A review of Saturday at Indiependence Music and Arts Festival
It’s the August Bank Holiday weekend and there is no other place I’d rather be than in Mitchelstown for Saturday at Indiependence Music & Arts Festival. Unfortunately circumstances prevented my arrival onsite till Saturday but reports are that The Strypes, Saint Sister, Idlewild and headliners Bell X1 were in fantastic form on Friday evening.
Each year Shane Dunne and the Indiependence crew have sought to improve on the previous year’s festival and this year is no exception, in fact the new site orientation might be the best Indiepenence setup yet and it copes comfortably with the new increased capacity of 9,500.
As ever there is plenty of choice of the musical and non-musical variety on offer and first place to visit is the Spoken Word tent. Here Dwayne Woods and his Co-Present crew are recording a live podcast, hosting Jack O’Rourke and ELM for chats and a few tunes. With beautiful vocal performances from both artists, its an intimate and entertaining way to kick off Indie16. O’Rourke’s vocals are beautifully powerful and are complimented perfectly by his full band when we follow him over to the Main Stage.
It’s then over to the Big Top for James Or a new musical discovery for me and one of my highlights of Saturday’s offerings. Or has previously worked at Indiependence behind the scenes. He looks very comfortable front of house with a band that you’d think were playing together for years; such is their bouncy chemistry. I’ll definitely be checking out his EP “Cold Open”.
Kilkenny’s Neon Wolf bring their energetic indie pop to the Main Stage; getting the early revellers dancing closing their set with a satisfying and rousing end. Then it’s over to the Beer Hall a favourite haunt of mine since its inspired introduction a few years ago. Here I find Heroes in Hiding, Jamie Stanton and Danny Battles all delivering solid sets.
Around 7pm it’s time to finally see Pleasure Beach live. They are certainly a band that suit the surrounds of the Main Stage with an epic sound. Plus the rock god presence of front man Alan Haslam. Given that they’ve only released four songs to date (all of which they play), the set is augmented with material from their upcoming album. They add an interesting take on Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” which works and doesn’t work in almost equal measure.
Back in the Beer Hall, Barq are putting on quite a show. They are followed by Limerick’s Parliament Square who are showcasing tracks from their debut album, which is released next month. As ever, front man Brendan Markham is in fine form with “Silverback” a set highlight. As is their powerful version of Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” which delights the sizeable crowd that has assembled by the end of their show.
Speaking of sizeable crowds, by the time I get back to the Main Stage Hudson Taylor have drawn the biggest crowd of the day. The crowd are delighted with exhilarating renditions of “Care”, “Chasing Rubies” and “Battles”. Walking on Cars aren’t particularly my cup of tea but they’ve obviously got their fans as the Main Stage looks totally wedged. However, I make my way over to the Beer Hall for raucous rock of Mindriot; are usually the loudest band at Indiependence. They certainly don’t disappoint as the local band rip it up.
And so it’s to Saturday night’s headliners The Kooks who deliver a set full of festive crowd pleasers. It’s the newer material that I think works best with “Bad Habit” and “Sweet Emotion” particular highlights.
All in all Saturday at Indiependence is a very enjoyable day of music and sets us up nicely for what looks like an epic Sunday.