- 02 Jul 23
The first day of Longitude 2023 proved to be a real treat. Check out our recap of what went down as the beats took over Marlay Park!
The opening day of Ireland's premiere urban festival took place in Dublin's Marlay Park, yesterday, July 1.
With sunshine prevailing, flocks of all ages flooded the gates as they opened at 1.30pm, eager to get to the front of both the Main Stage and the Heineken stage, before the music began at 2pm.
Jen Payne and Chantel Kavanagh lit the metaphorical torch, warming-up the crowd with slick hip-hop beats. More and more cowboy hats, sparkly boots, and Coachella-worthy fits hit the grounds in their droves, drawn to the different sets emerging simultaneously from the stages.
Ice Spice may have had a strangely early slot at Longitude Festival's main stage (3pm), but she wasn't holding anything back once she got there. In what we can only assume was her Irish debut (we've trawled the internet trying to find evidence of the Bronx rapper ever setting foot here before, to no avail), the New Yorker was every inch the online sensation as she sashayed onstage.
Her DJ got the crowd suitably warmed up before they kickstarted 'Princess Diana', her hit collaboration with queen of rap Nicki Minaj. "Keep it a stack, bitches move wock 'cause they know I got bands," the crowd chant back to her, screeching with every twerk she throws our way in the tiniest of miniskirts. "They be chattin' I don't give a damn and I'm still gettin' money I know who I am / Tryna be low, he gon' hit up my 'Gram / If he smart he gon' act like a fan. Everyone seems to know the lyrics.
'Gangsta Boo' and 'Actin a Smoochie' showed off the breakout star's mile-a-minute bars, as she smiles at the young crowd filming her every move on their iPhones. "A baddie gon' get what she like," she declares, leading into her collaboration with PinkPantheress, 'Boys a Liar (Pt.2)', another viral smash.
After the reception she received, we should hope to see another Irish Ice Spice performance soon!
Over at the Heineken stage, fans piled in excitedly to see Jazzy start her highly-anticipated set. The Dublin-based newcomer was the second to play the Heineken Stage, but she quickly had the incoming crowd's full attention.
Interacting effortlessly with the audience, Jazzy seemed at home on the big stage. With her vocals and DJ skills only ever improving, an expressive edge is becoming increasingly prevalent in her performances. Having garnered worldwide acclaim and critical success as the voice on Belters Only's classics, 'Make Me Feel Good' and 'Don't Stop Just Yet', Jazzy is on a rapid escalator to stardom. Which, of course, was confirmed with her own solo Irish No.1 (and UK top 3 hit) 'Giving Me' (more of which later).
Blending the club hits that made her name with emotive, slower songs, it’s clear the artist has an exciting future ahead. A particular highlight was a remix of Estelle's 'American Boy', wherein Kanye West's iconic lines are turned into a club classic with heavy, hypnotic beats throughout.
Jazzy's energy was hypnotic, with regular short breaks from the decks allowing her to express herself through dance. Balloons emerged from the crowd, and hypnotic, kaleidoscopic shapes were thrown up on the screens behind her, keeping the crowd visually enticed. It was a fine performance that can only have added to the growing Jazzy legend.
As she wrapped up her set, across the park 25-year-old London artist, Raye, strutted out onto the main stage. "I say it in interviews all the time, and you can check this, but Dublin always has the best crowds," the singer told the young audience.
Raye was ready to have fun during her 4pm slot, using her 45 minutes to mingle in dance bangers from when she was signed with Polydor Records (who withheld her debut album) and more jazz-infused, soul ballads from her newfound independent career. Her warmth on stage is palpable, mirrored by her phenomenal band – with a world class bassist (Liv), keyboardist and drummer by her side. The attire (Shein chic) worn by virtually every audience member notwithstanding, the brass section and chorus of vocalists looked super-glamorous in white dinner suits.
Opening with 'Oscar Winning Tears' before thrashing out 'The Thrill Is Gone', her voice is every inch that of a pop star with am added bonus of jazz club energy about her. Raye's crowd interaction is also second to none, constantly telling them little stories between tracks and even asking them to vote on one number. They vote for the more rock-driven 'Environmental Anxiety', which suits the age range of the crowd perfectly.
Her positive attitude, vocal gifts and dedication to her fanbase make us wonder why she isn't nabbing headliner sets yet. Having opened impressively for SZA in the 3Arena a few weeks ago, the feeling that her time to sell out big venues on her own behalf will surely come is underlined.
Next up we had the Irish dance duo, Belters Only, doing their name justice with the most high-energy sets of Longitude Festival so far, delivering anthem after anthem to a packed crowd of die hard electronic fans.
Their remix of Gloria Gaynor's 1978 hit 'I Will Survive' went down a treat. The 2022 smash was one of the spring-boards to the Belters Only takeover since 2021. And for good reason. The track maintains all the best elements of the '70s single with contemporary dance flourishes and an infectious beat added for good measure. 'My Mind', another track from this year, blared out across the Marlay Park field, and was received with rapturous affection by the fans.
Towards the end of their set, they broight out special guest Jazzy to perform her Irish No.1 hit single 'Giving Me', which was produced by Bissett. Belters Only's powerful, epic remix of 'The Weekend' by Michael Gray rounded out a brilliant set in playful, fun-filled style. Calvin Harris may well have been feeling threatened by their full-on energy...
Both Anne-Marie and DJ Fionn Curran launched their sets at 6.15pm.
Curran, of course, is one of Ireland's fastest-rising DJs and producers – and you could see why. The DJ delivered some energetic crowd-pleasers for an audience that's clearly in thrall to techno and bass-heavy sounds. Playing to a packed-out festival tent, the performance was a winner all the way, as Curran spun his DJ magic with club remixes of a series of pop classics.
In effect, Curran turned the Heineken stage into a pop-up club, his commanding stage presence leading an army to join together with fist bumps.
Curran has the unfailing optimism and magnetism of a person who’s a little too self-aware to be an out-and-out pop star. Instead, he's taking cues from bass music past and present, from jungle to garage and beyond. Delivering some electric energy, the young DJ succeeded in giving Longitude listeners a fresh blast of energy: just what they needed to prepare them for the stellar evening line-up.
Over on the main stage, British pop princess, Anne-Marie brought her signature form of energetic pop to an eagerly hyped crowd. Surprisingly, she emerged on stage to a somewhat orchestral instrumental. Quickly this soundtrack turned into hit after hit, giving the crowd the tracks they know and love.
Dressed in a sparkly, polka-dotted mini-dress, the singer showed off her recently debuted dark mane – a striking difference to her usual ice blonde gruaig.
Her first track done, the musician greeted the crowd with a typical Anne-Marie show of gratitude. The singer was met with a fantastic roar of support, demonstrating why she loves Irish crowds.
Performing hits like 'Ciao, Adios', 'Roackabye', '2002', and 'Our Song' – unfortunately Irish heart-throb Niall Horan couldn't make it! – the singer wowed the audience brilliantly, delivering one of the top performances of Longitude's opening day.
With many more appearances already lined up for the pop princess on Irish soil, we're excited to see her at both Indiependence and on her UNHEALTHY tour in November – all of that after the release of her third album on July 28.
Shortly after the singer-songwriter wrapped up, American DJ, MK, took over the stage.
2023 has seen the DJ and producer release a huge number of tracks so, it was no surprise that the young crowd were crazily enthused as his opening light show began. And what a fantastic visual introduction it was!
Fans went wild for the strobe lights, pyrotechnics and visual trickery taking place on the stage and screens, while MK steadily built up a solid beat. The audience reception was phenomenal, with glitter-covered bodies running to the main stage as the lights went wild from the opening beat-drop.
Heavy bass was prevalent throughout, along with equally heavy visuals, enticing the crowd to really listen to the DJ's incredible breakdowns. The musician turned his attention to Irish talent, popping on a remix of a Jazzy track. "Everyone loves Jazzy," one of the Hot Press team pointed out – and you can certainly tell why.
As he wrapped up his set, it became more and more obvious why MK has been in the business for well over 30 years: a superb talent, he picks exactly the right tracks to match the crowd.
Finally, 8.45pm brought the day's most eagerly anticipated act to the stage. Scottish DJ, Calvin Harris, launched into his set – dazzling the crowd with a series of strobe lights, lasers, and a smoke show.
Bodies jumped and fists pumped as Harris reeled through his chart smashes, including 'Blame', 'Need Your Love', 'This Is What You Came For', 'Giants', 'Sweet Nothing', and more.
The crowd seemed to know nearly every single word to tracks in the almost two hour long set, chanting along to each one without missing a beat. Even members of security got a dance in while keeping the festival-goers safe, making it obvious that Mr Harris appeals to just about every age-category.
Sneaky covers like 'Seven Nation Army' added to the fun and games, as the DJ worked like a demon to put his best foot forward.
As the sun set on the first day of Longitude 2023, it's safe to say that both fans and our team alike were already buzzing with anticipation, with incredible headliners like Travis Scott, Joel Corry, Lil Uzi Vert, and loads more making their way to the Marlay Park grounds on Suday.
Keep checking in with Hot Press to catch more coverage for the duration of Longitude 2023!
- Lifestyle & Sports
- 29 Feb 24