As lovers of St. Louis and great music, the ALIVE Around Town team is all about LouFest. So, we’re spending the weekend out on the festival grounds in Forest Park taking in the scene and reporting back to you!
The biggest news on the ground Saturday was that The Roots canceled their much-anticipated headline act at the fest. The LouFest blog reported Friday evening that because of Hurricane Irene bearing down on the east coast, the band was stuck in New York. We witnessed more than a few disgruntled fans at the box office trying to get refunds.
The Roots drummer ?uestlove, who happened to be in Chicago at the time with travel plans unaffected, showed up to console the crowd with a DJ set earlier in the evening. After apologizing for the circumstances, (“The good news is, The Roots have only canceled six shows in their entire career. The bad news is…this makes seven.”) he launched into a spirited set aiming to sample “85 years of music in one hour.” As far as we’re concerned, he was plenty successful.
In the absence of The Roots, The Hold Steady moved up to the headlining spot at 8:30 on the main stage. If you hadn’t known, you would never be able to tell they had little more than 24 hours to prepare for the role. The band lit up the stage with an energy that made the crowd forget they’d been standing in the blazing sun all day, and even the uninitiated had to bob their heads a little. Lead singer Craig Finn sings every song like he’s telling a story to a bunch of friends at the bar—smiling, waving his arms around and pointing, repeating punch lines incredulously off the mic. Local band Union Tree Review tweeted after the set, “The Hold Steady taught me from an early age that stage presence is everything. Still influence me today.”
As for the rest of the day, Jon Hardy and the Public kicked off the day at high noon, followed by Troubadour Dali. Both put on great sets, despite the fact that—as Troubadour bassist Kevin Bachmann commented—they’re unaccustomed to wearing shades during their shows. Kings Go Forth made an impression with their solid white outfits and upbeat, groovy style of soul. At 3pm, it was the first show of the day that we saw the crowd start moving and dancing for. We also very much enjoyed DOM, with its endearingly androgynous front man cooing into the mic and wailing on his pink paisley guitar.
That’s it for Saturday, folks! Check out the photos below, and for more on each of the bands, check out RFT’s reviews. Stay tuned tomorrow morning for a recap of Day Two!
[photos by Katie Davis]