Live Review: Electric Picnic 2012 -Saturday 1st September

Posted: 05/09/2012 in Uncategorized

As published on in the aftermath of the weekend…

Heathers – Electric Arena

It’s a risk for any act to play a festival show comprised predominantly of new material but for Heathers, who are comfortably sitting on an absolute stunner of a second album in the form of Kingdom, it’s well worth the punt. The midday time-slot did not deter the bleary-eyed from making the trip and the duo certainly did everything in their power to make it worth their while. The traditional setup of just the singing sisters with an acoustic guitar for company has expanded to include two extra bodies, resulting in a much richer live sound to do the immaculately-produced new songs justice, and the harmonies are as impeccably tight as ever. Most interesting is the deviation in sound of the tracks that have been doing the rounds in their acoustic form for some time – such as ‘Underground Beneath’, and in particular ‘Waiter’ – the addition of beats and synths to which are completely unprecedented but downright brilliant. The all-conquering lead single ‘Forget Me Knots’ plays out just as vibrantly live, but there’s no shortage of potential hits within the setlist, with ‘Circular Road’ the definite leader of the pack. A top-class performance – their kingdom awaits.

Ocho – Body & Soul Main Stage

Having released their debut album ‘Young Hunting’ back in April – a powerful mix of intensely atmospheric multi-layered electronica, usually best reserved for dark rooms full of smoke and strobes – Ocho are released into the great wide open. Playing Electric Picnic has been a long-time dream of front-woman Stace Gill – and she’s certainly not shy about sharing the fact but has the musical goods to back up the enthusiasm. Beats-maestro DOS is joined by a special guest DJ for the occasion who slightly over-eggs the scratching early on, but gradually settles into the set up well. Gill’s voice is wonderfully complimented by her trio of backing-singers, in particular on their eerily engaging cover of The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’. Original tracks such as ‘The Turn’ and ‘The Fall’ are played out to the crowd perched on the hillside enjoying the tunes in the sunshine, no doubt a few of them won over in the process.

The Cast Of Cheers – Cosby Stage

This time last year, The Cast of Cheers played the Electric Picnic in the small confines of the Cosby Stage tent, with a set comprising of relatively unknown new material. Twelve months and one widely acclaimed Family album later and the festival gods have seriously missed a trick by not upgrading them – truth be told the tent is just not big enough to hold the might of their music, or the number of people who wish to see them in action, as disappointed fans are forced to listen in from the exterior. They’ve only gone and packed the place. Thankfully, we got in nice and early to elbow our way to a quality vantage point. The band have a well-earned reputation for being a thrilling live act and today is no exception – galvanised by the rapturous reception they receive they put every ounce of energy they have into their performance, jumping and thrashing wildly around stage but without sacrificing their musicianship merits. ‘Animals’ and ‘Family’ both stand out, and the early-days favourite ‘Goose’ is still as pleasing as ever. Latest single ‘Human Elevator’ is a cut above the rest, however – that is until the opening bars of ‘Marso Sava’ ring out, reserved to round it all up. As the song nears its coda, Kevin Curran’s drum-kit is dismantled and shared out amongst his bandmates for a percussive party to close out the set. It’s loud, it’s rhythmic, it’s somewhat euphoric. The Main Stage beckons.

David Kitt – Crawdaddy Stage

Obviously attracting a very specific crowd – namely fans who worship 2001’s The Big Romance, a seminal part of the Irish modern musical history – those who missed out on Kitt’s Vicar Street back in December get to hear the masterpiece played out in its entirety. From the opening chorus of ‘Song From Hope Street (Brooklyn NY)’ it’s evident that this is going to be a sway-along and sing-along celebration of sound – and ‘You Know What I Want To Know’ straight afterwards confirms it. Each to their own favourite song – for us it’s the incredibly moving rendition of ‘What I Ask’ – but really, it’s the body of work that dazzles, Kitt himself referencing that he keeps getting lost in the music throughout. A stunning extended performance of ‘Into The Breeze’ draws it all to a close – the chants of the latter section continue to ring through the tent even after Kitt and his band have departed the stage, and revellers make their way towards the exits reluctantly – sad that it’s over, but undeniably privileged to have been there.

Le Galaxie – Little Big Tent

Powers-that-be taking note of feedback and capitalising on it can be a wonderful thing. At last year’s Electric Picnic the finest live dance act in Ireland played at lunchtime on Sunday – a scheduling failure on behalf of the organisers, but one which Le Galaxie embraced wholeheartedly by throwing one hell of a party regardless. Twelve months on and the reigning electro-rock overlords find themselves closing the Little Big Tent at 2am. It seemed like everyone is intending on being there – and some eager fans gauging the potential overcrowding issue by showing up a half-hour beforehand to nab a good dancing spot. Le Galaxie have upped their game to match their profile with a more expansive stage-setup including an additional drum-kit and 3D projection visuals from the very in-demand LeTissier. But it is the music, above all else, that make this performance one of the biggest hits of the weekend. Fade 2 Forever EP track ‘Heat City’ has taken up its likely residence as set-opener, building up the anticipation to perfection, and there are also a couple of new tracks debuted early on.

As the set progresses Le Galaxie’s energy and vibrancy becomes infectious – they’re clearly having a gala of a time doing what they do, and the glowstick-brandishing crowd respond accordingly. ‘Earth’ makes a welcome return to the setlist, and ‘Powers of Miami’ and ‘Beyond Transworld’ take the pace up yet another notch, before the first of the band’s special guests appears onstage – Elaine Mai’s gorgeous voice over the dreamy electro synth-pop sounds of ‘Love System’ make for a well-earned respite. How does a band at the top of their game finish off one of their finest gigs to date? With a surprise, of course. Enter Fight Like Apes’ Mary-Kate Geraghty, to lend her vocal talents to a brilliant interpretation of the 90s classic ‘Set You Free’ by N-Trance. Lapping up the rapturous applause to the sound of the ‘Jurassic Park’ theme, Le Galaxie depart stage-left safe in the knowledge that they’ve just conquered Stradbally. Stay tuned as they continue get bigger and better.

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