Forecastle: West and East Stages, Day 1

Photo: Marty Pearl

Photos: Marty Pearl

The main stage opened with two southern rock bands cut from a similar cloth, Scott Miller & The Commonwealth and Drive-by Truckers. Miller falling down on the more country side of things, while the Truckers turned up a notch with a blues-centered, riff-based set.

The Truckers started out with bevy of songs from their new album The Big To-Do, but wrapped things up with some of their old classics like “Zip City,” “Women Without Whiskey,” and “Hell No, I Ain’t Happy.” Miller did a mean cover of, “Sedan Delivery,” a deep Neil Young cut from Rust Never Sleeps.

Dead Confederate on the second stage tugged their way through a set filled with psychedelic southern rock, which weighs heavy on an audience.

Manchester Orchestra is a band of musicians better than their murky sound.  However, their live performance is nothing scoff at.  Hailing from Georgia, the have culled the ability to perform live (as most bands out of Athens do out of necessity), by letting front man Andy Hull be the showpiece, because often times in bands with this many talented musicians everyone is fighting for the listener’s ear.  And for the second Neil Young cover of the day, they knocked out a ragged version of “Unknown Legend.”

The fireworks show over the river at sundown was a great intro for the last act of the evening, jam-band stalwarts Widespread Panic, who closed the main stage doing what they do… endless jams with no discernible direction. But that’s all they have to do with their loyal following of hippies who came complete with pot, beach balls, glowsticks and of course, those snazzy hippy dance moves. Regardless the guys kept the audience at bay by playing crowd favorites like “Chainsaw City” and “Til the Medicine Takes.”

Lucero shut down the East Stage with an uninspired set by a band that has fallen off. They sound like a shadow of their former selves. —Brent Owen

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