LouFest Prep with Nick Freed

Special Contributor and 'Consequence and Sound' writer Nick Freed gives us the rundown for LouFest 2016 and showcases the bands that are sure to make an impact during St.Louis' biggest music festival. 


Lower Tier Bands to Look Out For

When it comes to festivals, the strength of a line-up isn't in the headliners, but in the middle to lower tier bands. In my six or so years of covering festivals, including a stint at the third year of LouFest, I quickly learned that the most dynamic performances come from a band you might not have heard of who's playing an early afternoon set. When I covered the Toronto Urban Roots Festival, it was Pokey Lafarge on a side stage at 2pm that stole the entire festival. I remember The Walkmen playing at 3pm at Lollapalooza more than My Morning Jacket headlining. That being said, here are five day-time options for the this weekend's festival that are sure to deliver a stellar set and gain a whole new legion of fans.


Anderson.paak and the Free Nationals

The artist with the latest time slot on this list belongs to California's own Anderson .paak and the Free Nationals who are performing Sunday the 11th at 6:00pm on the Tunespeak BMI stage. Anderson .paak is part of what I like to call a “new wave of hip-hop positivity,” along with artists like Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, .paak is releasing music that speaks of his upbringing and tribulations with a soul and jazz backbeat. The incredibly talented drummer, rapper, and singer combines the feel good vibes from early pioneers like Tribe Called Quest and Talib Kweli with the social awareness of Kendrick and Chance, and the smooth croon of Marvin Gaye. His set backed by his band, the Free Nationals, is sure to be an uplifting, soul affirming adventure made even more entertaining when .paak takes his turn behind the drums. If you're not sold yet, check out his recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to seal the deal.



Twin Peaks

For a 60s garage rock dance fest, get to the grounds early on Sunday for Chicago delinquents Twin Peaks. They play at 2pm on the Bud Light stage, and they'll be the perfect band to help you shake off your Saturday night Chris Stapleton whiskey hangover. Their sloppy, Replacements-esque take on punk rock has been taking the Chicago-area and critics by storm over the last few years. They're three albums deep into an exceptional career highlighted by no holds barred live shows that are sure to make an early trip to Forest Park well worth it. Check out their newest video for their single “Butterfly” for a little peak at the madness.


Vince Staples

Before you dive into the feel-good soul of Anderson .paak, head to the Forest Park stage at 5pm for fellow Californian, Vince Staples. Flowing into the public consciousness via the lunatics in Odd Future, namely Early Sweatshirt, Staples is a pure product, like Snoop before him, of Long Beach. Staples has the laid back flow of Snoop with the hard tales of Dre. His multiple mixtapes and debut full-length, Summertime '06, feature a who's who of rising hip-hop talent including Schoolboy Q, A$ap Rocky, and Mac Miller. His powerful verses about street life in the LBC, and beats from DJ Dahi, Clams Casino, and No ID put Staples in a class of his own. His late afternoon set should be a perfect way to ring in the sunset. Check his pounding “Norf Norf” for a preview.


Diarrhea Planet

I know that day one of a festival is sometimes met with trepidations, especially when it comes to the first bands to play. However, the LouFest bookers have made sure the festival starts with a bang by slotting Nashville's Diarrhea Planet in the 1:30pm slot on the Forest Park Stage. Don't let the name deter you from seeing them. This six-piece group brings the rock with influences ranging from AC/DC to Dokken. There's something so refreshing seeing a band fully enjoy themselves during a live set, and Diarrhea Planet is no exception. With plenty of face melting solos and upbeat sing-alongs, they're THE band to start your weekend off right. It also may be the last time you have chance to see them in such an small setting because they're on their way to selling out bigger houses in no time. See their bizarre video for their single “Babyhead” here. 


Frightened Rabbit

Speaking of bands on the verge of bigger things, the best band with the earliest time slot has got to be the Scottish boys of Frightened Rabbit. Their 5:30pm slot at the Forest Park Stage is one of the biggest short changes at this year's festival. There are few bands active today that deliver the kind of powerful and thoughtful live shows you'd expect to see closing out major festivals. Their most recent album, Painting of a Panic Attack, is filled with boisterous arena anthems and lush, multi-layered ruminations on addiction, relationships, unknown lands, and more. They've been releasing incredible albums for ten years, and the latest is their best one yet. Missing their first night set would be a disservice not only to this remarkable band on the rise, but to your own enjoyment. Do. Not. Miss. Frightened Rabbit. Here's the video for their most recent single, “Woke Up Hurting”. 


Honorable mentions:

Charles Bradley – Amazing James Brown-esque soul

Buddy Guy – Classic Chicago Blues from one of the greatest guitarists of all time