Unless you’ve been living under a rock, most music fans are well aware that season 3 of House of Cards so far is amazing (no spoilers please). Most music fans are also aware of the lineups for the major festival circuit (the Bonnaroos, Coachellas, and Gov Balls). While those three will be a damn good time, don’t be so quick to commit to the big boys just yet, there are a lot of really great festivals taking place across the country that will be a fucking blast even without one of the piece of shit Kardashian sisters being paid to make an appearance at one of them (cough Coachella cough).

One of the best lineups I’ve seen so far belongs to Forecastle Festival. Taking place in the heart of the Bourbon Trail, this three-day festival in Louisville makes for one locked and loaded musical experience. Of course us whiskey drinking degenerates here at Pancakes & Whiskey sure do love our favorite distilled sauces, so it’s no surprise that we’re just as excited for the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge as we are the music. Only the Playboy Mansion Grotto can match the shenanigans that will take place in the Bourbon Lodge, which features culinary awesomeness, high fives, and of course some tasty bourbon that will be consumed like it’s the end of the world.

Forecastle Festival 2015

Forecastle Festival 2015

Not only are some of our good friends on this bill, but taking place in mid-July, this mid-summer shindig will be weeks after all the big festivals crowd your June schedule, so you don’t have a lot of excuses for making your way to The Bluegrass State for some in-your-face-wham-bam-thank-you-mam rock music. Here are my picks for the best bands to catch at Forecastle:


Diarrhea Planet – This band just flat out fucking rocks. They killed it on Halloween at Brooklyn Bazaar and they were one of our favorite acts at Gov Ball last year. It’s just a shame they played at like noon on Saturday. Some bands just know how to put on a great rock show and bring authenticity to the fans, and these guys are no exception. If I recall one of the member climbed like 30 feet up the side scaffolding of the Gov Ball stage to play his guitar from a better view. That’s how you rock out.


Twin Peaks – Last time we saw these chaps from Chicago, they were literally tearing the room apart when they played Baby’s All Right back in November or something like that. Their guitarist was also forced to play in a chair due to a leg injury, and they still had the place going nuts, so I can only imagine how awesome their show will be in full force.


Milo Greene – Fresh off their recent 2015 release Control, the band really took a step forward progressing their indie-Americana sound of their 2012 self-titled debut to the more eletro-based Control. Still with the change, they haven’t lost any of their songwriting magic. I’m really interested to see how they blend the two projects together in one live set.


The Barr Brothers – If you braved the frigid temperatures to make it to the SummerStage Winter Showcase a month or so back at Highline Ballroom, you saw this Americana-rock band put together an impressive show. The talented group skillfully puts together folk-rooted tunes into a catchy and almost pop-friendly vibe. Not to mention the lovely and talented Miss Sarah Page – totally kills it with her harp.


Alvvays – I’m somewhat biased with this band, because I absolutely love them. Their debut album made it onto my list of best albums of 2014, and they’ve perfectly brought back that garage rock sound of the 90s into 2010s with an innocent and untamed youthful push. They sound like a garage band, but they’ve carefully crafted a unique pop sound that seems to fit indie rock in 2015, perfectly. Molly Rankin also totally has a Debbie Harry thing going on and I’m all about it.


Cold War Kids – They were one of the bigger named already-discovered bands who played on night one of CMJ this year. You’ve definitely heard “Hang Me Up To Dry” on GIRLS or one of those fucking shows that the young kids are watching these days too. Their energetic rock sound touches somewhere between Gavin DeGraw and The Killers, just a bit less polished and a tad hungrier.


Portugal. The Man – This is one of the few bands that can perfectly symbolize where rock music is at in 2015. Their groove-filled rock songs can either mix dirty guitars, piano, or both. They’ve put out an awesome eleven albums. For a band that’s barely been around for a decade, they’ve proven themselves a talented band that doesn’t bitch about personal drama or needing a break from themselves, but a group of creative minds that are constantly creating and putting out better and better music.


Article by: Tom Shackleford


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