Thank the Lord for Twitter. I woke up Saturday morning (to the sounds of rain! Luckily it didn't last.) to the rapidly spreading news that Body & Soul was going to play host to a solo set from Conor J. O'Brien of Villagers. Wonderful...
Conor played a handful of tracks to a silent crowd who sat knees crossed in front of him. The set included new track In A New Found Land You Are Free - I should have a video of this and one other song from the set on the blog at some stage of the week. Below is most of the track Home and it gives a pretty solid indication.
The contract between this set and the full set that Conor did later in the day was clear to anyone who was at both. The two were special and enjoyable in their own ways, but a number of the tracks simply work better with a full band, backing vocalists, etc. The camaraderie between Conor and the other Villagers is a clear strength for the band - they fall into that category of "better live than on record" for me. The songs have an identity when live, the singalong comes out in full force. The full-band set was a raucous affair that included the majority of the Mercury nominated debut, as well as the pick of the band's original EP - Down, Under The Sea. They look so comfortable and relaxed onstage - a real gem. The gig was referred to as their "favourite in Ireland to date" by Conor too.
Sandwiched between Villagers was a surprisingly enjoyable few tracks from Somali hip-hop star K'Naan including the official 2010 FIFA World Cup anthem Wave Your Flag.
The evening was all about contrast for me. First up was the sublime blues stylings of Seasick Steve - a man renowned for his live performances. This was up there with the best I saw all weekend. This was followed by the intriguing prospect of the Antlers. The Brooklyn band put on a fantastic show, though it was very obvious that they cut out a huge portion of last year's haunting debut due to the fact that they simply wouldn't come across well in the live setting. It has a much more lively feel than the intimacy of the record. Intriguing, I will say again. Enjoyable, certainly.
And it was finally time to break out the dance moves. It was off to the Electric Arena for the double-bill of Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem. Sublime is all I can say. Hot Chip, in particular, were exceptional. They are oft overlooked at festivals due to the regularity of their appearances, though on this showing that is a mistake. They were down one member due to the birth of a child, though the set was still full of hits and the crowd loved every second. This was followed by LCD Soundsystem strutting their stuff under a magnificent mirror-ball. Fans had waited a long time to see James Murphy an co. in action and were not disappointed in the slightest.
The duo were the talk of the night on the campsite and around the arena. One man I ran into told me how he had stood at the back of a crowd of at the least 25 rows OUTSIDE the Electric Arena to enjoy the duo. He had been able to overhear the infectious hits of Hot Chip waft over to the Crawdaddy tent where Cathy Davey was performing at the time and wandered over to see it. A better showing than at Oxegen for the Londoners, while LCD Soundsystem kept me gripped for the entirety of a lively performance.
Two bands I certainly want to see over and over and over and over....
Sorry. I couldn't resist.
I managed to catch several underwhelming minutes of the Frames, as well as the beginning of Gil Scott Heron - I left Crawdaddy as the man himself simply wasn't audible in the tent. Something that needs to be worked on next year. I couldn't understand a word that was being said in there. The night finished with the glorious mesh of Caribou in Body & Soul. It was even better than it sounds. So relaxed, so beautiful... A wonderful show.
- 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.