- 04 Sep 17
There was an abundance of great music, and lots of action in the Hot Press Chat Room, as Electric Picnic recovered from Saturday’s rain storms.
Following near biblical torrential downpours late on Saturday night, the third day of Electric Picnic 2017 could quite easily have resembled scenes from the Battle of the Somme. Thankfully, however, the rock gods were smiling and the sun swiftly baked all that slimy Stradbally mud into hard clay. It could have been so much worse.
As ever, there was more music happening across the myriad of big, medium, small and obscure stages than any single soul could possibly take in. On the main stage, as a collective nod to the musical legends playing later that night, the Dublin Gospel Choir kicked off the day with a beautifully sung medley of ‘80s and ‘90s pop hits. They were followed by Jamaican ska band The Skatalites, who played a punchy mix of classic and original ska and reggae. Close your eyes, inhale those suspicious-smelling clouds of smoke, and you could almost have been in Negril.
The tents were pretty damn hot, but worth braving for the electro-pop stylings of Hot Press fave Soulé in the Electric Arena. Backed by two singers and DJ Mona Lisa (all of whom were dressed in matching orange tops and combat trousers), the young soulster proved that she was born to the stage as she breezed through an impressive set that included her Choice-nominated debut single ‘Love No More’. When Mona Lisa’s laptop jammed, she took it in her stride, roaring “Let’s give it up for technical difficulties!”
Towards the end of her set, she was joined onstage by Jafaris, and the two singing together providing a good reminder that there’s a serious burgeoning urban scene, set to explode out of the Irish capital (there’s a reason we put them both on the cover of the Hot Press Yearbook). At the close of her show, Soulé reminded the crowd of who she was and sent them out singing “Soulé! Soulé! Soulé! Soulé!” in the tune of that old Irish football anthem.
Waterford dance collective King Kong Company took to the same stage ninety minutes later. Match-fit from a summer of playing European festivals, they whipped the full capacity crowd into a frenzy, with their full-on blend of dance, techno and special effects. During ‘Donkey Jaw’, frontman Mark Graham reminded everybody, “This isn’t a Kodaline gig!” Visually amazing and hugely energetic, they’d make great main stage headliners in the future.
Over in Mindfield, The Strypes dropped into the Hot Press Chatroom for a quick set that was almost as loud and frenetic as their main stage appearance 24 hours earlier. These guys have matured as writers, confirming that the only way should be up. The crowd joined in the fun with a rendition of Happy Birthday to Ross, who was all of 20 years of age yesterday. The mind boggles!
Most people had gone to see The Pretenders on that same stage by the time Brighton rappers Outer Class went on in The Word tent. It was a shame to see such talented performers playing to only a handful of fans, but those are the breaks at a festival of this magnitude.
The great Dublin singer-songwriter Mark Geary popped into the Chatroom to play a few tracks from his forthcoming album, The Fool, before hightailing it over to the tiny Artslot stage deep in the forest. He was worth missing most of the legendary Chaka Khan’s set for. Back in Mindfield, the mighty Cronin knocked the ball out of the park just before Elbow went onstage.
The most gentle of giants, Guy Garvey is a world class frontman and he was in fine form for the Manchester band’s fifth Electric Picnic appearance. Highlight of the set was a stomping ‘Grounds For Divorce’ but, in truth, they owned the crowd throughout.
Electric Picnic headliners Duran Duran closed the weekend with a straight run through their many hits... and a few rather more mutedly received new songs. No problem with their delivery of such classics as ‘Notorious’, ‘Ordinary World’ and ‘Wild Boys’, but there was something a little pat about Simon Le Bon’s onstage banter. “Are you hungry,” he asked at one stage. “Do you want your egg and chips?” This preceded ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’.
They were functional, but hardly inspiring. Still, no matter. It was a suitably nostalgic end to a successful and mostly sunny weekend. Roll on 2018...