Saint Louis made its first attempt at a multi-day music festival in the beautiful Central Field of Forrest Park and Lou Fest’s debut was definitely a hit. Split between two stages, many people braved the uncomfortable humidity for both Saturday and Sunday to see both local and national indie favorites. Lou Fest definitely proved Saint Louis’ potential to hold a nationally recognized music festival not unlike Pitchfork Festival in Chicago (and maybe even in the future, Lollapalooza). The amount of energy that was put into this project by the festival organizer’s was impressive, and definitely shows lasting dedication.
The best band name of the day, So Many Dynamos (for those who don’t get it, it’s a palindrome, spelled the same way both forward and backwards) took the stage Saturday afternoon and played a sweat drenched set of their synth based, dance rock style of indie music. So Many Dynamos, a Saint Louis local favorite, can get a hot and sweaty crowd up on their toes, but their music is by no means lighthearted. Usually dealing with topics such as the apocalypse (The Formula) or what happens after you die and become a ghost (The Novelty of Haunting), So Many Dynamos lyrical skill is the hidden key to their success.
Titus Andronicus also graces Saint Louis with their presence playing raw punk style indie music straight from their hometown of Glen Rock, New Jersey. Generating buzz as one of Rolling Stone’s best new bands of 2010, Titus Andronicus play loud rock ‘n’ roll that also has a sense of literary realism, not unlike their band name which comes from an early Shakespeare tragedy. Although the band play true punk rock music, they also have amazing layers in their sound, including an electric violin to complement their heavy guitar sound.
As the sun began to set on Saturday night, Airborne Toxic Event took the stage. Although they’re choice of a band name is clearly questionable, Airborne Toxic Event are more like Arcade Fire than the post-punk emo genre that their name seems to suggest. Led by Mikel Jollet, Airborne Toxic Event’s refined brand of indie music makes their stage presence almost frightening. Each of the band’s members have an impressive music history, ranging in expertise from jazz to classical and chamber music. The plethora of instruments on the stage alone, including the always favourite upright bass, create such a unique sound for a band who only have one album under their belts.
Sunday night’s headliner, the much anticipated She & Him, include actress Zoey Deschannel and folk hero M. Ward. “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here” was an indie hit back in 2008 after the release of Volume One, which gave Deschannel all of the music credentials she needed. Her sweet sounding, throwback voice, complements M. Ward’s classical folk style to create something that sounds like it could have easily come from the early 1960’s. Although She & Him have some big names attached to them, their music speaks for itself and was a perfect ending to Saint Louis’ first Lou Fest.