“You want to dance? Well, you can try,” said Band of Horses guitarist and solo songsmith Tyler Ramsey (above) during the mammoth Halfway to Forecastle celebration last night at Louisville’s Headliners Music Hall.
Admittedly, Ramsey’s contemplative psychedelic folk didn’t send folks bolting to the dance floor at the onset of the 10 act, 11 hour mini festival (sadly, we were only able to catch Ramey at an unaccompanied late afternoon set, not at his evening show with Band of Horses). But tunes from Ramsey’s debut A Long Dream about Swimming Across the Sea, already one of the finer albums in a very young 2008, were full of alluring pop references (the White Album-era Beatles accent on A Long Dream) and gentle, moody surprises (the acoustic based Ships, which was rewired for solo electric Stratocaster). A familiar but fun cover of the ‘80s Jules Shear/Cyndi Lauper hit All Through the Night nicely complimented the performance.
Bowling Green’s Noizejoi followed with a bright, modestly retro pop-soul sound and a frontline of three female vocalists led by Lauren Cunningham. A strong, intuitive singer who effortlessly ignited a commanding soul/blues chill for Slow Down and Lady Luck, Cunningham’s performance stance revealed what a young band Noizejoi still is. The singer spent most of her centerstage time with her hands shoved in her pockets looking like she was waiting for a bus. (Noizejoi will perform locally at The Dame on Feb.28 with Cincinnati’s IsWhat?!)
Bloomington’s Early Day Miners offered a very streamlined set of new material (at least it sounded that way when compared to the electric chamber colors and rockish minimalism of the band’s 2006 album Offshore). Singer/guitarist/keyboardist Daniel Burton compacted the Miners’ dense, expansive music and polished the percussion edge into lean ‘80s-style grooves that could have played by a drum machine. While a tad static at times, the Miners’ nonetheless amped up the evening nicely and put this lengthy Forecastle preview on solid electric ground.