyone who isn’t already obsessed with his perfect blend of contemporary hip hop with classic funk and soul. .Paak is deservedly the Saturday headliner, and takes the Mast Stage at 9:45 p.m.

Midland – For everybody who goes to their local dive bar and still plays Waylon Jennings and George Jones on the jukebox, Midland will be a must-see show. Many critics of modern country won’t find the typical electric-guitar heavy banalities of broken trucks and broken hearts. Instead, the silky harmonies and  steel guitar prevail, guiding the listener through honest life stories. Grab some of Kentucky’s finest bourbon to wash it down, and make your way to the Boom Stage at 8:45 p.m.

SUNDAY

Whethan – If Supertramp formed in 2019, they’d probably sound something like Whethan. Exaggerate the percussion on Breakfast in America, and it could perhaps find a home between When I’m Down and Good Nights in the Whethan catalogue. Check them out on the Ocean Stage at 6:15 p.m.

Dawes – Front man Taylor Goldsmith is heavily informed by 1970’s southern California rock sensibilities. Glenn Frey used to tell the story of listening through the wall to Jackson Browne’s songwriting to learn the craft. It’s not hard to imagine a space-time warp where Goldsmith has his ear to the other wall. Hope the tequila doesn’t run out, and catch them at the Mast Stage at 5:15 p.m.