Electric Picnic 2014 Day Three Review
Ah, day three of Electric Picnic, it’s like the boss round of a game, survive this and you get to go home and have a hot shower. In saying that, no hangover or lack of deodorant would stop the masses from emerging from their tents for one final musical feast. The people are still arriving in their hundreds to the festival, hoping to say their final goodbyes to the sunshine whilst listening to a multitude of musical legends. Today’s offering consists of the Londoner, Lily Allen, to the gritty charm of OutKast as headliners, to the our very own Celtic songstress Sinead O’Connor. There’s something for everyone today with London based DJ Duke Dumont taking over the Little Big Tent, as Kelis takes over Rankin’s Wood Stage; it should be an interesting day to say the least.
See also: Electric Picnic 2014 Saturday Review
Whoever’s idea it was to kick Sunday morning off with Dublin Gospel Choir is basically a genius and they deserve a medal. It was the most perfect way to wake up the bleary-eyed residents of Electric Picnic. People took a much more carefree approach to the first main stage act, laying about on the grass with burgers and chips in hand to be ease into their final day of music in the smoothest way possible. The choir came out in the most fantastical array of rainbow colours, obviously trying to brighten the dull morning we were faced with. Their beautiful harmonies just set everyone up for a great day, the impressive arrangement of vocals and selection of songs seemed even more idyllic as the sun gently emerged. Their covers of “Lovely Day” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was a pleasant way of mixing things up whilst remaining true to their gospel background. They’re old pros at the festival circuit and their easy-going manner just oozed confidence. Of course, never was I as proud of an Irish act as when the members of the choir joined headliners, OutKast, on stage for their opening number, and they didn’t let us down one bit. Those powerful, soulful voices perfectly aligned with the raps-as-fluid-as-an-oil-slick manner of Andre 3000 and Big Boi.
See also: Electric Picnic 2014 Day Three Photos
I then ventured over to see Acrobat at Rankin’s Wood Stage, unfortunately, as I said yesterday, sometimes good bands suffer because of their variety of great bands playing. This was the case for Irish talent, Acrobat, their rock anthems were only received by a smattering of festival-goers, which was unfortunate as they seem to share the same kind of pumped up rhythms as the likes of the Foos. They did a fantastic cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence”, they amped it up and made it that little bit more hard-hitting. The small cluster of fans that came to support them didn’t deter the boys, and their gratefulness at being able to playing Electric Picnic was reiterated after each song. Their enthusiasm never wavered and you could tell from their faces that they were just delighted to rolling with the chart-toppers of today’s line-up.
See also: Electric Picnic 2014 Day Two Photos
The Wailers, of course, were another major attraction to the main-stage, their cool reggae sound gelled so well with the earlier morning acts that were performing. Their brilliant Kingston sound continued to ease the crowd in to their day but soon enough everyone was avidly waving their fists in the air to “Is This Love”. It was a perfectly soulful rendition paid homage to the great Bob Marley, every note was an almost perfect imitation of his own singing. The list of hits was endless and the crowd just grew and grew in terms of enthusiasm to the Wailers, soon enough it was just a sea of waving arms as they performed “Stir It Up”. As an act for EP, I wasn’t quite sure how’d they work out but they performed with great gusto, their performance of “Buffalo Soldiers” was so smooth, the vocals were spot-on and really did their original performer a great justice.
See also: Electric Picnic 2014 Friday Review
Now, a staple of the Irish is of course ham sandwiches, particularly in Laois. However, I wasn’t paying 7euros for a slapped together imitation of a sandwich so I did the next best thing and headed over to see the band, HamsandwicH perform, and whilst I still had a hole in my stomach, I was musically satisfied. Having seen them earlier this summer at Marlay Park, it was great to see them a little more close-up where they were rocking out with their own unique humour and crowd interaction. They’ve played Picnic before, they know everyone is almost dazed by the third day so they chose to wake us up with a bang, lighting up their set with “Models”. Their infectious music was just the right kind of sound to get everyone dancing their hearts out, although I’m not quite sure everyone was up to their request “touch someone else’s butt cheek”, but hey, that’s festival life for you! If you were unfortunate enough to come late to their show you probably could hear their guitarist screeching “come ooooooooon” as they bursted in their track, “Illuminate” which really got everyone moving. Lead singer, Niamh Farrell’s personal dance routine of a shimmy and shake was met with much amusement, she clearly enjoys playing these festivals, which helps to make the set even more enjoyable.
See also: Electric Picnic 2014 Day One Photos
Of course, Simple Minds were another classic act that couldn’t be missed today. I’ve always passionately associated them with The Breakfast Club so every time I hear that song I kind of find myself repressing an air punch. I didn’t have to refrain from doing it. It was amazing. I will call you a liar if you say you were there and didn’t sing or at least hum along the lines “as you walk on by will you call my name”, like Electric Picnic momentarily shut down as everyone sang along to one of the most classic songs ever. The crowd interaction between Simple Minds was probably the highlight of their performance, they seemed so enthusiastic to be hanging out “with their Celtic brothers and sisters”. The dulcet Scottish tones filled the air as they sang “Let the Day Begin”, the group expressed their excitement to be touring, admitting that they would continue to do so “even after they died”. Those feisty Scottish mannerisms only encouraged the crowd further, with miniature crowd waves emerging in pockets through the festival.
And just as I was finished looking at such well-seasoned performers, I chanced across Glass Animals, an Oxford group that almost sound like they could be an indie group until they unleash their synth and steel drum effects and show their more than just your everyday skinny jeans wearers. They have quite a cult following and it’s easy to see why, they’re like an edgier version of Franz Ferdinand, with their delightful accents and coy manner but then they release this fury of guitar and synth, turning the indie genre on its head. It was their first ever performance, at EP and they were eager to make a good impression upon everyone present in the Little Big Tent. Their lead guitarist almost looks like he’s having a little bit of a seizure when he performs songs like “Psyella” and “Gooey”, he almost loses control of his limbs, wriggling around the stage in time to the guitar. “Gooey” is pretty much the fan favourite, with the audience practically drowning out the band themselves as they chanted the words along like they were etched on the inside of their eyelids. I hope to see these boys soon again, preferably in a more intimate gig like “Waaaaaaylens”, (I think they meant Whelan’s?)
Sinead O’Connor, what can I say? Well, a lot actually, I reviewed her album, “I’m not Bossy, I’m the Boss” a few weeks ago and was hoping to see her live up her latest musical offering, no fear there anyway. She emerged on stage with her black shades on and seemed a little anxious at first, moving away from her mic several times. However, her rendition of John Grant’s “Queen of Denmark” demonstrated that the boss is very much back. She soon warmed up to the crowd, definitely focused on bringing her own unique performances to EP. As she performed “Take Me to Church” it was apparent that she hasn’t lost her edge as a musician, it was a pumped up and lively performance. Then again, she wasn’t without her flaws, her performance of “The Wolf is Getting Married” was a bit lacklustre and the obvious lack of “Mandinka” and “Nothing Compares 2U” in the set. But hey, sometimes it’s hard to live up to the expectation when the masses are waiting with baited breath for you to show them why you’re still the boss.
Of course, if we’re on the topic of female bosses, then we can’t not talk about Lily Allen. She just screams Electric Picnic, her cheeky demeanour and carefree attitude just makes her a perfect act for the Sunday main stage, she’s a fantastic way to start winding down an amazing weekend of music. She toes the line between cheeky and funny in both manner and music, which the crowd simply ate up. The singer clearly sees music festivals as her primary playground as she has casual conversation with the crowd, she has a craft cackle when she reads the handmade signs being held up to her. Speaking to a couple of different people, it was good to see there were fans of her old and new works; there were those waiting for her to belt out her classics “Smile” and “It’s Not Fair”, whilst others were just waiting for the catchy refrain of “Hard Out Here”. There was no end to the singer’s merriment and every track she sang was instantly recognisable, cementing her position on the main stage, she’s a quality act that deserves the attention. Her rendition of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know”, which was massive at Christmas, was almost flawless. It’s easy to see why she’s called Sheezus, she commands the stage when she’s on it, her vocals ring clear and she has no problem speaking her mind on stage, particularly when introducing her song, “Everyone’s Doing it”.
However, if you were looking for something with a little more depth than the cackling attitude of Lily Allen, you need not look any further than Rankin’s Wood Stage. I had been told by another writer; with the kind of wide-eyed enthusiasm that kind of scares rather than encourages you in to doing something that Jungle was an act not to be missed. “Who?” I hear you saying? Don’t fret if you know them, further investigation shows that they are one of the more mysterious bands at the festival, more concerned with making music than headlines. The rhythm of these performances was apparently in perfect sync with their album (I’m downloading that when I get home too); they have that kind of upbeat disco/dance beat that just blew the tent off Rankin’s stage. Their track of the summer, “Busy Earnin’”, was clearly the crowd favourite; it’s been on every playlist this summer. Yet it had competition from many of their other great tracks, demonstrating that the time they’ve spent avoiding the cameras and bright lights has clearly been put to good use in the studio.
Beck, what a show they put on, a winding show of old and new tracks that just allowed everyone to rock out without a care. Explaining that they were using this show “to make up for lost time”, they certainly crammed as much musical action into their set. Their performance of their anti-folk and underground rock style was another injection of adrenaline pumping musical action that arose on the third day of Picnic. “Loser” was of course the biggest anthem of the set, which they performed midway through their set, and the enthusiasm of the fans served to drown out Beck’s own voice, screeching the chorus and mumbling the verses. The managed to counteract the upbeat manner with their more poignant songs, there was a gentle chanting to be heard as Beck performed “Lost Cause” and it was one of the more emotional chords struck during the performance,. “Blue Moon” also had a resonating effect, filled with passion, it demonstrated that Beck’s newer releases haven’t lost their edge; this blues version had a wonderfully measured feeling to it. Of course, Beck is never one to dawdle on a single emotion, listening to any of his albums and you’ll see what I mean. Bursting in to an array of their more upbeat tracks, filled with such passion and fervour that Beck dragged his guitarist, still playing a guitar solo, off set as he “killed the song” with his amazing performance. He then pulled “Police Line – Do Not Cross” tape across the set, just to drive home the fact that they were slaying their set.
Just when I felt like I was good to wind down for the evening, the infectious and fluid raps of OutKast burst onto stage, their Southern boosted Electric Picnic. Their entrance was boosted considerably by our very own Dublin Gospel Choir (I’m writing this like a proud Irish mammy), and only improved as the set progressed. It’s been a while since they released anything but that just makes tracks like “Ms. Jackson” feel even more special. The grooving was turned up to the max as people shimmied to the fantastical flows of Andre 3000, the place practically shuddered when they started into “Hey Ya”. I feel like EP should take out insurance against manmade earth quakes, the ground just bounced as everyone tried to “shake it like a polaroid picture”. It was just the smoothest of renditions and people seemed to drop everything to get near the stage and get in on the polaroid-picture shaking. Their infectious beat infiltrated the majority of EP as the campsite was filled with catcalls of “hootie hoo”, marking the fact that the boys from Atlanta were rocking the socks off the crowd as they closed down Electric Picnic for the last time this year.
Overall, as I finish writing this, I do so with a smile on my face. There’s always the fear that these things just won’t live up to your expectations, some of the acts too old, others too young and inexperienced, how are you going to sneak in your alcohol if security make you take off your coat? Those questions and worries soon become insignificant once you immerse yourself in the micro-culture that is Electric Picnic, for three days music, arts, and having a good time are your priorities, and the art performers and musicians ensure those concerns are always at the fore of your mind. It was a brilliant weekend; Electric Picnic is going from strength to strength with every year, and with word of there being a proposed increase in capacity of 5,000 people, there’s even more chance for people to partake in one of those most enchanting and brilliantly executed arts and music festivals there is.
Review by Elaine McDonald