Lofty Sounds relives each day at Electric Picnic. This is Friday’s account
It didn’t seem like 12 months since I rolled into Stradbally looking anxiously to park the car within reasonable lugging distance of the main entrance, but once again I found myself in all to familiar surroundings and boy was it a good feeling.
There is a annual protocol that has to be followed every Friday at Electric Picnic – get the tent up, sort the gear out, open the cans and start the craic. After we go through that ritual and all are present and correct it’s time for some tunes.
First up its Buffalo Sunn on the legendary Salty Dog stage bringing their excellent guitar sound to the early EP revellers. Then after the necessary survey of this year’s main arena to see what new additions there have been it’s off for a dose of 90’s nostalgia courtesy of Ride. I have to admit I wasn’t a huge Ride fan back in the day but I always liked what I heard from them especially the epic indie anthem that is “Leave Them All Behind”. They immediately launch into this, sending the assembled throngs into instant raptures. From then on its a hugely impressive sonic assault which delights what is a surprising mixed audience age wise.
In order to allow the ears and senses recover, it’s time to explore some of the many added delights that are dotted everywhere; especially in the Mindfield area. This eventually lands us in the middle of a very excitable crowd in The Word tent. Mullingar band The Business show us that they certainly live up to the name, encouraging the first bout of high jinks from my crew at this year’s festival. The craic is so good that we completely miss out on Grace Jones who by all counts has put on another tour-de-force performance. Like her last appearance at EP, she sets the standard for Underworld who take the main stage in her wake.
Its fair to say that Underworld have a lot of mileage on the clock, however unlike plenty of their indie dance contemporaries I’ve never seen them disappoint. Again, they deliver with another energy sapping set full of manic beats and menacing rhythms. I don’t get to stay for the entire set as I’m duty bound as a Limerick man to support one of the few bands from my own city appearing this year – Bleeding Heart Pigeons – a band I have been looking forward to catching live for some time.
Bleeding Heart Pigeons are a hard band to describe (pigeonhole even ??) and its clear that whilst they are not completely comfortable with some of the necessary onstage duties, they clearly are all about the music. They deliver a set full of intensity, rounded off with a powerful rendition of the title track from their current EP; “A Hallucination”. This stays with me in the days following a testimony to the quality of the track and performance.
Then it’s time to return to The Salty Dog for Oliver Cole; who’s recent album “Year of the Bird” is my album of the month on my Sounds from a Green World show (8radio.com Sat 8am/Wed 9pm). The album is a high class affair. However, live it comes into it’s own with powerful versions of the title track, Helium Heart and Golden Leaf benefiting from that Cole’s band bring to the affair particularly some very tasty slide guitar. There’s even an robust Turn track for those of us who remember Cole’s former band.
Next to The Salty Dog stage is a band that are rightly getting huge kudos for the two EPs they’ve released to date – Columbia Mills. Having not seen them live before I’m full of anticipation for this gig and they don’t disappoint with a set that is full of sonic swagger and ambition. This is a band that should go places if they are looked after correctly and I’d urge you to catch them live ASAP.
My final act for a frenzied first day/night is Beached Whales. They are a hugely energetic funk soul band from Dundalk who have the hooks to get the The Salty Dog hoards hoppin’ and a boppin’, even as the clock ticks towards the 3 am mark.
After that it’s a stumble over guide ropes back to the tent and some much needed kip.
Stay tuned for Lofty’s Saturday and Sunday Picnic account!