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What You Missed Friday at Forecastle Festival

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J. Tyler Franklin
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Forecastle Day 1 had more than a few notable moments--the largest one probably being the severe thunderstorm that rolled toward the end of the night,  cutting Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Sam Smith's set short. Not to mention the thousands of people who evacuated Waterfront Park all at once as the storm set in.

But before the night took came to an unexpected end, the first day of the music festival at Waterfront Park was sunny, hot and full of musicians and the fans who love them. Earlier in the day, ZZ Ward took over the Mast Stage. The mixture of strong vocals, a solid band and energetic stage presence left the crowd pleased.

Indie rock band Cold War Kids had the crowd grooving and singing along to songs like "Hang Me Out to Dry" and "Hospital Beds" off of their 2006 debut album "Robbers and Cowards." It was pretty clear that fans favored the band's older material, but the crowd sang along with some new songs, too.

Cheered before she even took the stage, Kiesza presented a fun and energetic change of pace from the rock bands. She burst onto the stage full of energy belting out songs from her 2014 album "Sound of a Woman." If you've seen her video for the song "Hideaway," you'd know that Kiesza can bust a move. And of course she did just that to songs like "Losing My Mind" and "Vietnam." Her sound is reminiscent of good old 90s pop with a hit of R&B and Disco undertones. The crowd couldn't help but dance along.

Cage the Elephant opened their show with "My Old Kentucky Home," an appropriate choice for the band hailing from Bowling Green. Cage's set went from loud and raucous to mellow and moody then back again. Lead singer Matthew Schultz passionately sang "Telescope"--and then with nothing on but a bowtie and his pants, Schultz jumped into the crowd while singing "Backstabbing Betty." So it was interesting.

Another band with Kentuckiana connections, Houndmouth, had the largest crowd at the Boom Stage. The second half of the band's set took a mellow turn, and the crowd sang along to "Sedona" from their latest album "Little Neon Limelights." And if fans looked stage left, they would have spotted a sign language interpreter bringing the group's tunes to life for the hearing impaired.

Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. brought out Talib Kwali for "Get By" during his set and the crowd ate it up. Kwali, who was scheduled to perform at one of the festivals late night shows at the Mercury, called Big K.R.I.T. one of the best rappers before exiting the stage. K.R.I.T. went on to perform "I Got This," which got the audience hyped up as they rapped along with enthusiasm. He then slowed things down with the thoughtful "Soul Food."

The night's headliner, Sam Smith, started his show five minutes early. Perhaps the soulful crooner couldn't wait to give his first performance since undergoing surgery for a vocal cord hemorrhage. He started the show with "Only One" before declaring how hot it was and then singing "Leave Your Lover." He described "I've Told You Now" as the first honest song that he wrote,which was met with screams and applause from the crowd. Smith also included a tribute to the late singer Amy Winehouse by singing a Mashup of "Tears Dry on Their Own" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough."

And then in the middle of the hit "Lay Me Down" the winds picked up, the storm clouds rolled in and a cool breeze showed up.

A voice came over the loud speaker telling everyone to evacuate. It was a chaotic scene as thousands began running away from the stage. Smith expressed dismay via his Instagram about the show being canceled saying: "I had to be taken off stage and the whole festival had to evacuate. This KILLS me, because you guys were SO loud and incredible!!! You were so loud the heavens opened haha."

Saturday is expected to be seriously hot again. The festival begins again in the early afternoon (here's the schedule) and includes The War on Drugs, Shovels & Rope and, of course, My Morning Jacket.