Loufest Review

At 10:30 a.m. on Saturday August 25, 2012: I awoke to go to the biggest indie music festival in the St. Louis area. Loufest is held at Central Field in Forest Park: a vast, open area perfect for setting up a music festival. The lineup for both days was stocked full of great artists (such as Son Volt, Dawes, Dr. Dog, Dinosaur Jr. and The Flaming Lips).


Day 1


I arrived at the gates at 11:30 a.m. to try and get a decent spot in line; little did I know that the line was short enough that I could have shown up at noon. The line was nowhere near as long as it usually is for most concerts. After entrance into the concert, the first band would go on at 1:00 p.m. at the orange stage.

The first band was St. Louis’ local Sleepy Kitty. Sleepy Kitty plays a very upbeat style of indie rock that sounds like a mix of The Dear Hunter and No Doubt. Lead vocalist/guitar player Paige Brubeck started off their set with an acapella version of the song “Summertime,” that morphed into their song “Speaking Politely” off of their album “Infinity City.” Their next song was accompanied by special guest Wren Matthews, from Chicago rock/blues band Bailiff. After this they broke into their new single “Don’t You Start,” which had a drastic change of style at the end of the song that almost sounded more like Black Sabbath than indie. Sleepy Kitty surprised me with their amount of energy that early in the afternoon, making them one of my favorite bands of the whole day. Everyone seemed to be in great spirits during their set, jumping up and down and singing the lyrics they already knew or caught onto.

“I felt our show went ecstatic! I don’t think it could’ve went better,” Sleepy Kitty drummer Evan Sult said when I caught him after their set.

After Sleepy Kitty’s set at the blue stage (about a football field away from the orange stage), indie rock band King Tuff played. I hadn’t heard King Tuff prior to this, but I had heard their vocalist Kyle Thomas’s other bands (most notably The Happy Birthday and Witch). Their sound was a mix of early punk, like The Ramones, and glam rock bands, like T-Rex.

King Tuff plays some good music, but I left their set early to go back to the orange stage to see Austin, Texas rock band, Cotton Mather. Cotton Mather was most popular in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, but broke up in 2003, so when I saw them on the lineup I was excited. They played an hour of old school rock n’ roll that kicked the energy back up for the rest of the day.

“Cotton Mather has been my favorite band for fifteen years, and to have them follow us on the stage is an honor. That was a great show!” Evan Sult from Sleepy Kitty said.

Following Cotton Mather’s outstanding performance was the band Little Barrie. Little Barrie is extremely popular over in Europe and in Japan (the Japanese Rolling Stone magazine did an 8-page spread on Little Barrie) and this was their first time in St. Louis. After ten minutes into their set I was already enjoying their 1960’s blues-rock sound, but sadly after those ten minutes, it started pouring rain.

It was about ten minutes before their set ended that I started walking over to the orange stage to see Missouri/Minnesota folk-rock band Son Volt. On the way over I noticed J Mascis, guitarist/vocalist of Dinosaur Jr. walking over to watch the end of Little Barrie’s set.

Son Volt ended up being delayed thirty minutes due to the rain that was pouring directly on the stage, but when they started up, their folk-rock sound seemed to warm up the day (it also stopped raining after they finished playing).

After this I walked over to the orange stage to get a good spot for Dinosaur Jr. During the time I waited at that stage, I heard all of Phantogram’s set. Phantogram put on a great show of psychedelic pop. Their music is pretty much what would happen if Timothy Leary (the man to blame for popularity of hallucinogens in the 1960s and 1970’s) wrote the music and lyrics for a Katy Perry album. They are the perfect example of the sub genre Trip-Hop.

When Dinosaur Jr. started doing soundcheck the crowd went wild. The band consists of drummer Emmett “Murph” Jefferson, bassist/vocalist Lou Barlow and guitarist/vocalist J Mascis, a combination that influenced grunge and alternative rock for decades after their prime. They put on a great show, and played one of the tracks from their original hardcore punk band Deep Wound (the song was “Deep Wound”).

During their set, people from punks to hipsters did not hold anything back. Headbanging and even moshing occurred. You could almost feel the intensity resting over the crowd like fog, and it was more notable during the short break between songs.

I definitely suggest that anyone who is a fan of grunge, punk, noise-rock or metal check out Dinosaur Jr., and if they see them in concert front-row, I suggest ear-plugs.

The last artist to play for the night was dance/mash-up artist Girl Talk. I did not get to stay for the whole set (being as my ride did not want to see Girl Talk), but what I saw was awesome. The last show of the day was essentially a massive dance party with confetti, a great way to end the first day.


Day 2


Day two started with local rock group The Pernikoff Brothers. They played a great cover of The Beatles’ tune “Eleanor Rigby” that had a funk breakdown in the center, as well as a great cover of the Pink Floyd classic “Wish You Were Here.” A mixture of happiness and adrenaline seemed to possess the crowd as they sang along to one of The Pernikoff Brothers more popular tunes, “On My Way.”

“For me, my main heroes on guitar are probably Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and David Gilmour,” Tom Pernikoff said, “But as a band and composers I’d say our main influences are The Beatles, Ben Harper, and Dave Matthews Band.”

“We play a lot of shows in this area, but will be playing a lot more in the next few months in support of our new album coming out. The biggest show we played was opening up for Willie Nelson at The Pageant. I feel we should play with My Morning Jacket sometimes, though; I feel we would be a good band to have on tour with them,” Tom said.

The next group to perform was rap duo THEESatisfaction, and to be honest I did not like their performance. Some may find their verses creative, but I just found them to be full of badly done lyrics and tales of debauchery unevenly put to a beat.

After them was local indie rock band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. They put on a great show that definitely upped my thoughts of the day.

Wild Nothing started right after them at 4:00 p.m. I’d never heard of Wild Nothing before, but I’m a fan now! They deliver music that is hard to label, but you can hear hints of style from bands like The Cure, M83, Wavves and The Smiths, as well as an obvious shoegaze influence. There were people dancing the whole time during their set, including a group of congo liners. The band seemed to make the whole crowd’s mind go into a haze of bliss and confusion. I noticed a few people who seemed to dwindle in front of the stage just staring, as if expecting the music to start up again, but eventually figured out Wild Nothing was done playing and moved on to see Cults.

“I feel our set was okay, but it never sounds exactly right if you are playing on stage. Everyone else seemed to enjoy it, so I would say this show was definitely successful,” Max Brooks, drummer for Wild Nothing, said after their set.

I sadly missed Cults while I was interviewing Wild Nothing, but thankfully had a front row seat for Dawes.

Dawes is one of those bands that I have wanted to see for a while, so it was great to finally see their folk/rock performed (the outdoor stage was also a nice addition). They played through some great tracks including “When You Call My Name,” “Love Is All I Am,” “A Little Bit of Everything,” and a new song called “From A Window Seat.” As they were playing their song “Fire Away” the sky started to release a bit of rain, but the crowd seemed to enjoy the refreshingly cool rain. By the end of “Fire Away” the refreshing shower had turned into a downpour of rain, that appeared colder than the arctic.

During this time I found myself with many other people, scattering mindlessly to find any sort of tent/shelter to escape the torrential downpour. The management team announced over the PA system that the show would be delayed for forty-five minutes. No one was allowed in front of the stage, due to the fact that stages tend to collapse, because of rain.

The crowd rushed back in front of the stage at 8pm. During this time Dr. Dog played a shortened set over at the orange stage, which I sadly was unable to hear over The Flaming Lips’ soundcheck. Wayne Coyne, vocalist/guitarist, while the soundcheck was occurring shot off cannon blasts of joy (confetti). It upped the crowd’s mood to the point where no one (including myself) cared about the rain anymore. A group of fans, self-named the “Love Pit” were going around painting rainbows under the eyes of fans, to symbolize crying rainbows.

The Lips sent a mushroom cloud of excitement and confetti into the crowd with the start of “Race For The Prize.” The screen projected an array of rainbow visualizations while cannons launched out confetti and giant balloons full of confetti and glitter were passed around in the crowd. Wayne grabbed his guitar (an acoustic with an orange astronaut helmet over the sound hole) and began playing The Lips’ song “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song (With All Your Power),” during which he shot smoke out of a rainbow megaphone into the crowd. They continued on their set with their cover of Pink Floyd’s “On The Run,” which included Wayne crawling around in his famous hamster ball. This left the crowd feeling even more energetic and hyper.

The next part of their set was a flurry of laser lights and smoke, as they played through some great tracks, including “Is David Bowie Dying??” (originally recorded with Neon Indian), “Ego Tripping At The Gates of Hell” and “See The Leaves.”

Wayne then walked out of the crowd’s view to get The Hands. The Hands are absolutely a highlight of The Lips’ set. Wayne walked back out as the band started to play a very strange experimental/droning song. On Wayne’s hands were a set of giant rubber hands, with multi colored laser pointer located in the palms. Wayne shined them on the crowd as the crowd cheered in a state of excitement. The Hands then pointed at the disco ball hanging from the top of the stage, causing thousands of lasers to be pointed off into the crowd.

After the hands were put away, the band broke into the song “Drug Chart” from the gummy skulls EP. The rest of their set was great; they played through some of my favorite songs ( “Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung,” “What Is The Light?” and “The Observer”) and left the stage with the crowd begging for more.

They came back out on stage and played an outstanding version of their track “Ashes In The Air” (originally recorded with Bon Iver) and left the stage quickly afterward, but only to be cheered until their return for a second encore.

Before their second encore Wayne spoke to the crowd, “You people are why we are a band. It pours rain and everything gets delayed, and you still stay here for the show. You people are crazy! You never disappoint us! You get so much happiness and excitement out of listening to our music, having giant balls out of some unknown origin thrown at you and confetti blasted at you from a cannon; it just makes me so happy. Thank you all!” After his speech he had to wipe his eyes, due to the tears of joy. I realized after hearing that speech that, unlike most rockstars, he doesn’t care to let his emotions show through to his fans; he is truly the most grateful rock star I have ever seen.

Their second encore song was “Do You Realize??” During its performance, the crowd was bombarded with confetti, balloons, streamers and even piñatas. I can honestly say that this was the best concert I have ever seen, and it would be a hard one for any band in the future to top. At the end of the song, with the lyrics still fresh in the crowd’s (as well as my own) mind, everyone left happier than they had ever been in their whole lives.