This years Electric Picnic began at the ungodly hour of 6.15 AM as I was taking part in the ‘Tour De Picnic’ (Dublin – Stradbally Cycle) in aid of Temple Street Children’s Hospital. The final sum raised was €713.25, thanks to everyone who gave a few quid to a good cause. I can’t help but wonder what kind of countrywe live in that we must fundraise to keep hospitals going?
The cycle was well organised on the day even if the pre-registration and bike checking were hugely annoying especially when you receive details days before the cycle, that aside it was very enjoyable and I’m glad I took part. Everything ran smoothly setting off at 10.30 with plenty of sunshine and no wind, arriving at EP before 3pm feeling a lot better than I had thought. After a well needed shower, lots of food and some chill out time Friday wasn’t going to be a write off as first suspected.
First on the agenda was Johnny Flynn on the Body & Soul stage, essentially an amphitheatre but in a beautifully intimate and relaxing setting perfectly suited for stirring and heartwarming folk music. There was a good crowd (predominantly female) waiting as he took to the stage, ably assisted by his backing band, they ran through a nice selection from his two excellent albums. He seemed unperturbed by the numerous declarations of love from adoring female members in the crowd who like the rest of us are transfixed by the set hanging on every word and chord. The renditions of ‘Barnacle Warship’, ‘Been Listening’, ‘The Box’, ‘Cold Bread’ and ‘Leftovers’ were excellent, although it was disappointing ‘The Wrote and the Writ’ was left out. Lots to look forward to when he plays the Academy in a few weeks.
Next up was Foals (had hoped to see Laura Marling but unfortunately I missed it) at the Crawdaddy Stage which was packed and the crowd was going nuts as I arrived a few songs into the set. It’s been exactly two years since the last time we crossed paths and the transformation of their live show is remarkable, much tighter, more energetic and fluid. I had tried to stave off the urge to dance throughout to no avail, aching joints or not. I haven’t yet been won over by the new album but the newer tracks stood up well to the live test, time to give the album another go.
There was a need for something a little bit less intense, Duke Special in the Cosby Tent would ably provide. While I can hardly be classed as a huge fan his live show is an impressive array of sounds and styles ranging from vaudeville to swing all dramatically blended into sometimes cheery, sometimes melancholic but certainly memorable stuff. ‘Last Night I Nearly Died’, ‘Our Love Runs Deeper Than This’ and ‘Salvation Tamberine’ were all high points as well as the surprise appearance of Phil Jupitus for a cover of Ian Dury & The Blockheads tune ‘Sex and Drugs and Rock n Roll’. The set was polished off by ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ with the crowd now in full voice, a nice way to end the night.
It was now time to hit the hay, all that cycling had finally caught up with me, a long but good day, helped in no small way by the beautiful sunshine.
Photos from BBC NI show Across The LineYou forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode You forgot a username for the YouTube shortcode