- Live Review
- 05 Sep 22
CMAT, Joy Crookes, Prya Ragu, Belters Only, Reggie Snow and Snow Patrol also make it a final day to cherish in Stradbally!
Sunday starts with the sun finally splitting the Stradbally rocks - we told you to bring the Factor 50, didn't we? - and The Frank And Walters in the Hot Press Chatroom for a special Picnic edition of Up Close & Personal, our series of Irish artists discussing their classic albums.
Under the microscope this time is Trains, Boats And Planes, the Franks' debut which turns thirty in October.
It all seems like yesterday, though, as Ashley Keating and Paul Linehan recall The Liberty Bar, Sir Henry's, residing in a London YMCA ("There were no Village People, but it was fun to stay there," quips Paul"), Top Of The Pops appearances, hugging Paul McCartney, Edwyn Collins, Ian Broudie, being supported by PJ Harvey and Radiohead, former Setanta labelmate Neil Hannon and Billy Murphy.
Despite feeling the vocal ravages of last night's Fishtown gig, Paul is pitch perfect as he treats us to gorgeously stripped down versions of ‘After All’ and ‘Daisy Chain’.
You'll be able to witness it all for yourself soon on hotpress.com.
There are as many stetsoned heads outside Rankin's Wood as there are in it to experience CMAT whose emergence during lockdown is one of the few positive Covid stories.
What worked in her bedroom now works equally well on the big stage with Ciara Mary flanked by a red hot band and three fabulous drag queen friends who add to the overriding sense of cowpunk theatre.
Rocking a fringed, rhinestone-encrusted white number with sequined blue under apparel and easily the weekend's biggest hair, she's a bona fide heroine to the vast majority of the crowd who bellow every word of ‘No More Virgos’ and the G.A.A.-referencing ‘Every Bottle Is My Boyfriend’ back to her.
“The meaning of life is having fun and making friends,” Ms. Thompson opines as we’re instructed to link arms with the person next to us (Hi, Caoimhe) and two-stop our way through the closing ‘I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!’.
“I’m going to sing the chorus a couple more times – and fucking milk it,” she gleefully shouts before heading off into the Stradbally sunset.
Conquering hero status is also bestowed on Belters Only, AKA Dublin DJs Bissett and Robbie G who exploded a couple of years ago on TikTok and are now finally getting to do their banging techno thing live.
Their none too secret weapon is Jazzy, a fellow Dub who adds serious soul vibes to the likes of ‘Make Me Feel Good’ and ‘Don’t Stop (Just Yet)’ which have over 30 million YouTube views between them.
Judging by their storming of the Electric Arena – on a feelgood scale of 1-10, they get a 14 – Belters Only’s next Irish stop will be the 3Arena.
Maybe it's the magnitude of the occasion or some ring rustiness, but The Academic get off to a shaky start on the Main Stage with the band’s Strokes-ian indie jangle failing to connect with the early evening crowd who are more interested in their Instagram accounts than the Mullingar foursome.
That gradually changes, though, as their predominantly female following - or so it seems today – increasingly filter down to the front.
“They’re the Backstreet Boys for these kids,” says my pal Dawn, which probably isn’t what Craig Fitzgerald & Co. want to hear but as far as their fans are concerned they do tick a lot of the same boxes.
What The Academic need is a both sides of the Irish Sea/Atlantic hit, which may just be the brand spanking new 'Don't Take It Personally'.
Exiting to cheers rather than the earlier apathy, they can be proud of grinding out a points victory.
Back in the Electric Arena, Mimi Webb is doing that annoying thing of sounding like an Autotuned American when she’s actually from Canterbury in Kent.
It’s a shame because otherwise ‘24/5’ and ‘Little Bit Louder’ rival the likes of Ellie Goulding and Florence in the pop melodrama department.
The Coronas achieve immediate lift-off on the Main Stage with the one-two jab of ‘Just Like That’, which is the cue for a rainbow shower of beach balls to descend on the front-rows, and ‘Haunted’, which underlines how age has added multiple layers to Danny O’Reilly’s already seasoned voice.
Over at Rankin's Wood, Joy Crookes is coolness personified even when a technical glitch forces her to re-start the tabla-driven ‘I Don’t Mind’.
Blessed with a voice so rich and emotive that you can't help thinking of Amy Winehouse, she makes it all look so effortless – which of course it isn’t.
There are also trace elements of Etta James and Nina Simone in ‘Trouble’ and ‘Wild Jasmine’. Yep, she’s that good.
Bringing the bhangra beats to the 3 All For Music stage is Priya Ragu, the Tamil-Swiss singer-songwriter whose ‘Lighthouse’ is a funky Govinda Hare hoedown. Which is not a line I’ve written before.
“Playing my Nirvana (summertime)/ Smoking marijuana (love you girl)” inhales the singlet-wearing Rejjie Snow as he treats Rankin’s Wood to some of that deliciously mellow hip hop of his.
Hot Press’ stuff is comprehensively strutted as he segues into ‘Room 27’, the Dear Annie favourite whose “I’ll be going back to black, stairway up to heaven” prophecy thankfully turned out to be false.
Visually there's not a whole lot going on, but the songs and Reggie's charisma carry it.
The adulation levels go up another few notches as Freeman of Bangor Gary Lightbody and his Snow Patrol pals finally get to play their big EP show.
“I keep forgetting the lyrics to my own fucking songs,” Gary knows but that’s okay because the crowd knows all of them.
‘Take Back The City’ is performed at almost punk rock pace and ‘Run’ paused to allow all the amateur singers to have their Stars In Their Eyes moment. Magic!
The heavens open again as Arctic Monkeys bring the curtain down on this year’s Picnic but Alex Turner, who’s currently taking his sartorial cue from The River-era Bruce Springsteen, doesn’t mind singing and dancing in the rain.
In keeping with that Sheffield wit of his, the song intros (“Ar-aaaa-bel-aaaaaah”) are lounge lizard crooned rather than spoken with ‘Brianstorm’, ‘From The Ritz To The Rubble’ and ‘505’ all scoring particularly high on the clap-o-meter.
Turner’s voice remains immaculate throughout the well-nourished 21-tune set, which concludes with a Ramones-y ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ and elongated ‘R U Mine?’
It all adds up to a big “fuck off!” to the weather gods who may have rained but not on the Monkeys’ parade.
- Live Review
- 06 Sep 22
- Live Review
- 29 Jun 22