Electric Picnic 2009- The AftermathSeptember 18, 2009
As always these days, I am running behind myself and only getting to this now…
That time of year again for a post-mortem of the Electric Picnic weekend with highlights and lowlights…quite a few highlights even if there weren’t as many new groups for me to catch this year.
Not much new in the setup of EP site either so it was fairly straightforward to run between the gigs…although the mud did mean that I got a little bit more exercise than I had intended!
Hit the massive tailback on the way down and with being in a campervan had to wait to be towed into the site…well I should say that the mates had to wait since we were close enough to the gate and I legged it in! Had already missed Peter Broderick and I wasn’t going to miss any more….
The Temper Trap– Crawdaddy. Had liked some of their tunes beforehand but wasn’t convinced of the full album. Saw most of the set and that was turned on its head- they have a great vibe and put energy into each and every track. Of course Sweet Disposition was the one that everybody knew and it was excellent live. Catch them if you can!
Villagers– Body & Soul. Heard the blog love for them but never caught them around town- feck me what a great voice the lead singer has and great instrumentation. Have to catch them again!
Lykkey Li– Crawdaddy. Can sum up in one word-disappointed. Maybe it was just the tune she was playing when I came in but lacking energy and no vibe what-so-ever. When she asked the crowd if that was too slow for them I think she could sense it but the next tune was just as lifeless. Maybe too much touring but based on that I wouldn’t be catching her again. Thankfully her Button Factory gig was excellent.
Major Lazer– Little Big Tent. Maybe expectations too high but distinctly average tunes and only stayed for the 2.
Dark Room Notes– Thisispopbaby. Still love their sound and even though the sound was a bit booming in the tent they still have the energy after the last couple of years. Only stayed for the first three but great energy and beats as always. Seeing how I am probably their number 3 fan/stalker at this stage (my two sons being 1 and 2) I won’t go on anymore.
Efterklang– Cosby Stage. There appeared to be some sound issues when I first came in so they hadn’t started playing yet. Unfortunately because of that the set seemed rushed and none of the lingering on the instruments that is their trademark. No sign of the old battered instruments either that they would use for a distinctive sound which for me was noticable. Some new tunes although only one really seemed to work. Still a good set but disappointed they didn’t come off better. As with Ms Ly the Button Factory gig was a hundred times better.
MGMT– Main Stage. Have always missed them in town with all the hype and thankfully so since they only have the two good songs. Was walking past the main stage and when I heard them I kept on walking.
Duckworth Lewis Method– Crawdaddy. Like Neil Hannons voice so popped in there- only stayed for the one tune in the end since it seemed mawkish and over done.
Dinosaur Jr– Cosby Stage. Again only popped the head in and it was pretty much out just as quick- maybe it was the tune and they got better later but not pleasant on the ears.
Buraka Som Sistema– Little Big Tent. Two drummers-hell yeah! Great tunes, great beats and rocked my socks off! One girl with hands that were a little too ‘friendly’ though and embarrassingly was asked by another guy to get ‘my girl’ under control since she was grabbing everybody. That aside the best set of the night!
Diplo– Little Big Tent. Was expecting to stay here for a while but to be honest fairly standard dance beats and certainly none of his remixes so only ended up staying for a few tunes.
Orbital– Main Stage. Ho hum- I liked Orbital but maybe it was the sound at the main stage- it wasn’t long before I was walking again.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela– Electric Arena. First time seeing them live and have to say they are captivating- great chords and beats and such energy! The visuals of them playing from unusual angles on the screens behind them really added to their performance- might not be my cup of tea to listen to at home but live I would certainly catch them again.
Japanese Popstars DJ set- Little Big Tent. Que to actually get in this one and again overly friendly girl-must be something in the water around this tent;-) Wouldn’t know their tunes but mate said some of them were their own and have to say they have a great vibe and energy.
Arcadia & Pussy Parlour- ended up between the two of these with the mates and danced the night away…well until half 3 at least! Just as well I ran into the mates since I didn’t know where the campervan was parked!
Noon-ish tweetup with some twitter heads @FrankieP @NiallOK @bngr @ anthonthymcg @jasonroe @benkenealy @dinglesurf @debbiemet and others I will have to come back and add. First time to meet some and a catchup with others- chatty bunch both online and off!
Cap Pas Cap– Electric Arena. Excellent off kilter tunes as always and the first time I have heard them with the new female lead. Kind of missed the old male lead but have to say that she has as much energy and her voice is just as catchy with the tune. Great crowd there for them considering the size of the tent and time of day.
Tunng– Main Stage. Have been trying to catch these guys for the last few years. Surprised they were on the main stage just as much as they were. Some great sounds from them and all my favourites but the synth was far too loud and drowning out the rest of the instruments.
Julie Feeney– Cosby Stage. Only caught the last half but feck me that was good- such a sweet voice and with the strings playing she is just captivating. A must for the Sugar Club gig in Oct!
The XX- Electric Arena. Having listened to the full album and really only liked the one tune Crystalized I wasn’t particularly looking forward to their set. Unfortunately the tunes seemed just as lifeless live and I left after Crystalized which was thankfully very early in the set! Ran into few more mates though so it wasn’t a total loss!
Low Anthem– Cosby Stage. Another group I have been trying to catch over the last year and it was worth it. Sound wasn’t the best in the tent and they didn’t play my favourites Charlie Darwin and Ticket Taker but still a great set. Still not convinced of the rockier numbers but the slow ones really show the quality of the voices. Hopefully back somewhere more intimate soon!
Marina & The Diamonds– Cosby Stage. Note to artists- do not mention possible wardrobe malfunctions involving a desert animal at the beginning of your set since you will have the crowd waiting for it to happen! So trying NOT to concentrate on the possible camel toe and her singing instead- damn she has a great voice and can she belt it out on some of the tunes. Had heard some of her tunes a while back and they still sound fresh and invigorating.
Bea Band– Body & Soul. Well I wasn’t up in Body & Soul for them but for Tiny Vipers- an intrepid gig goer asked the sound guy what the story was and thankfully I then asked her- Tiny Vipers was postponed till the next day. Have to say this was the pivotal moment of the weekend and with one conversation leading to another I now have an excellent new friend who I spent the rest of the weekend with running from tent to tent. As to the band I hardly noticed them- not really into traditional music but served as a good backdrop to the chat!
Lisa Hannigan– Main Stage. Went to meetup with another group and poor Lisa seemed lost on stage- she was giving it her all but to be honest the sound was just not up to it and she would have been much better in a smaller tent.
Bat for Lashes– cancelled and major disappointment. David Kitt replaced her but not the same at all at all. Have memories of her from two EP’s ago at least.
James Murphy– of LCD Soundsystem- Little Big Tent. Went along given who he is but he was playing fairly average dance tunes. Of course you want to hear his own stuff more so we just headed off.
Brian Wilson– Main Stage. Of course went to hear some Beach Boys classics and the band he has with him were bloody good with the sound. As for Mr. Wilson I have to say I felt sorry for him, being up close enough I could see that he was reading the lyrics from a monitor and not even particularly singing the lyrics but saying them. He was propped up behind a keyboard but his hands were just hanging by his side and he was more a bystander with his own tunes. Have to say the vibe was good though and the 5 tunes we stayed for were good thanks to the band.
Dark Room Notes– Thisispopbaby. Yep- saw them again since I had said I would pop down on the Saturday to one of the band members. Stayed for the first three again- same set and same great vibe!
Explosions In The Sky– Crawdaddy. Post-rock when played badly is dreadful but no worries here since fucking hell they nailed each and every moment! Best set of EP and by god I hope that they are back in Dublin soon! The first time of the weekend that I heard ‘one more tune’ which saying at a festival is always a waste of breath…but for once I wish they had!
Chic– Electric Arena. Popped in there quickly for the last of their set and dancetastic it was- great vibe in the tent and dancing with randomers.
Four Tet– Crawdaddy. Some really lovely dark dance tunes being put out and yet again more moving!
2 Many Dj’s– Main Stage. As with most of the main stage acts this weekend I kept on walking- sound pumping out but just a bit too much of a rave feel for me.
Tunng– Body & Soul. Re-hash of their earlier set in much better surroundings and sound. Synth not as loud and you could hear the excellent playing by the rest of the group. Freak folk it may be but damn good tunes and think it was the tune Soup that was played in a heavier style and extended. Bullets to end and what a great punch it has!
Village Green- ended up there with friends of friend and boggied the night away with a great mix of tunes…closer to 4 that night methinks!
Tiny Vipers– Body & Soul. Wet start and friend and I the only two there for a couple of minutes with a freezing looking Tiny Vipers up on stage. Thankfully a few more came and after some banter with her it turns out she was suppose to be on at 6 in the afternoon but it had been scheduled wrong. Aside from her freezing and being slightly worried about electrocuting herself with all the rain she had a great set- simple playing on the guitar with some sublime vocals. She will be around Europe for a bit so hopefully back here soon for an indoor set soon!
First Aid Kit– Body & Soul. How sweet is sweet? Listen to these girls and you will know! Great harmonies and some good tunes. They seemed slightly at odds with the sound crew behind them but otherwise a great set!
J. Tillman– Body & Soul. Still in Body & Soul since some other friends to chat with came along- a guy was chipping in a few bits and pieces into the conversation as well and funnily enough I found out later that he is a friend of a friend- small country as always! As to the tunes from Mr. Tillman- an excellent voice and some low key tunes only stayed for a few but if he is every touring solo without the Foxes then he would be one to catch.
Micachu And The Shapes– Cosby Stage. Damn-what an excellent voice! Much stronger live than on the album with all the quirkiness there. Great tunes but only stayed for the first half- wish there wasn’t a conflict but hopefully she will be back around soon.
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble– Little Big Tent. Oh deary me-friend told me she had 3 missed calls from me during this set…and she was standing in front of me. Was I moving that much? Damn straight I was! Not the type of tunes I would listen to at home but man when they are played live they get you moving. Think it was 7 brass players and the drummer and with an excellent mix of jazz and hip-hop you would have to be a stone in order not to move. Great vibe in the tent and definitely one of the best of the weekend.
Okkervil River– Crawdaddy. Caught them before in town at what turned out to be a dreadful venue for them. Maybe it was timing but they didn’t sound that great in the tent and I honestly couldn’t stick it so stayed for the one tune and skidaddled.
The Acorn– Cosby Stage. Hadn’t heard of them before but that is certainly rectified now! Another two drummer setup and there were some great layered tunes there. One that I will definitely have to check out!
Ebony Bones– Little Big Tent. Wow- anybody looking for a show with some energy go no further! Great powerful voice and bouncing around the stage along with her two shortly statured dancers. Only stayed for a few but wish I had stayed for the full set.
Simian Mobile Disco– Electric Arena. Packed tent and middling tunes so not feeling the vibe at all- said hello to the mate I met there and skiddadled.
Bell Orchestre– Cosby Stage. Ohh just what I needed at this time of the day- some great instrumental modern classical tunes to clear the mind- didn’t see full set but they are quite good and tunes did the trick.
Florence And The Machine– Electric Arena. Oh I hate hype but it was Flo who I saw last year and really enjoyed her set. I think that her new album has been overproduced but I still enjoy her earlier tunes- thankfully Kiss With A Fist was the second one up so left the masses after that for some peace in Leviathan.
Fleet Foxes– Electric Arena. Another popular band of the moment and I can understand why- some great tunes there! Unfortunately the problem with being popular in a big tent is that you are going to have the audience singing along to all of the tunes and that they were- tis a bit of a problem when you have 5 part harmonies and a crowd that can’t hit any of them. Stuck it out this time but really wished I didn’t- am sure they were a hundred times better at Vicar St the following night.
The Jimmy Cake– Cosby Stage. Only there for the last half of a song but this being The Jimmy Cake it still lasted about 10 mins. Good size crowd that were getting into though!
Passion Pit– Cosby Stage. Waited for them but still a bit too early for them- went off to discover who the surprise act in Body & Soul was and by the time I came back the tent was bonkers. Stayed for half a tune anyway but there was just something about the voice that was cloying and seemed to be at odds with my tinnitus which was not a good thing!
The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble– Body & Soul. The surprise act which I came back to- good crowd and vibe but not as good as their earlier set. Seemed like they gave the earlier one their all and were slightly tired for this one. The only time I have heard the crowd say ‘one more tune’ at EP and one actually being played!
Ebony Bones– Thisispopbaby. Since I had missed the rest of her earlier set I wanted to catch her again. Unfortunately this was not the tent for her- something about the booming sound that was covering her voice so didn’t stay for too long.
Quite a bit of free time here actually so with friends of friend again chatting away- met some other new friends as well including a member of The Rumours who is a sound guy indeed.
Anonymous Androgynous– Body & Soul. Just happened to be there when they were on and they have a great buzz about them- long time since I have seen a flute being played on stage!
The Rye– Salty Dog. Wow- at a very late hour on the Sunday night trying to find the Salty Dog was a challenge! Made it there and found the friends and even more friends there so this was the spot to be! More of an Irish rock/trad band, The Rye were rockin away until the early hours and they were pretty damn good. Not what I would usually go to listen to at a festival but the tunes just kept coming and everybody kept dancing! Think they had about 6 last tunes since they kept on being given more time.
DJ Poppy was then on with some great 50 and 60s tunes to rock us into the wee hours of the morning- think it was about 5 when we finally left there to go crawling back to the campsites but man that was good!
So another year over and some new groups to catch up on! Not so many this year which is probably just as well as I have been dying with a cold the day after I came back. As much as I love EP the festivals in Spain are looking better by the minute for next year…warmer, drier and cheaper with the same great groups so it might be a runner!
Have to say though that no matter the weather, EP always has a great vibe and it was good to chat with friends old and new!