- 03 Sep 23
Undoubtedly a homecoming for one of the biggest Irish rock bands of recent years, they ripped through a familiar setlist that had the entire crowd screaming along to every word.
One of the last big gigs of the night, Dublin-based Inhaler took to the stage as the Stradbally sun began to set on the second day of one of the nicest weekends Ireland has seen all summer.
Inhaler played Electric Picnic four years ago in Rankin’s Wood tent, an event that was clearly at the front of the members’ minds as Hewson reminded the exultant crowd. “This is bigger than that.”
A bigger stage was absolutely necessary this time for the rock band, as its relentless rock filled every nook and cranny of the Electric Arena. With both their 2021 debut album It Won’t Always Be Like This and recent 2023 record Cuts and Bruises peaking at number one on the Irish charts, the Electric Picnic crowd welcomed them home with open arms.
And a homecoming it was: frontman Elijah Hewson interacted with the masses as if he was greeting an old school friend. “So all is well with you?”
They’re a good old-fashioned four-piece rock band, and Hewson is the picture of a rocker: white undershirt, black leather jacket, messy black hair and killer bone structure had boys and girls alike shrieking his name. “DO YOU WANT A WIFE?” was boldly inquired by a sign written on the back of a broken down beer box, seemly directed equally at each member of the band (Mission successful, Hewson mimed for her to call him).
Bassist Robert Keating’s guitar hung low on his frame, he and guitarist Josh Jenkinson both cool as cucumbers as they shredded their way through a setlist bursting with energy. Ryan McMahon kept a tempo that had people’s feet high off the ground, and not a single moment was wasted.
‘Dublin In Ecstacy’ to such a Dublin-heavy crowd nearly lifted the roof off of the place. During ‘Love Will Get You There’, it was loud enough that it wouldn’t have surprised me if every single person there had been screaming the words.
The sky now completely dark beyond the confines of the tent, they ended with their biggest hit ‘My Honest Face’, which was a true crowd-pleaser, girls on shoulders waving their arms above their heads to the beat: “Darling, I just can’t find my honest face!”
“It’s all you,” Hewson kept telling the crowd after almost every song, a humble notion that absolutely rang true as Stradbally relentlessly screamed their name.
Stay tuned for more live reports, photos and all things Electric Picnic, live from Stradbally.