- 03 Jun 18
As the gates open at 2pm at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, grey skies drape over the site of this years’ Forbidden Fruit festival. The clouds may be ominous, but festival goers are by no means deterred flooding in all afternoon.
Dublin natives Tanjier help kick things off early at the Undergrowth Stage. Despite playing to a small crowd, Tanjier’s energy sets the mood for the rest of the day. “We know it’s a bit early but thanks for coming to see us,” their lead singer says. “I see a few festivals heads are here already,” he adds, as they break into their latest release ‘Yu’ filling the tent with heavenly harmonies and pounding keys and guitar.
Next up are the hard-rock dance amalgamation that is Hookworms. Making noise was at the top of the agenda for these guys: they immediately got the whole tent moving with ‘Negative Space’. Expertly blending 80s’ electronic dance with distorted guitars – complete with ear piercing feedback – Hookworms barely have to interact with their audience as their hypnotic riffs effortlessly draw ever-bigger numbers to the tent throughout their 45 minutes on stage.
Attendees who took the risk of heading out early despite the weather warnings were about to be rewarded. A few hours into the festival the sun emerges and feels like it's here to stay. Forbidden Fruit’s decision to book a litany of Irish acts for their first day pays off too, as Loah graces the MainStage, bringing her superb, unique blend of funk and pop to the occasion. The crowd, sitting on the hill, soak up the rays of sunshine and the groovy beats.
The Irish talent doesn't stop there, as bad and bold Dublin grime group Mango and Mathman take to the Undergrowth stage where they are met with a full tent, the energy akin to that of a midnight rave. Combining gritty inner-city slang filled lyrics with Prodigy-esque beats provided by MathMan, rapper Mango rouses the fans, praising the recent repeal the 8th movement – at one point dedicating a song to “all the girls worked their arse off for the 8th”.
Before onlookers have a chance to catch their breath, London grime up and comer Novelist takes to the stage. While the crowd depletes slightly, Novelist’s fierce performance keeps the atmosphere as chaotic and upbeat as it had been for his predecessors. Things reach boiling point when the London rapper engages the crowd by teaching them the lyircs “dot, dot, dot”, which are repeated back to him with such ferocity it warrants some ecstatic leaps from the man himself on stage.
As the evening approaches our next stop is the Bulmer’s Live stage which plays host to 100% Irish artists. Pop powerhouse AE Mak treat the crowd to some alternative yet more than welcome variations on their hits ‘I Walk’ and ‘I Can Feel It In My Bones’. Despite slowing the original pace of some of their songs, and losing a vocalist a few months prior, AE Mak still inject some extra vigour into proceedings, just in time for the approaching evening.
With the sun still in full force, the evening sees us venturing over to the Original Stage where the crowds have accumulated in their thousands to catch English synth-rockers Glass Animals. Sporting ‘60s style baseball shirt and thick nerdy glasses, singer Dave Bayley belies his appearance as he leaps onto stage and dives straight into ‘Life Itself’, the first track from their second album. Bayley manages to bring out the best in the crowd who sing every lyric word for word durng performances of ‘Other Side of Paradise’ and ‘Agnes’. Bayley descends to the front of the crowd at one stage, standing on the barrier and pointing the microphone down at his beloved following, who sing the song back to him.
As darkness descends, it’s time for the main event as French electronic icons Justice take to the stage to bring some light to the festival. Within seconds of starting their set the sea of people pulsates together, grooving from side to side. Stacked behind the duo are two walls of Marshall amps which provide both sordid distorted electronic hooks as well as a blazing lightshow to rival that of a Daft Punk arena show. No strangers to the festival circuit, Justice tease the eager crowd with hints of their hit DANCE at the beginning of their set. With Justice, no 2 performances are the same – and this time around they up the funk with ‘Safe and Sound’ and ‘Stop’, before slipping into more familiar territory, with heart racing renditions of ‘Phantom’ and ‘Waters of Nazareth’ closing the night with the same energy that had infused the site all day.