- 19 Aug 19
Clean Bandit were just one of the key attractions at the first iteration of Love Sensation, Dublin’s first full LGBTQ+ festival. Add in a towering performance from Le Galaxie and a surprise appearance by Le Boom, and you’ve got a very fine day’s music to look back on…
Despite some heavy rain and a major headline act pulling out last minute, the second day of the new LGBT+ music festival, Love Sensation, turned out to have good vibes and great music in abundance.
Heading into the venue, the prognosis looked grim. A hugely ominous dark cloud loomed above the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, bringing with it heavy rain that had people racing from the security area to the first festival tent in sight. Thankfully this was the Dance Stage, where Today FM presenter and DJ Kelly-Anne Byrne was unleashing a host of disco and dance tunes, many of which had this reviewer reaching for the Shazam button.
As the rain began to peter out, I wandered over to the main stage where the Mother DJs were delivering a cool blend of classic tracks, including The Communards’ ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ and Chaka Khan’s ‘I Feel For You’, alongside some prime house and electronica cuts.
I spent, the first few hours bouncing between Byrne and the Mother DJs’ sets, as well as the Sing Along Social on the George Stage. The latter attracted the biggest audiences of the day thus far and you could see why. Featuring dancers, and drag queens lip-synching to the likes of ABBA, Britney, Gaga, Kylie, Robyn and the Spice Girls, the craic was certainly ninety. As colourful glitter and confetti hung in the air and fans sang their hearts out, suddenly the rain didn’t seem to matter one bit.
Then a miracle happened. Just as people began to yearn for some live music on the Main Stage, that big dark cloud rolled away, replaced by a golden sun. To paraphrase Dragged Up drag queen Victoria Secret, “if God really hated the gays it would have been pissing down.”
The first band on the main stage were Le Galaxie, whose set consisted mostly of highlights from their terrific album, released in 2018, Pleasure. Already Irish festival giants, the massive hooks and 80’s influenced synths of ‘Can’t Stop’ and ‘Day of the Child’, as well as ‘L.I.E’ – cheekily spliced with a cover of Kylie Minogue’s sensual ‘Slow’ – went down a storm.
It can’t be over emphasised how important the addition of former Fight Like Apes frontwoman MayKay to Le Galaxie has been. Not only do her distinctive vocals bring extra personality to the group’s already infectious house beats, she’s hugely charismatic on stage – at one point pulling fans up to dance along. This was a set to remember.
Next up were Le Boom, the young Dublin electronic duo, featuring Christy Leech and Aimie Mallon. They were late replacements for headliners Gossip who had to bow out after frontwoman Beth Ditto fell on her way to the airport, sustaining a shoulder injury. Beth was advised by doctors not to perform. While it was a shame not to see Gossip on their reunion tour, Le Boom were a worthy replacement. Their set was filled with long, floaty dance builds and cathartic eruptions of sound.
Bringing the festival to a close were dance pop giants Clean Bandit, whose set was essentially a mega sing-along from start to finish. On ‘Rockabye’, ‘Should’ve Known Better’ and ‘Solo’ (they also played a monster cover of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Survivor’), the band highlight the importance of maintaining your inner strength through the hard times,. The theme clearly resonated with the Love Sensation audience: they jumped up and down to the up-tempo tracks while waving their phone torches in the air for the ballads.
Clean Bandit closed their set with smash hit ‘Rather Be’. It was a fitting end to a fine day’s music. Sensational!