Electric Picnic takes place this weekend and it will be my 4th trip to Stradbally for what’s become an annual musical pilgrimage. There’s plenty to do over the weekend; an eclectic mix of music, food, drama, arts, comedy & spoken word with George Galloway & Howard Marks in particular being an exciting prospect. This year will be a little different for me as I’m taking part in the 90km ‘Tour De Picnic’ cycle to the festival in aid of Temple Street Hospital – I’d expect to be a wee bit tired on Friday night but one must persevere.
None the less here is a purely subjective take on what acts worth a little of your time over the weekend. I’m always up for new musical discoveries especially at festivals so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
(There’s no stage times yet but I will fill them in when they are announced – go here for the day by day break down)
Laura Marling: (Crawdaddy Stage 19.15)
Laura Marling is one of the stalwarts of the burgeoning folk renaissance in Britain and with two albums under her belt beautiful, seductive and sultry folk has never sounded better. I saw her at Oxegen but the setting wasn’t suited to it with bigger stages drowning her out – looking forward to seeing her in more suitable surroundings at the picnic.
Mp3: Laura Marling – Devils Spoke
Johnny Flynn: (Body & Soul 19.10)
Friday is all about Folk and Marling’s mate Johnny Flynn is no slouch, a superb song writer whose ability to mold folks past with the here and now is unsurpassed by his contemporaries. He has two great albums under his belt, this year’s Been Listening and the masterful A Larum in particular means we should be in line for a memorable performance.
Foals: (Crawdaddy Stage 21.20)
While I haven’t really got the 2nd album vibe from the Oxford 5-piece I absolutely loved Antidotes with its post-punk, looping post-rock jarring guitars. I caught them live last time they played and didn’t disappoint – expecting to be won over on the new stuff by a redoubtable live show.
Others: Duke Special (Cosby Stage 23.00), The Rubberbandits (The Little Big Tent 01.15).
LCD Soundsystem: (Electric Arena 22.30)
James Murphy is set to bring down the curtain on this project which heralded its third and final album This Is Happening this year, completing a glittering tenure that began in 2002. Since then LCD Soundsystem have monopolised music attention, no less than their music deserves. This may be your last time to catch them do their stylish and slick electro with a post-punk attitude live – not to be missed.
Leftfield: (Main Stage 00.30)
Once proclaimed the loudest live act in the world, Leftfield revolutionised dance music throughout the 90’s pushing it to new and ever daring levels with their two superb albums Leftism and Rhythm & Stealth. I was delighted to hear of the reformation this year even if there is only half the original line-up with Paul Daley being absent, I’m hoping for more than a nostalgia buzz a la Orbital last year, their material still sounds fresh especially Rhythm & Stealth era – good reports from their Tripod gig earlier in the year.
Villagers: (Crawdaddy Stage 15.15)
Villagers have fast become the most exciting Irish act in the world right now. Debut album Becoming A Jackal is an absolute masterpiece of song writing with mesmerizing depth, sincerity, honesty and beauty throughout. They stole the show on Friday night at Oxegen, really hoping for a repeat performance from Conor O Brien and Co. or even more?
Others: These New Puritans (Cosby Stage 16.00), Hot Chip (Electric Arena 20.45), Steve Mason (Cosby Stage 18.30), The Mighty Stef (Cosby Stage 14.00), Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (Main Stage 15.30), The Japanese Popstars (Little Big Tent 20.30), Tiga (Little Big Tent 22.45), Nouveaunoise (Body & Soul 12.50).
The Horrors: (Crawdaddy Stage 19.45)
Once-derided and hyped by the NME, The Horrors surprised us all with the release of the superb Primary Colours in 2009. Gone is the goth-garage gimmickry, in is the swaggering psychedelic drone to complete the shoegaze makeover. I have high hopes for their set this year after I missed them after they pulled out of Oxegen last year.
Two Door Cinema Club: (Electric Arena 17.00)
The Bangor three-piece have been in almost all ‘ones to watch’ lists for 2010 following the release pretty solid and tight debut album in Tourist History. I caught these guys earlier in the year in the Button Factory and they didn’t disappoint – expect lots of cheery, catchy energetic indie tunes.
Friendly Fires: (Main Stage 17.30)
It seems like an eternity since Friendly Fires released their excellent debut album in 2008. I caught half their set at Oxegen last year and it was a real wow moment, a definite highlight of the weekend. Expect a blistering set brimming with euphoric electro-indie with sparkling renditions of the like of ‘Jump In The Pool’ and ‘Hospital Beds’, these guys will keep you dancing.
Others: Mr. Scruff (Little Big Tent 14.30), Messiah J & The Expert (Electric Arena 12.30), The Fall (Cosby Stage 21.15), Unkle (Electric Arena 19.45), The Last Tycoons (Salty Dog Saloon 23.00)