- 21 Sep 07
The Irish summer festival season may be over, but that didn’t stop us jetting off to Reading to chat to Dublin heroes Republic Of Loose.
They’re only a couple of hundred miles apart, but while Ireland is covered in a country-wide sheet of raincloud, it’s positively scorching at the Reading Festival.
It’s just as well, because having only just got rid of the mud on her boots from Oxegen, the last thing your reporter needs is another weekend flailing around in mud. Especially with the amount of world class acts playing.
Strangely enough, the headliners – Razorlight, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Smashing Pumpkins – are the biggest let-downs. When did headliners stop putting effort into their set?
It’s up to the young ‘uns to make the airfare worthwhile, and that’s left in more than capable hands. Kate Nash proves to be a much bigger draw than expected, as her audience is more than double that of the tent size (all good until the masses depart, leaving poor Charlotte Hatherley with a crowd that’s thin in comparison). The overspill is similar for Klaxons, who play before their Mercury Music Prize win.
Irish acts are well-represented too. Ash play an energetic greatest hits show; Kharma 45 pull a decent crowd despite the early hour they’re on; Director use the occasion to road-test some promising new songs. And, stuck in the middle of the traditional rock day, are Republic Of Loose.
Battling a noise war with The Used on the main stage (The Used win), the Dubliners have 40 minutes to make the most of the opportunity to convert another mass of Brits, having last chipped away at the stone in June and July when they played a number of headline dates and festivals, including Glastonbury and Guilfest.
Sitting backstage with a couple of chilled beers after their well-received show, bassist Ben and frontman Mick Pyro contemplate the UK quandry.
“The last tour was just to rev up a little interest again because we hadn’t been here in a couple of years,” Ben begins. “And we’re getting a good vibe on the album (Aaagh!). We were picked up a little by radio, and Jo Whiley used ‘Comeback Girl’ as a soundtrack. And the Guardian gave us a good review.”
Indeed, the UK’s premier paper commented that: “We know we’ve gone overboard on a lot of new bands lately, but RoL are seriously worth checking out”.
The grand plan is to release the album on October 15, preceded by the party-tastic tune ‘Break’ at the start of the month.
Mick explains: “We’re supporting Alabama 3 and then heading out on our own before the end of the year.”
Are they confident there’s a market for their sound?
“There’s definitely more scope than there was a few years ago,” affirms Mick. “There’s an upturn in acts similar to us, like Amy Winehouse and Prince. And we’re working with a good team, like Universal distribution. But we’re not overly worried about it. We can only try – you can’t force a band onto people. Plus we’ve already written the new album which is fifty times better than anything we’ve done before. It’s completely on another level.”
With a promise of an Irish release for it in 2008, they head to enjoy more of the festival, though they’re still feeling delicate from last night’s activities.
”We had a little wander around the site last night,” explains Ben. “Some members got involved in a very strange dance-off at the guest bar.”
Mick laughs as he recalls: “I was just a witness. I watched [keyboardist] Decco do some rather fine traditional Irish dancing though.”
Full of hidden talents, they are.