Reason #7: Villagers.
There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a hard-working, humble and genuinely nice guy make it - except of course seeing a hard-working, humble and genuinely nice IRISH guy hit the top. 2010 has been a whirlwind for Conor O'Brien. The former Immediate frontman moved onto new project Villagers and had quite a year: topping the album chart, sharing the first ever Harmonic bill in Cork with Grizzly Bear and Midlake (and totally stealing the show - but more on that in a bit), headlining a stage at Oxegen and being nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
It's incredible, but man does he deserve it?
I was lucky enough to catch Villagers in Cork last June with Grizzly Bear, Midlake and Camera Obscura. It was just a few weeks after debut record Becoming A Jackal had topped the chart and Conor was still riding this crest of success, though he still seemed genuinely surprised by the packed tent that awaited him in the Cork Docklands. Instead of buckling under this weighted pressure, Conor and co. went from strength to strength - they didn't so much as miss a note. Their harmonies outshone those of Grizzly Bear, their instrumental work topped Midlake...
Unfortunately, I missed Villagers at Oxegen. I misread my timetable and thought they were clashing with Arcade Fire... They were actually finished just a few minutes before the Canadians.
Since catching them live, the LP has actually taken on a new lease of life for me. The songs feel more personal, more immediate. I was initially a little cold and dismissive of it, but the songs feel real to me now - wholly deserving of Mercury nomination, if not victory.
I'm struggling to think of a live act that I have ever enjoyed more than Villagers - certainly there are none this year so far.
Is it any wonder I can't wait? Aside from the National, Villagers are my top tip to NOT miss at Electric Picnic, regardless of clashes.
- Cork, Ireland
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