10 Must-See Irish Acts At Electric Picnic
IT’S nearly time. The annual pilgrimage to Stradbally will begin for 41,000 this Friday, armed with the usual festival paraphernalia and dizzy with anticipation for the weekend ahead. Electric Picnic has sold out for the second year in a row and with Portishead, Beck, Outkast, Foals, Simple Minds and many, many more appearing across the weekend, it’s hardly surprising. We took a look at some of our best home grown acts taking to the stage in Stradbally and here are 10 we think you shouldn’t miss.
James Vincent McMorrow
McMorrow’s latest release, ‘Post Tropical’ is a departure from the folk style he was known for. That is not to say the record is a disappointment – on the contrary, the Dublin-born artist is at the height of his musical successes thus far. Songs like ‘Cavalier’ and ‘Red Dust’ are carefully crafted and translate to the stage in an unforgettable way. Expect to see him give it his all in Stradbally, with astonishing falsettos and a set sure to be the talk of the weekend.
The Booka Brass Band
The Booka Brass Band have been the talk of the festival circuit this summer. Appearing at Knockanstockan, Longitude, Glastonbury and Barn Dance, the boys hailing from every corner of this island have established themselves as a class act. They’ve supported the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, and played alongside Jerry Fish and Lisa Hannigan. Covers like ‘Crazy in Love’ and ‘Survivor’ will have those who are feeling a bit lost amongst the Electric Picnic masses on their feet and original material demonstrates the classical training and musical prowess of all involved. With the lads playing sets both on the Salty Dog and Trailer Park stages over the weekend, there is really no excuse not to catch them at least twice.
Cork’s own Eoghan Reid, formerly of Zombie Computer, is debuting new material he has produced at the Upstage in the Body and Soul area this year. Reid has attracted a lot of attention online for his newly released EP, ‘Fractures’. The title track featuring ‘Slow Skies‘ and ‘Tarnished’ featuring Woman’s Hour stand out in particular and it will be interesting to hear these in a live setting. Catch him on the Upstage in Body and Soul on Sunday evening.
Girl Band are anything but. The foursome have spent the summer touring Europe and this weekend they will bring their noise rock assault to Stradbally. New single ‘De Bom Bom’ has been getting stellar reviews and they bring their live ruckus to the Body and Soul main stage on Friday night.
Little X’s for Eyes
These guys are the ideal soundtrack to any festival weekend, with ‘Summer Stay’, a standout track from last year’s festival calendar. They are upbeat, relentless and the harmonies by the lead vocalists are remarkable. Check out their indie-pop set in the Oxjam tent on Friday.
What can you say about Hozier that hasn’t already been said? ‘Take Me to Church’ has become a viral video sensation, he has toured extensively throughout the US, fitting in an appearance on both the Letterman and Ellen shows, appearing on the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury as well as several other festivals across Europe and a Whelan’s anniversary show selling out within minutes. All this and an album due for release within a few weeks. This Picnic performance could be considered a homecoming of sorts in what will be a final Irish performance before ‘Hozier’ hits the shelves. Expect a massive crowd for this.
Ham SandwicH are no strangers to Stradbally, having last played here in 2012. Niamh Farrell takes to the stage with a bouncy, endearing energy and belts out firm festival favourites such as ‘Ants’ and ‘The Naturist’ to adoring crowds. With a new album in the pipeline, the band have been test-driving some new tracks at recent appearances to a largely positive response. These guys have been known to make an appearance on the Salty Dog stage in the wee hours too, a rare treat for those who stumble upon it.
I first stumbled upon these Cavan gentlemen two years ago, on a sunny September Friday afternoon on the Body and Soul main stage. Their distinctive bluesy sound and Beatles-esque look forced anybody in the vicinity to stop short and pay attention. It’s been love ever since. With praise coming from as high as Jeff Beck, Miles Kane and Noel Gallagher, it’s hard to believe that the band range in age from just 16-18 years. Of late their live performances have taken on a more punky feel, with Josh McClorey coming to the fore as an enigmatic lead guitarist. Despite their international successes the band still cite the Cavan homecoming gigs in December 2013 as their most memorable, and an adoring audience should make for a great atmosphere in Stradbally.
Come On Live Long
‘Everything Fall’ was one of the Irish albums of the year in 2013 and this year saw Come on Live Long tour Canada as well as a full calendar of Irish gigs. Their material is carefully arranged electro-folk with an array of instruments, soulful lyrics and male and female harmonic vocals that set all of this off perfectly. A Sunday night appearance on the Body and Soul main stage might be just the ticket for those who need some head space after a big weekend.
The Eskies have played numerous festivals this summer, generating a well-deserved buzz. They describe themselves as having a ‘sea soaked gypsy folk’ style and their live performances are jaunty and energetic, with a trad nod. Catch them on the Earth ship stage in Body and Soul at 10pm on Saturday.
Photos c/o screwmusic.me, feilenabealtaine.ie, eoghanreid.me, killerponytail.com, youtube.com, diymag.com, cavanarts.ie, campus.ie, totallydublin.ie, theeskies.com, culch.ie