Over the past few years Castlepalooza has proven itself a worthy addition to the Irish festival season. Situated in the wonderful surroundings of Charleville Castle, its relative small size means you’re never too far from anything and it also provides a chance for so many homegrown acts to perform. This year’s festival was no different; friendly staff, decent food (for it’s limited size especially) and even if you ‘can’t’ bring beer in with you, what was on offer was reasonable.
Friday had an air of ‘the calm before the storm’ to it, the lineup was a bit lightweight too. However, this and the threat of rain did little to dampen people’s spirits. Friday night’s highlight was undoubtedly Scroobious Pip. Backed with a live band his furiously frenetic rap/rock combo exploded the festival into life and his lyrical deliver was equally impressive. An inspired and extremely enjoyable performance which did more than enough to warrant checking out his debut solo album from last year, Distraction Pieces.
If Friday was somewhat underwhelming Saturday was the opposite and littered with many great moments. The first of which was Dublin band The Statics, their slick performance on the main stage was the highlight of the weekend. There was no bullshit bravado, just solid tunes in the vein of The La’s, John Power and The Coral, played with an assured sense of style. The show was an absolute joy, they certainly have a knack for decent tunes that seems to come effortlessly, hopefully we get to hear a release very soon.
Up next were two chance encounters, first was Rob Steenson at the Deezer Stage. A rapper from Dublin’s North Inner City he was accompanied by drums, accoustic guitar and two vocalists, this boy can certainly rap and worth following up. As the sun began to shine it was back to the Main Stage something completely different, The North Strand Kontra Band, who really brought the party buzz to Castlepalooza. Their fusion of traditional Balkan sounds with a sort of two-tone ska underbelly whipped people into a dance-filled-frenzy. So much fun, it was a real shame their set was cut short.
After a breather it was back to the Deezer Stage for The Violet Roadkills. The Dublin 4-piece produced one hell of a show. A powerful mix of heavy riffs and driving synths, channeled into a haze of Electronica and Krautrock, the kind of thing you would expect from Death In Vegas. Next, Monto, SertOne and REID. How often will you get the chance to see three of the most impressive new faces from Ireland’s burgeoning electronic scene in a row? Monto just keeps getting better and better, the new material sounds even meatier than before while SertOne’s DJ set was superb and it was attacked with real aggression. Both of them had the Courtyard Stage pumping. Then it was back to the Deezer Stage where REID’s deep atmospheric electronics and chunky beats had the place flying.
That was that, Sunday was not meant to be after being woken early, 6.30am in fact, by torrential rain. It wad quickly obvious my tent wasn’t designed for this sort of weather. With a tent full of water, wet and weary I headed for home, a pity really but Saturday was one of the most enjoyable days at a festival I’ve had in a long, long time.