Last Friday marked day one of my Electric Picnic experience and, I'm glad to say that, it lived entirely up to my lofty expectations. The atmosphere, the ease of access, the sublime and ridiculous artwork adorning the trees... Body & Soul... The list goes on and on. Everything you've heard that makes the Picnic wonderful really does - it needs to be experienced.
Musically, my Friday began with the stunning Janelle Monae. The Kansas-born soul merchant was one of my picks to watch prior to the Picnic and luckily she lived up expectations. She got the crowd going with a hit filled set, the highlights of which were Cold War and the dance moves practiced by Janelle and her backing dancers. And, of course, the fantastic man in the top-hat who introduced the entire set. Unfortunately I missed her on Body & Soul (I tried my best to get through the crowd but it wasn't happening...) but the video below gives an indication of what she did there. I heard it was even better than the fantastic set on the Main Stage.
Next, for me, was Laura Marling. I am a huge fan of Marling's latest work (the Mercury nominated I Speak Because I Can) and was really looking forward to this show. Unfortunately, rather than a fit and flying Marling, we encountered a rather jaded and ill incarnation. She apologised for not being able to sing any louder and asked the crowd to keep it down - they simply ignored her. Later reflection led me to conclude that a huge portion of the crowd were probably Foals fans who had gotten there early and weren't interested. The songs that Marling did perform were pretty good - despite her voice being a little weaker, she still sounded great. It hasn't put me off catching her again. Hopefully in a better physical state next time.
After Ms. Marling, I managed to catch part of the Holy Roman Army on the rather lovely Love Letter Stage. A small and picturesque location that suited the band perfectly, the highlight of the set was a cover of Bon Iver's Skinny Love.
Having thoroughly checked out the food on offer around the arena, I found myself at the Main Stage in time for one of the most anticipated acts of the weekend: Modest Mouse. Unfortunately Isaac Brock and co. simply didn't cut it for me. They began very well, including crowd pleaser Float On just three tracks in. The upbeat, fast-paced songs sounded fantastic, though several numbers in the middle of the set were simply a little dull. Luckily, the set picked up rapidly as it hurtled toward it's conclusion with the likes of Dashboard, before ending very abruptly. I wasn't the only bemused person in the crowd left asking "Was that it?"
The crowd headed for an already packed tent being rocked by Foals while I went to catch the end of Jonsí. To say that I was impressed is an understatement. I only caught the last song of his set but the combination of his soaring vocals and the gorgeous visuals on the back-drop (it depicted rain falling on a lake, gradually increasing with the speed of the song) was spellbinding. Certainly an act I want to see again.
Finally, I tried to force my way into a horrendously packed tent containing Eels. I managed to last for five tracks and decided enough was enough and headed off to Body & Soul for the night, the highlight of which was the simply brilliant Lucent Dossier Experience.
Below is Jonsí performing Go Do at Electric Picnic on Friday. This wasn't the track I caught but it still sounds great. You don't get as good an appreciation of the back-drop or the sheer scale of the performance as you would have if you were there but hey - this is about as good as you'll get unless you want to follow his trek across the globe.
- Cork, Ireland
- An Irish based alternative music blog. Music news, gigs, live reviews, album reviews... You'll find them here. If you want anything featured or removed, please shout. I hope you'll discover something new to love on this little experiment of mine. Currently editing the Music Section of the UCC Express and contributing to Motley magazine on campus, as well as writing for PopCultureMonster and 4FortyFour. Always looking for new projects so please get in touch if interested. Thanks for reading.