Electric Picnic 2012: The Basket of Treats

As the saying goes, better late than never; so after a mere few hours’ recovery here goes the story that was Electric Picnic 2012 the basket of treats.

Friday Highlight: The XX on the Main Stage

Well as predicted the XX were most certainly the stand out act of the Friday and perhaps the whole weekend. Even the most skeptical of music fans turned up in their drones to catch a listen of just what this little band had to offer and those that witnessed the performance know just exactly why.

As Romy and crew played a mixture of songs from both their debut and new offering Coexist thousands of spectators flooded out from the front of the stage spreading for miles around.

Songs such as ‘Shelter’ and the amazing ‘VCR’ truly had every spectator fan or non fan singing along with their simple elegant words. It sure was an enormous step up from the medium sized EP performance tent of 2009 and for the XX perhaps one of their greatest achievements to date.

Best Song: Not being biased although The XX, Shelter was most certainly one of those ‘wow’ factors that will be etched in the mind for some time.

Best Craic or Chill: Christy Moore on the Crawdaddy Stage

The crowd may have been perspiring just as much as Mr. Moore himself as the tent practically burst at the seams though nothing was could possibly lessen the almighty craic in there.

From young to old all were enthralled by the spectacular performance we’ve come to expect from Christy sparking a sing-song for every lyric to his famous ditties whilst enticing even the odd Hooley here and there.

Low Light:

If there had to be one then I’d have to say the hazy rain, yet not even that could spoil our fun.

Best Unknown/Tip for the Top: Cold Specks on the Crawdaddy Stage

Those of you who arrived early may have been privy to the soulful wonder that is Cold Specks AKA Al Spx and for those of you who didn’t then remember this name; you may just get another opportunity…watch this space.

Saturday Highlight: Orbital on the Main Stage

The Cure would always be a tough act to follow for any band although dance legends Orbital quite frankly did it in style.

Playing most of the songs from Work surely delighted the members of the crowd as happy faces were displayed all round. The arrivals of ‘Halcyon’, ‘Chime’ and ‘Belfast’ most certainly had the revellers going wild undoubtedly drawing out even the furthest of closet raver to exhibit their well kept secret dance moves.

Best Song: The Cure, ‘Lovesong’

On hearing the infectious opening music and beautiful lyric, “Whenever far away, I will always love you” the goose bumps encapsulated me and all the other fans surrounding me.

One fan exclaimed, “even though it’s one of the bands lesser known hits, it always manages to grip me the most whenever I see them perform this one live.”

Best Craic or Chill: Strolling about on an early Saturday afternoon and checking out all the weird and wonderful things Electric Picnic has to offer that you never noticed the night before such as “The Direct Line to God” and The Slide.

Lowlight: The campsite troughs (oh er I mean toilets) were most definitely not fit for human use, a disgrace and a health hazard. By Saturday any slight hope of actually using these appalling holes was impossible leaving quite a number of distressed faces about the place in search of an alternative rest place.

Best Unknown/Tip for the Top: Turn on the Cosby Stage

If Turn does what they said they might do and continue with their comeback then I predict big things for these three Irish lads.

The Dublin band drew an impressive afternoon crowd into the Cosby Stage with a trip down memory lane of when Turn was huge in the Ireland gigging scene. Playing songs such as ‘In Position’ and ‘Time on my Side’ made us wonder how they didn’t make it as big Internationally back then and that perhaps now is the trios “turn” to hit the big time?

Sunday Highlight: The Killers on the Main Stage

The inclusion of a questionable number of average songs at the start of the set had me fearing a wash out. The performances of the big ones although surely made up for that.

As it, “started out with a kiss, how did it end up like this, it was only a kiss…” blasted from the stage the crowd were indeed well warmed up and ready for more.

Best Song: The Killers ‘Jenny was a Friend of Mine’

I simply must chose this song as not one person was standing still at the main stage as Brandon exclaimed the lyrics, “Oh come on, oh come on, oh come on” and the opening guitar riffs were quite simply mighty.

Best Craic or Chill: The Dublin Gospel Choir on the Main Stage

It really is true that all it takes is the simple things to brighten up your day.

Whilst strolling around on Sunday morning acquiring our Pie Minister fix for the day we simply couldn’t ignore the best hangover cure ever soaring from the main stage in the form of the Dublin Gospel Choir.

What a perfect start to a beautiful sunny day as the lads proceeded to belt out teasers for the night ahead with hits from Elbow and The Killers to name a few; ‘One day like this’ was certainly a welcome rendition quite possibly out doing the original.

Lowlight: Having to hit the hay at a frosty but sensible 1 am.

Monday Lowlight: So it was all over and we have to finally leave the music haven we have come to call our home. It’s only 362 days until next year’s festival and alas we shall meet again; so for now Electric Picnic 2012 we shall bid you adieu.

By Audrey Mulholland
© Audrey Mulholland 2013

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Electric Picnic 2012: The Countdown

Electric Picnic the Countdown

It’s merely two days until the beginning of one of Europe’s great festivals; so here’s the pre-plan for each day of the weekend.

Friday

Act we’re most excited to see

It has to be none other than the super chilled out indie dance trio The XX. It was love at first listen with me and the XX who first appeared in a semi-full tent at 2009’s Electric Picnic. I could tell straight away that these guys were destined for bigger things and promptly picked them as my ‘One’s to Watch out for’ in 2009.

Going on to win The Mercury Prize in 2011 proved my instincts were most certainly on the money.

It’s all go for the Romy and the guys, who are prestigiously placed as the warm up for the main stage Friday headliner, Sigur Ros.

Our biggest dash between stages

The XX on The Main Stage at 21:00 may clash with The Vaccines on the Electric Arena stage at 21:30

It’s a tough decision, although half of each may just be a sacrifice worth making to catch a glimpse of both of these crowd pleasers.

The one song we can’t wait to hear live

The crowd are sure to be hopping about to The Vaccines ‘If you Wanna’ and I’ll be right there with them. The performance of this sing-a-long indie gem could very well be one of the day’s best moments.

The Vaccines If you Wanna

Our unknown recommend

Check out Cold Specks on The Crawdaddy Stage at 16:30- This Canadian singer-song writer created waves when she appeared on the Jools Holland Show back in November. Expect much more from this artist in the future.

Saturday

Act we’re most excited to see

It has to The Cure who warm up the crowd at the Main Stage at 21:00. Having not played here in Ireland for some time I most certainly expect that Mr. Smith will be banging out classics from their amazing back catalogue of hits. I’d advise to get there early for this major treat.

Our biggest dash between stages

And it’s The Cure on the Main Stage at 9:00 and The Horrors taking on The Crawdaddy Stage at the slightly later slot of 9:45. A tough decision will have to made here; give yourself up completely to the legendary Cure for a whole 3 hours, or sneak off to catch a quick glimpse of UK rockers The Horrors?

The one song we can’t wait to hear live

If you’re a fan of Bell X 1, then the arrival of ‘Tongue’ from their hit album Music in Mouth is sure to offer utmost pleasure.

Bell X 1 Tongue

Our unknown recommend

Ham Sandwich on the Cosby Stage at 4:25; whilst this duo are quite well known over these shores, I expect exciting prospects for future overseas ventures.

Sunday

Act we’re most excited to see

The Killers, that is all…

Our biggest dash between stages

Glen Hansard at the Crawdaddy Stage and The Killers on the Main Stage. Both are sure to be blasting out their greatest hits one after the other proving decisions between the two will not be made lightly.

 The Killers- Mr Brightside

The one song we can’t wait to hear live

I going to have to cheat on this one and pick two; Elbows ‘One Day Like This’ will surely send earthquakes throughout the Main Arena and quivers down the backs of all who adore this beautiful piece of music.

The Killers ‘Mr. Brightside’ Try standing still to this one, I know where I’m concerned I’ll be hopping around with 10,000 other people with a big smile on my face. The perfect end to what is promised to be an amazing day.

Our unknown recommend

The Antlers on The Crawdaddy Stage at 18:45 are sure to draw a good crowd. Although pretty well known in the underground indie scene I expect bigger and better things to happen for this band.

 Author: Audrey Mulholland
© Audrey Mulholland 2013

Snow Patrol: Phoenix Park July 8th 2012

Snow Patrol- Dublin’s Phoenix Park: Sunday, July 8th, 2012

Even on paper this concert sounded quite magnificent, and that’s just exactly what it was. Still the previous day’s revelations of concert chaos, mud fields and travelling traffic jams to the Phoenix Park had no inkling of deterring the excited Sunday revellers.

A showery day which began with excellent support from bands, Here we go Magic, We are Augustines, Bressie, The Temper Trap and concluded with the exceptional Florence and the Machine perfectly set the stage for one of the most impressive Snow Patrol performances ever.

The band blasted onto stage with ‘Hands Open’ at around 9 O’ Clock to a foray of extraordinary lights and visual images of soaring eagles and snowflakes which scattered throughout the show, creating a seriously well presented stadium production.

What followed was an array of impressive hits including ‘Take Back the City’, ‘Crack the Shutters ‘and ‘This isn’t everything you are’ which the crowd in unison sang back every word.

As Gary Lightbody exclaimed, “18 years of dedication has lead us to this; possibly the most nostalgic gig of our lives”, the always melancholy ‘Run’ boomed from the stage again not leaving one reveller devoid of every lyric rolling off their tongues.

 ‘Chasing Cars’ and ‘Chocolate’ sent the crowd into a distinct aura of ecstasy as I’m sure many were waiting for these two fan favourites. As the revellers chanted those distinct words, “as a child of 25” an amazing roar of nostalgic applause and hopping happily about ensues.

As the lads crack on into the amazing ‘Open your Eyes’ and huge hit, ‘You’re all that I have’ you can feel a definite sense of comradeship between groups of friends as happy hugs and general reminiscence occur between Snow Patrol’s amazing following.

The encore included an emotional rendition of the very personal ‘Lifening’ as Gary sang an ode to his father whom he had brought on stage as we all applauded. With this you could definitely feel the genuine emotions exuding from not just father and son, albeit the whole band.

The set was topped off with the upbeat pop classic, ‘Just Say Yes’ as the whole audience from the front to the very back danced around ecstatically in the mud which concluded the perfect ending to the upmost perfect day.

Snowpatrol are well renowned for putting on a great show which I myself can vouch for having been in attendance for most of their Irish gigs over the years. Whilst this may be the case I strongly believe they may all perhaps have been leading up to this performance, this one was indeed something special.

The show as a whole was undoubtedly impressive on all accounts, leaving my only wish that the Nordie lads could play a Springsteenesque 3 hour show.

Speaking to one fan after the concert they exclaimed, “No joke, it was actually the greatest night of my life.”  

I reckon this gig will be talked about for some long period and will most certainly be one of those etched in Irish music lovers heads for some time to come.
© Audrey Mulholland 2013

Top gigs for July

Here’s my recomendations for the month of July 😉

The Phoenix Park

Thursday 5th The Stone Roses, The Wailers, The Minutes

Saturday 7th Swedish House Mafia, Snoop Dogg, Tinie Tempah, Calvin Harris

Sunday 8th Snow Patrol, Florence & the Machine, The Temper Trap

The O2

Thursday 12th Paul Simon

The Olympia

Tuesday 10th & Wednesday 11th Lady Antebellum

Tuesday 17th Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros    

enjoy 😉

  

Music to truly get you moving

Are you ever getting ready for that big night out that you’ve all been planning for some time and you simply do not want to go? Or, you simply can’t think of anything to get you out of the doldrums feeling you’re experiencing, well think no further.

This dolly mixture of tunes are sure to work, they certainly work for me and they can pull you right out too.

So let’s put them to the test, here’s my top 10 (in no exact order), if these don’t work I challenge you to create your very own top 10, enjoy 😉

1)      Hysteria: Muse

Chart Position, December 2003- 17 (UK)

Taken from Muse’s 3rd and possibly best studio album, Absolution ‘Hysteria’ has it all. Amazing rock beats encapsulate the genius lyrics and vocals of Mr. Matthew Bellamy. As the words, “I want it now, give me your heart and soul” thunder from his lungs you may feel yourself encased in goose bumps and pure excitement. This tune is additive to the highest degree and positive to release even the heaviest head from the gloomiest mid-week hangover ever.

2)      Born Slippy. NUXX: Underworld

Chart Position July 1996- 2 (UK)

Taken from one of the Best Movie Soundtracks of all time ‘Born Slippy’ just makes you want to party; between the banging beats,  amazing music and the lyrics, “Shouting Lager, Lager, Lager” what more could you want from a banging party tune.

3)      Drinking in LA: Bran Van 3000

Chart Position, February 1997- 3 (UK)

“Hi. My name is Stereo Mike.” Does anybody who was a teenager in the nineties not know those famous opening lyrics? ‘Drinking in LA’ is one of those nostalgic feel good tunes that is almost impossible to forget. I reckon at one time or another we all thought the lyrics were about our group of mates and the good times we have or indeed used to have. Try putting this one on without a smile etched across your face.

4)      Dog Days: Florence & the Machine

Highest Chart Position January 2010- 23 (UK)

“Happiness” well the clue is in the first word; ‘Dog Days’ is one of those songs that exudes a scene of jumping on the bed excitement. Any hint of procrastination when heading out and a blast of this one will surely do the trick.

5)      Paint It, Black: The Rolling Stones

Chart Position May 1966- 1 (UK & US)

I don’t think I’ve ever heard this song, under any circumstance and not wanted to dance around like a lunatic as the signature sitar riff grabs you right from the outset. Paint It, Black is one of those tunes that always put you in a good mood, no matter how hard you may try to ignore it.

6)      Sound and Vision: David Bowie

Chart Position February 1977- 3 (UK)

“Dooo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo,” this is one great confident track right from the start; Pure class.

7)      Hot Ride: The Prodigy

Chart Position November 2004- Did not conform to Chart Regulations

“Up, up and away, am I beautiful, my beautiful.” Such up- beat lyrics and banging beats surround this little cracker from the best dance band of the 90’s and today. You certainly can’t help but hop around to this one.

8)      End Credits: Chase & Status feat. Plan B

Chart Position November 2009- 9 (UK)

“I can feel, something happening that I’ve never felt before.” These lyrics perfectly describe the euphoric emotions emulating from this song.  I most certainly believe that this music could be used for a moving scene from absolutely any movie soundtrack or simply to pick up the pace of any nightclub DJ set or party.

9)      The Skin of my Yellow Country Teeth: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Chart Position- No actual chart positions

The instrumentation on this track captures your attention right from the start and puts you in the mood for dancing right from the off -set.  No matter what your opinion may be of Alec Ounsworth’s  voice;  you cannot deny the addictiveness of this class little tune.

10)      Trains to Brazil: The Guillemots

Chart Position September 2006- 36 (UK)

Now you can’t help but be transformed from the worst mood ever when you hear this little number which is an instant pick me up. Fyfe sings about how war and tough times may be going on all around us but when you think of that special someone it all just seems a distant meaningless blur. ‘Trains to Brazil’ is sure to give you the musical push you need to face the day on a positive note.

Garbage- Not Your Kind of People?

The very apt lyrics, “I won’t be your dirty little secret” perfectly personify how the Scottish/American punk rockers Garbage wish to explode back onto the scene after a quite notable absence of six years.

Automatic Systematic Habit

They may not be everyone’s “kind of people” although they certainly are mine; and with an opener like the banging ‘Automatic Systematic Habit’ I reckon they may soon just be yours too.

Big Bright World
Big Bright World gives off an aura of, “this is going to be something good” right from the start. This track certainly has a bit of everything; it’s melodic, full of infectious guitar riffs and beats, and is sure to brighten up any dull day.

Blood for Poppies
“Catchy” is how I would perfectly personify ‘Blood for Poppies’. An early Muse-esque opening quickly turns into a mixture of pop, cool beats and Shirley’s surprisingly appealing talk style singing. Musically this song has a dolly mixture of everything; I reckon a couple of listens and it will be a sure fire hit.

Control
“Maybe I’ll hold my breath and jump right in”, Shirley exclaims from the outset and the song does just that. Good beats and vocals encase this number which exudes effect; although I can’t help but think I’ve heard too much similarity before.

Not Your Kind of People
Melodically it’s a mix of Primal Scream and perhaps the Beatles although unfortunately even with those two great influences it sadly comes up a bit short of a remarkable number.

Felt
An aura of My Bloody Valentine surrounds this track although Garbage brings their rocky unique feel to it. ‘Felt’ is one of those tunes which on first listen may not impress too much but by the second or third the repeat button may just come in handy.

I Hate Love
Remonetising the Garbage of old ‘I Hate Love’ is quite a good track although it may perhaps fall to the wayside when compared to the other stompers on this offering.

Sugar
I can see what it’s trying to do with the psychedelic music and haunting percussion although ‘Sugar’ sadly fails to reach its full potential.

Battle in Me
‘Battle in Me’ is a good little pop song about the constant battle of love and war between the sexes. Strong beats coupled with angry lyrics create an aura of anger which slowly turns to resolution making it easy to relate to this one and instantly sing along even on first listen.

Man on a Wire
Rocky little tune, not much to it but a strong enough number all the same.

Beloved Freak
“Nothing good was ever free.” Beautiful music and heartfelt lyrics encapsulate ‘Beloved Freak’ however I reckon Garbage should have perhaps ended the album as in your face as it began to make it that bit more memorable.

In all ‘Not Your Kind of People’ after a few listens is a very good album, albeit I can’t help but think the band packed too many good songs into the beginning and somehow slightly neglected the end. However If this was just a taster and they are most certainly back I’m sure Garbage have much more for us to look forward to in the future.

Garbage Automatic Systematic Habit

European Summer Festivals 2012: The Cream of the Crop Part 2

It may seem hard to imagine with the abysmal weather and slight air of depression of late; however there are a number of better places with blue skies and amazing music just over the horizon…Yes it’s the rest of the best European Summer festivals that 2012 has in store, just take your pick.

T in the Park
Famous for their epic line-ups which last year included headliners like the Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys and Beyonce, again this year – T in the Park will certainly not disappoint.

Hitting the stages so far for 2012 are major acts such as The Stone Roses, Snow Patrol, Kasabian and Florence & the Machine; along with the likes of Elbow, The Courteeners, Jessie J and Orbital. Regular band announcements may result in agonizing decisions for revelers of just who to see, although if it means choosing one band against another they will without doubt get value for money with this one.

Tickets range from £70 for a day up to £189 for a weekend pass with camping.

T in the Park rocks on from Friday 6th until Sunday 8th of July.

www.tinthepark.com

Sziget, Hungary
Running for an astounding jam packed seven days, Sziget festival simply must be the most value for money music festival out there. With the Award for Best Major European Music Festival under its belt Sziget will undoubtedly live up to future expectations.

This year’s festival definitely boasts some of the best acts out there which include Placebo, The Stone Roses, The Killers,(Just announced)The Vaccines, Two Door Cinema Club, Glasvegas, Friendly Fires and for those dance fanatics The XX and Steve Aoki to name a few.

Seven days of musical bliss is an absolute steal at €200, or €45 for a day ticket; I know which one I’d be going for.

Sziget runs from Monday 6th until Monday 13th of August.

www.sziget.hu/festival

Electric Picnic
Ireland’s Premier Boutique Music Festival which nicely rounds off every Irish summer. Sometimes referred to as the “Irish Glastonbury,” Electric Picnic has something for everyone, boasting not only some of the greatest music acts of the moment but also comedy, film, arts and foods of the world.

With the noticeable absenteeism of the Oxygen and Glastonbury festivals this year 2012 looks set to perhaps be The Picnic’s biggest and most successful year to date. Holding the monopoly on this summer’s Irish festivals they now have the pick of the musical pot boasting such cool names as The Killers, The Cure, Grizzly Bear, Elbow, Orbital and the XX.

Early Bird Tickets are priced at €230 for camping and a Sunday Day Ticket will set you back €99.50.

The Musical Picnic runs from Friday 31st August until Sunday 2nd of September.

www.electricpicnic.ie

Roskilde European Music Festival, Denmark- Denmark’s first real music festival is quite unique in that it is run by the non-profit Roskilde Organization for development and support of music, culture and humanism.

For this reason it undoubtedly adds incentive even before the announced line-up that will include Bjork, The Cure, and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Bon Iver and Friendly Fires.

Roskilde takes place from Thursday 5th until Sunday 8th of July.

Tickets are DKK 850 (€115) for a day ticket which is pretty steep although DKK 2700 (€262) for a full eight day’s inclusive camping ticket cannot be knocked.

www.roskilde-festival.dk

Reading/ Leeds
The Leeds/ Reading festivals run simultaneously over the English August Bank Holiday weekend offering a mixture of mostly the same bands, so whether you’re up or down the country you won’t miss out.

Appearing this year are a blend of festival veterans to include Foo Fighters and The Cure along with the latest bands comprising of The Vaccines, Florence & the Machine, The Black Keys, The Courteeners and many more.

A weekend camping ticket will set you back around £205, or if you’re a lightweight you can always purchase a day ticket for around £90.

The Reading/ Leeds Festivals run from Friday 24th until Sunday 26th August.

www.readingfestival.co.uk

Not too long to go now for the musical summer of a lifetime…enjoy

European Music Festivals 2012: The Cream of the Crop Part 1

Ah my favourite part of the year is already upon us; European Festival Season. Here are a few top recommendations from yours truly. All of these gems are equally as unique in their own special way…

Benicàssim, Spain- Surrounded by beaches, oozing with art and fashion and of course displaying some of the best rock and pop performers of the moment, Benicàssim quite simply has it all.

Confirmed so far for the 2012 festival are The Stone Roses, Florence and the Machine, The Vaccines, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Bombay Bicycle Club, Dizzy Rascal and New Order.

Benicàssim takes place from Thursday 12th until Sunday 15th July.

A 4 Day Ticket Including 8 Days Free Camping will set you back a decent enough €180.

Open’er Festival, Poland- Offering 4 days with camping for the equivalent of 90 euro, a visit to Open’er is the perfect no brainer to bulk up any circuit traveler’s itinerary this summer.

Bjork, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, Public Enemy, Bon Iver, The Macabees, Friendly Fires, Orbital and The XX are some great acts already confirmed for the show.

Open’er takes place from Wednesday 4th until Saturday 7th July inclusive.

Tickets range from an unbelievable 165 PLN (€40) for a Day Ticket and 410 PLN (€89) for 4 Days with Camping.

Isle of White Festival- The Isle of White Festival has always been famous for legendary performances, some of which have included Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and more recently Muse.

In staying with tradition this year’s line-up will not differ from the past as it includes the well celebrated headliners To, Petty, Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen. More over Lana Del Rey, Tinny Tempah, Jessie J and born performers The Vaccines are amongst the amazing new acts to hit the stage.

The fun commences from Thursday 21st until Sunday the 24 of June.

Tickets are priced from £160 (non-camping) to £200 (camping) for the whole weekend.

Pukkelpop, Belgium– This year Pukkelpop fans were given the chance to pick their own unique musical favourite’s resulting in a line-up which now includes the pick of the festival crop.

Revelers will now get to enjoy the tunes of Björk, The Stone Roses, Foo Fighters, Bloc Party, Chase & Status, Two Door Cinema Club and many more…

The music at Pukkelpop explodes in Belgium big time from Thursday 16th until Saturday August 18th, although the campsite is open for slumber from Wednesday 15th until Sunday 19th inclusive.

Pre-sale Tickets range from €79 for a One Day Ticket up to €155 for 3 Days with Camping.

Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, Germany– Germany’s biggest and simultaneous festivals which are known for their almost identical line up’s are almost always sell outs.

Famous for their amazing bills and decent prices these Deutsch gigs are once again offering the best mix of bands around.

Already confirmed for 2012 are Metallica, Soundgarden, Kasabian, Linkin Park, Motorhead, The Offspring, Gossip, M.I.A and Tinie Tempah, to name but a few.

The party gets started from Friday 1st of June and runs right through until Sunday 3rd.

Unfortunately both super festivals were sold out in minutes, although the promoters are advertising a perfect alternative day festival Rock Im Pott which takes place in The Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen on Saturday August 25th.   

The Line-up includes none other than both rock Gods the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Placebo with some very special guests.

Tickets for that beauty are priced at a decent enough €72.

More Fabulous European Festival previews to follow next week…