Electric Picnic 2008- The Music

September 4, 2008

A bit late in getting this out- the cold that was threatening me last week has hit me now. Of course it has nothing whatsoever to do with all the drinking and cavorting over the weekend. Nothing better than Electric Picnic though to mark the first anniversay post!

In general thought that the order of the tents was better this year…especially for gig hopping people. Tried to catch the acts that aren’t around too often but still popped into plenty of Irish groups.


Went to Jape first in Crawdaddy and a great crowd especially considering it was still early enough on the Friday. Caught a few songs and Floating still sounds brilliant.

Legged it then for Dark Room Notes in Body and Soul and a decent gathering there including their very own fan club up front. Stayed for the first couple which were some old ones but still great and can’t wait for their album.  Ran into Cliona who I worked with a good while back so caught up a bit.

Off to Joan as Policewoman in Little Big Tent (which had some great groups this year). Stayed for a couple of tunes and her voice is stronger I thought- Real Life was brilliant and would have stayed if not for Goldfrapp.

Was a little early for Goldfrapp and with it being the Main Arena most people were just lounging. So got a great spot fairly close to the stage…am usually considerate with being a tall fecker but yeah feck the small people sometimes. All S’s for me…stupendous, sexy, superb and so so small. Played the favourites off of Seventh Tree and some old favs as well. Really excellent show and great audience. Might just try to see her in Tripod but Fleet Foxes on that night…decisions decisions!

Ran around for a couple of groups then while waiting for Sigur Ros to come on. First was Digitalism in the Electric Arena- decent dance tunes but nothing new and seemed to lack some energy so went onto the Gutter Twins in Crawdaddy. I do love Mark Lanegans voice but the set seem like colour by numbers rock so left fairly quickly.

So back up to the Main Arena for Sigur Ros. Great first few tunes before their excellent support group Amiina came out. Sublime stuff but some of the more subtle moments lost with it being outdoors and the chatter of the audience. Would love to catch them indoors sometimes. Gobbledigook damn fine with the girls on drums and really energetic way to end it.

Then tried to find the others for some partying but couldn’t get through to them- most of them on Vodafone and coverage down there is shite. So had a walk around some of the smaller tents and then up to Bodytonic- nothing decent really around but heard later I had just missed some cracking stuff at Arcadia.


Started off with Super Extra Bonus Party in the Electric Arena. Tent a bit big for them at that time of the day but good crowd and guys on the laptops know how to get them moving with all the jumping around. First time seeing them live and will have to try and catch them again.

While waiting for the next act in Electric Arena I did a wander around Leviathan and theatre areas and some good stuff going on there. Made it back for Ulrich Schnauss– good ambient/electric music but have to say not much of a show with him just sitting the laptop and the occasional guitarist joining him. One of the types of shows you need some good visuals to look at while enjoying the tunes.

Seemed to finish a bit early so wandered over to Crawdaddy for Laura Izibor– good voice but don’t really know her tunes so I will have to check them out.

Up to the Main Arena for Antibalas and stayed for a few since I wanted to get down to Halves. Antibalas have a great vibe with all the band members and some great percussion and horns. A bit too funky for my taste but still a great way to get a crowd moving.

On the way down to the Cosby Stage I popped in on Cathy Davey in Crawdaddy. Tent was packed and she sounded pretty damn good- thankfully she has regular Dublin shows so will catch her there. Also made it up for Ra Ra Riots last song in Little Big Man- pretty damn good as well so another one for the growing list to check out!

So finally in Little Big Tent for Halves– I really love their style of music and remember the first support I saw them in last year. Really sublime and think they played their full catalogue- great seeing the separate string section at the side and them changing instruments quite frequently.

A bit of a break in music then when I met the others in Thisispopbaby for Bingo- a laugh with Shirley Temple Bar as lively as ever. Have to say though that Thisispopbaby was on the quiet side most of the time over the weekend and that the vibe was better at other events.

Made it down to the Electric Arena for Elbow. First few songs were ok but as I remember from his album just a bit too slow. Good for him to dedicate a song for a girl who travelled from New Zealand to see them. Stayed for Grounds for Divorce then skidaddled.

On the way up to the Little Big Tent a bit of non musical event when a young girl took a liking to my bum on a walk by squeeze…nice way to put a bounce in the step! Only caught the last couple of songs of Juana Molina but she has a great voice and a really good sound with the pedals she uses. Another one for the list!

Hung around outside the Little Big Tent for Dan Deacon. Wow- if you were to use only one word to describe the gig- INSANITY! It really was fucking unbelievable…sorry I meant that to be in caps…FUCKING UNBELIEVABLE! This was undoubtedly the best electronic gig I have been to- have heard what they are like but this really was an experience and you have to be there to fully understand. Crowd participation a necessity and if you are claustrophobic or have a fear of getting trampled this is not for you! Best gig of the weekend without a doubt. Don’t know how I managed to talk to Derek in the mayhem- he was up front for short while and had an excellent view of Dan-the-man.

Ok after that the walk up to the Main Arena was a godsend so I could cool down- Wilco were playing and while they were giving it their all on stage it really wasn’t my cup of tea so wandered down the Grace Jones in the Electric Arena. She was delayed so only stayed for half of the first song- lasting impression is not her voice but my god what legs!

Went into the Cosby Stage for a couple from Cut Copy before moving on- that was the plan anyway but that didn’t happen since I just couldn’t leave. 80’s electro pop and bloody addictive! Great vibe in the place and even the ones I thought were a bit slow on the album were bloody brilliant live.

Ran into Laobhaoise while looking for the friends at Underworld and eventually found the friends as well. The Electric Arena was jammers and only stayed for a few before the jostling got to me. Heard their hit from Run Lola Run so left a happy camper anyway.

We had a quick look in at Santogold on the way up to Crystal Castles but nothing too exciting to be honest…and we never made it up to Crystal Castles since the girls had to use the loo’s which of course was more than just a few minutes. So we ended up in the Pussy Parlure and they had some really good dance tunes on- hard edged electronic and techno so just what I needed. So danced the night away with Caroline until my legs were about the fall off and we went to find the others who where in Body and Soul- more dance music but just too soft and went back to Pussy Parlure. There was a pshyco bitch there in a bra who thought she was hot shit but two guys who could really dance showed her a thing or two. Their dancing was right out of a film and I wish I had the dexterity to move like they could!


Legs definitely harder to move after all the dancing but up early enough for Florence and the Machine in Crawdaddy. No better way to start off the morning- she has a great resonating voice and the drumming quite good. She really knows how to get the vibe going and expect she will be getting more airplay this year. Never did get the hug she promised everybody in the audience!

Wandered up to Little Big Tent for the last couple songs of Adrian Crowley– another Irish artist I have missed in town. Really has a good voice and some good tunes. One of the many places I saw Una over the weekend- she seemed to be everywhere.

Had a rest outside while waiting on Pivot and just as well. Great vibe and excellent math rock tunes that seem to go on forever. Only knew one of them before hearing them but I will be checking out their other tunes soon.

Popped in to Crawdaddy just to see how big the crowd was for Gemma Hayes. Had seen her in Tripod this year already. Great crowd there and have to say that there was a great turnout for all the Irish artists this year.

Went into the Electric Arena for Hercules and Love Affair– bit delayed coming on so only stayed for their first song and an excellent boppy one it was. Seemed like an eclectic group of musicians but it really works- dress on lead female painted on but she was still able to bop around.

Ran back up to Little Big Tent for These New Puritans– had missed them when they were in town earlier this year. First impressions were how young they were…seems like they weren’t that much older than my oldest son! It was a good set but not excellent- they do have some good tunes but think that some of them need a bit of work. The cute girl on the keyboard was a bit of a vibe killer- she needs to move a bit and smile! Wish I had stayed Hercules and Love Affair but these kids will be ones to watch over the next year.

Moved onto Body and Soul for Laura Marling (I really wish they had an entrance at the top of Body and Soul- it would have saved me so much time running the numerous times from Little Big Tent!) I really love Laura’s voice but unfortunately I couldn’t hear very much of it. Moved around to different sides of the stage but I still couldn’t hear properly with all the other tunes blaring out of the tents/stages in Body and Soul. Really sweet though so hopefully she will be in Dublin soon.

Wandered down to Electric Arena for Sinead O’Connor for nostalgia only- she was the first gig I went to in this country was her in The Point in 1990 (yeah seriously showing my age) She still has a great voice but they were quiet tunes so went up to Crawdaddy for Turin Brakes to see if I could find the others. Couldn’t find them and the tunes not really to my taste so a hasty retreat back to Body and Soul for Yoav. Had heard the name before but not his tunes and he is quite good. Just the guitar, pedals and him with a lovely sublime voice. Yep- another one for the list.

I ran down to the Electric Arena for CSS- I knew I wasn’t going to catch their whole set but was hoping to catch a few tunes since I had missed them both times they were in town recently. Unfortunately I didn’t get to hear anything since they were delayed and I didn’t want to miss Foals.

So ran across to Crawdaddy for Foals and being nice hung out towards the back. Turned out to be a bad idea since I had some vibe killing bored guys in front of me smoking and talking. Foals were brilliant though- thought the first few songs were by route by they really seemed to get into then and by the end there was an excellent vibe going. First of an angry-lead-singer-drum-incident as well- they really don’t like it when they are banging away and the drum falls over do they? The drummer proper was on top form and the only thing I would give out about was the little ripples he would do in-between songs which sounded like he was going to launch into Battles song Atlas. Brilliant set though and definitely one of the highlights of the weekend.

Wandered up to Little Big Tent then for The Dodo’s. It had been a few months since I listened to their cd and guiltily have a blog post in drafts for them. Got a bit of a shock when I saw them- lead singer is quite young and they are only a three piece. What was even more surprising was how lively and intense their set was. Remember them being more alt folk but these guys really rocked and all the better for it. Second of angry-lead-singer-drum-incident as well when the tin basin he was beating on fell down and he decided to play football with it. Another highlight and definitely looking at these guys through new eyes.

Rand then up to the Main Arena for The Gossip– quite a crowd there already so made it to the back while trying to find the friends (impossible of course) They put on a great show and Beth Ditto in all her wibbly wobbly wonderfulness really knows how to belt out. Some new tunes as well which are pretty damn good but the crowd went nuts for Standing In The Way Of Control.

Found the friends after and we headed up to the Pussy Parlure. Passed My Bloody Valentine on the way up and seemed like a good crowd there. Was never into them so didn’t stick around.

The rest of the night was more about wandering around instead of gigs. Ended back at the rather excellent Arcadia and were warming our bums on the fire pits while bopping away to the dance tunes. Bit smoky on the eyes after a while though so another wander and ended up in the Fossetts tent for some good dance tunes. Went out to see the tower they were going to light on fire and when we went back into Fossetts the sound had blown so different random people were putting on shows- amusing at least!

So out to see the tower and it was raining….not just raining really but horizontal lashing! It was the slowest burning tower I have seen but still a good crowd. Was going to go down to the Orb in Body and Soul but at this stage tiredness finally kicked in…not wanting for the weekend to end though I walked up to Body and Soul but was completely and absolutely soaked so knew I wouldn’t last with no tree cover. So back to the tent for the last night sleeping on the rock that was under the sleeping bag and thought some of the others were still up in the gazebo…not the friends but a different group of others who took shelter there with the weather!

So overall lots of great music and vodka fuelled dreams…will take a while before I get the dancing legs back but can’t wait until next year:-)



  1. Sounds savage! Amused by your couple of “they are so young” comments. It does not get better ever again, man, so its best to adapt quickly now that that this visual realisation has started to hit you! 🙂

  2. Ha- yeah I know its all downhill from here- not too far off 40 when I still feel like I am only 25!

    Am over the fact that bands are going to be 10 years younger than me but what is hitting me now is that damn multiple factor- I have got to be TWICE the age of the guys and gal in These New Puritans!

    At least most people still knock a few years off me when trying to guess my age so I will bask in that glory while it lasts;-)

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