Electric Picnic review: Saturday
Delorentos, Wild Beasts and The Roots...
Celina Murphy, 10 Sep 2012
The almighty banshee howl from Pink Floyd’s ‘Great Gig In The Sky’ is the first thing to hit Hot Press ears on Saturday, delivered with flawless precision by the Trinity Orchestra’s Karen Cowley. Thanks to the classical collective’s boundless energy, it’s the perfect pants-kick to propell us back into the festival spirit.
Globetrotting Dubliners The Cast Of Cheers play to the first packed-out tent of the day, crowning a frantic set with a thunderous rendition of Family album track ‘Marso Sava’, complete with a mallet-flailing, foot-stomping tribal drum climax.
Over in the Crawdaddy tent, Delorentos reward some particularly energetic fans by dismantling their own set and turfing it out into the crowd, while Dexy’s impress in musicality if not in theatrics.
Wild Beasts, on the other hand, make a sun-soaked main stage massive putty in their hands, flipping between lavish Smother anthems and skyscraping earlier material, Hayden Thorpe and Tom Fleming’s chalk-and-cheese vocal as ever the co-stars of the show. Meanwhile, David Kitt takes us right back to 2001 with an amped-up reinterpretation of his best-known album, The Big Romance. Boasting cameos from the cream of the Irish musical crop (Katie Kim and Richie Egan to name but two), it’s a nostalgic yet contemporary set with plenty of worthwhile switches and change-ups.
SBTRKT’s almost iconic dub pop hit ‘Wildfire’ gets a crunchy remix in the Electric Arena, as Aaron Jerome and his musical partner in crime Sampha are left with the task of replicating a massive, star-studded album with only four hands. The result is clever, experimental and dizzyingly fun. Next, Kiwi alt. pop starlet Kimbra gives a masterclass in pizzazz over on the Crawdaddy stage. Part torch singer, part mad scientist, she quickly and effortlessly converts a crowd that perhaps hasn’t copped that she’s that girl from the Gotye song, who fall hook, line and sinker for her head-spinning vocal loops and outrageous move-busting.
On the opposite side of the pop spectrum, electronic duo Solar Bears have arranged a very special performance in the Little Big Tent, bulking up their dreamy-cum-banging sound with drums, bass, guitar and keys. Veering from breezy and delicate to bold and bouncy, their shapeshifting set is an all-out triumph.
Given the creativity elsewhere, a perfectly tight set from instrumental behemoth Explosions In The Sky struggles to make an impression, while a rousing political battle cry that only the great Patti Smith could muster gets punters in a rowdy mood in the all-too-small Crawdaddy Tent. Howling guitar solos, impassioned poetic interludes and expertly-delivered folk spirituals: this show has it all. Thanks to Smith’s enduring charisma, songs like ‘Because The Night’ sound as wild and important as ever. Meanwhile, material from the forthcoming Villagers album sees Conor O’Brien move in a rockier and more forceful direction, thanks to lots of retro, jangling guitars and even a handful of full-on freak-out moments.