Festival Review: Indiependence @ Mitchelstown, July 29th – 31st 2011

Posted: 03/08/2011 in Uncategorized

***As published on State.ie on August 2nd 2011***

The fourth annual Indiependence festival sees the bill extended to three days, with a scaled-down schedule of acts lined up to cater for the eager Friday evening arrivals. By all accounts, both Enemies and Bipolar Empire played top quality sets on the Cyprus Avenue Stage on Friday evening, before Daft Funk caused some mayhem and kicked off the party vibes for the weekend. Thankfully, there’s plenty more to look forward to by the time State arrive to join in on the festival fun on Saturday…

Storyfold bring their very catchy brand of indie-pop to the Main Stage, to be greeted by a very chilled out audience sprawled on the grass before them. It takes a bit of coaxing but eventually the band win out – set-closer ‘Delphine Wakes’ even manages to get a bit of a dance-along going. It’s a much more sombre affair on the Cyprus Avenue Stage with Sacred Animals – it’s all very dark and atmospheric, but a thoroughly engaging set of ambient electronic folk from the Wexford trio.

Gemma Hayes and her band use every minute of their 45 minute Cyprus Avenue slot wisely, with a perfect mix of songs old and new – the incorporation of an array of keyboards and synths for the performance of the tracks of most recent release Let It Break a very welcome addition to her live setup; and a cover of The Buzzcocks’ ‘Ever Fallen In Love’ proves an absolute treat, too.

Ham Sandwich continue along the path to becoming one of the finest live acts in the country, packing out the Cyprus Avenue Stage tent to capacity with a brilliantly energetic set. The thrilling finale of ‘Ants’ and ‘Never Talk’ are followed up by their stunning interpretation of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ to close out their set in style.

‘San Diego Song’ remains one of the most irritating songs ever written, but the mass appeal of The Coronas is a force to be reckoned with – it’s a word-for-word sing-along from the massive crowd at the Main Stage, as the band work their way through their arsenal of pop-rock hits, as well as sampling some new material from their forthcoming third album. Meanwhile, over on the Cyprus Avenue stage, Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip play an absolute stormer of a set – their performance of ‘Get Better’ alone a highlight of the festival in its own right.

Main Stage headliners Ash then proceed to take the Indiependence crowd on a wonderful trip down memory lane – opening with ‘Girl From Mars’, closing with ‘Burn Baby Burn’, and delighting in between with the likes of ‘Kung Fu’, ‘Oh Yeah’ and ‘Shining Light’ – Tim Wheeler & Co. can most definitely still work the old magic.

Due to an unannounced re-jigging of stage times, arriving to the Cyprus Avenue Stage bright n’ early on Sunday in plenty of time to see We Cut Corners as scheduled meant that in fact you only caught one song – a real pity, but thankfully the best had been saved for last with the formidable ‘Go Easy’. The Danger Is too falls victim to the unannounced schedule shift, taking to the stage an hour earlier than planned – nevertheless, Niamh Farrell puts on a show that further cements her as one of the most intriguing and exciting acts presently emerging from the Irish music scene. Incredibly talented and armed top quality tunes, she’s a captivating performer who will only continue to go from strength to strength.

As The Butterfly Explosion take to the Main Stage, it’s becoming apparent that there’s a serious lack of something around the festival site today – people. Gaelic Games have won out over music, with revellers retreating to the pubs of Mitchelstown to catch the Cork footballers in action. Miracle Bell manage to lighten the mood somewhat – they seem genuinely delighted to be on that Indiependence Main Stage, and the likes of ‘Future Kings’, ‘Light Shape Sound’ and the impossibly catchy ‘Love Sounds’ make for a very fun set from the Kildare trio as the crowds begin to trickle back into the festival site. Enter stage-right The Minutes, fresh from rocking Castlepalooza the night before and armed & ready to do some similar damage to Mitchelstown. A consistently quality live act, the Dublin trio hold nothing back as they work through the tracks of debut album Marcata with an attitude and stage presence that is almost as big as their sound.

And So I Watch You From Afar keep up the high standard of rock on the Main Stage with a performance of the standard they’ve set for themselves – nothing short of epic. Whilst the masses congregate to enjoy Therapy?, over on the Town Square Stage a real hidden gem are in action – the hauntingly powerful and unique sound of The Dying Seconds impresses greatly, with the fantastic ‘Mora Minn’ a strong indication that their forthcoming second album Glimmers is something to very much look forward to. Sunday’s Main Stage headliners Editors are in no rush to make an appearance – a lengthy setup means a half hour delay, but the band proceed to more than make up for lost time. They may not hold the same widespread appeal as Ash the previous night, and the biggest cheers of the night are reserved for vintage material such as ‘All Sparks’ and ‘Munich’ – but the slow start successfully transforms into a high-octane performance to close out Indiependence 2011 on a high.

Indiependence is a simple festival, no doubt about it – but it’s a simple festival done very well, and therein lies its charm. Credit must be given to its organisers, who have continually identified and rectified any problems encountered along the way to ensure that each year the festival gets bigger AND better. The addition of a full lineup of comedy, a cinema tent, a funfair, additional campsite facilities, and the return of the Silent Disco all added to the great atmosphere amongst the happy campers around the Mitchelstown site. And if the standard of lineup offered mixing the best of Irish talent with a smattering of international heavyweights continues, this is one to keep your August bank holiday weekend free for in future.

(Photos by Samantha Hunt c/o Blue Monkey PR)

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