Electric Picnic review: Sunday
With Lianne La Havas, Lee “Scratch” Perry and Cashier No. 9...
Stuart Clark, 10 Sep 2012
Sunday starts close to (temporary) home with Lianne La Havas charming the undergarments off everyone in the Hot Press Chatroom with an impossibly beautiful acoustic rendition of ‘No Room For Doubt’.
The stage is bigger, but the performance no less intimate a few hours later when a now fully plugged-in La Havas takes more breaths away in the Electric Arena. With Prince and Stevie Wonder both bigging her up, don’t be surprised if Paloma Faith’s former backing singer follows Adele to the top of the US charts. While not reinventing the soul wheel, the 23-year-old has a voice, quiet charisma and a debut album’s worth of great songs – ‘Old’ and ‘Forget’ are among the best-received today – that make her impossible not to warm to.
Elsewhere, The Riptide Movement do the Stones-y blues rock thing better than almost anyone else in the world at the moment. With amps firmly on ‘11’, the likes of ‘Hot Tramp’ and ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ are perfect early afternoon blow-away-the-cobwebs fare.
As are 76-year-old Lee “Scratch” Perry and 64-year-young Max Romeo, the Main Stage tag-team reggae legends, who could teach many a hipster combo about working an audience. The latter’s standout is ‘I Chase The Devil Away’ which The Prodigy turned into ‘Out Of Space’ and the former’s ‘I Am A Madman’ – a title that not even the most finicky of trade description’s inspectors could take exception to. Resplendent in a Jason-style coat of many colours, Perry may be one drumstick short of a snack-box, but makes for some of the weekend’s most compelling viewing.
Sadly, the same can’t be said of the next Main Stage-gracing act Michael Kiwanuka whose superb voice is let down by the soul-lite blandness of his songwriting.
If you’ve ever wondered what the bastard offspring of Arcade Fire and Mumford & Sons would sound like, you got your answer courtesy of Of Monsters & Men’s insanely packed Crawdaddy Stage set. In diametrical opposition to fellow Icelanders Sigur Ros, the sextet are all about delivering sweet pop hooks with as much gusto as possible. I don’t have my decibel meter with me, but I’d swear the Irish chart-topping ‘Little Talks’ gets the loudest cheer of the festival.
The brilliant mid-afternoon sun means that the Cosby Stage crowd for Rainy Boy Sleep is on the lesser side, but the Donegal Native Also Known As Steve Martin sticks to the task and delivers a gorgeously understated set that sounds a bit like James Morrison on one of his moodier days.