Electric Picnic 2013 – Saturday | Review

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Day two then, and not even the previous late night/early morning in Trenchtown, The Salty Dog Stage and The Red Bull rave-up in the woods can stymie the influx of folk to the main arena. That’s not to say an equal number aren’t panned out in the sun in the campsite, but it’s safe to say most are content with where they’ve landed. Our intrepid crew were out and about as early as the night before allowed to report back on Saturday’s musical highlights. Here are some of our favourites…

The Beat

It’s a fine and sunny afternoon as The Beat open the main stage with Whine and Grine in front of an impressive crowd. Main man Rankin’ Roger introduces his son and full-time member Rankin’ Jr for some toasting during Stand Down Margaret, as the two lads flip peace signs and share vocal duties. “We’re gonna keep you dancing now, ‘cos that’s what it’s all about” shouts Roger in advance of the classic Hand’s Off She’s Mine, and the crowd down in front seem well up to the band’s claim. Rock The Casbah goes out to Joe Strummer, Big Shot to the gangsters/bankers, and The Doors Of Your Heart to the ladies – ever the charmer, Roger. The band literally freeze midway through Ranking Full Stop, a welcome breather, before it all kicks off again with Mirror In The Bathroom. Father and son exit, the band speed it up, and Roger returns to lead the crowd in an acapella chorus and a final dance; the perfect start to a festival day in our estimation. JMD

Raglans

Facing a very early Saturday slot, playing the Electric Arena at 1.30pm, Raglans do well to gather quite the crowd for their set, an impressive feat after what was a pretty hectic Friday night. White Lightning is one of the first tunes to light the fire in the crowd, and it shows as even more pile into the tent. Moving through their extremely polished set, other gems such as new track Natives really get the crowd dancing, something this band do best. Finishing up with crowd favourite Digging Holes, these guys really show what they can do in a live show. A rhythmic interlude provides a very solid build up, (complete with enough cowbell to satisfy any Irish heifer) and the guys finish up proving their worth countless times to everyone who makes the great decision of venturing out to catch this early set from one of Ireland’s finest acts. AG

Ocean Colour Scene

Was there ever going to be any other start to a set from Ocean Colour scene than The Riverboat Song? There aren’t going to be any surprises at an OCS gig, granted, but for a blast of nostalgia they’re hard to beat. A selection from Moseley Shoals makes up the bulk of the front end of the set, and it’s clear from word one that they’re phoning this one in. They’re goodtime tunes nonetheless, and there’s certainly no arguing with the crowd response; singing along, dancing, and even the ceaselessly cheesy Profit & Peace seems to get away with its crimes amidst all the goodwill. This Day Should Last Forever is dedicated to “the bird there with the big tits and the beard” while One For The Road is more deferential, played for “a famous Seamus.” Steve Craddock pulls out some impressive psych guitar work on a rowdy Hundred Mile High City, before the inevitable closer of The Day We Caught The Train. The sun appears, the band bow out, and the crowd continue the “Woah-oh-nah-nah” chorus in a bid to bring them back out. No, there are no surprises here to be sure, but we expect them to be back next year. And the next. And the one after that. JMD

The Duckworth Lewis Method

Thank you Electric Picnickers…I said knickers!” says Neil Hannon early on in The Duckworth Lewis Method’s set, summing up what may have been the most fun gig of the weekend. There aren’t a lot of folk around the main stage for their mid-afternoon set – “If you could possibly text your mates to come as well” – but the band are on top, jovial form and their songs about cricket go down an absolute treat. Gentlemen and Players has a touch of Small Faces, while Line & Length nods to Prince in the funkiest tune ever written about cricket. They move effortlessly from comical, conceptual caricatures to something like Out In The Middle, and back full circle as Thomas Walsh pulls off a Bee Gees impression. Songs are punctuated by “What key is this in?” more than once, as if they just show up and pull this stuff out of the hat; that hat is filled with the best parts of a wealth of influences – when Hannon shouts “Support your local cricket club!” at the end, we had almost forgotten how boring a sport it is. JMD

Ellie Goulding

A large crowd has gathered for Ellie Goulding on Saturday afternoon, and the excitement rises as she arrives out on stage. Opening with one of the most annoying performance gimmicks of having her own drum to bang in a non-musical way during the opening, her attempts to look ‘cool’ just fall flat. Fortunately, however, this is the lowest moment of the performance. Starry Eyed gets a big crowd reaction, and Goulding seems to feed off this, becoming  more and more active onstage as she goes on. Your Song slows it down, and provokes a mass sing along, while the big synthy dance track I Need Your Love really gets Goulding into a stride and the crowd get behind her one hundred percent. What began as slightly cringey and average turned into a very credible performance as Goulding leaves behind trying to look like something she’s not and just gives a good pop performance. AG

Palma Violets

A disappointing turn out doesn’t kill Palma Violets spirit, who spread their endless energy through the Cosby Tent at 6:45pm. The foursome win over the crowd with their hit ‘Best of Friends’ early on and by the time drummer Will Doyle has climbed up on to the frame of the stage the young fans are eating out of their hands. An excellent choice of tracks and a crowd surf by Chilli Jesson keeps the audience on their toes. It’s just a shame that after much justified hype the band doesn’t seem to have attracted the crowd they deserve. TH

Billy Bragg

He may be getting on in years, but Billy Bragg has lost none of his fiery attitude. He delivers an emotionally charged set packed with a series of interjections which sees Bragg denouncing the BNP, the lack of gay marriage rights in Ireland and the UK, and the west’s too-late intervention in Syria. All of this is peppered with a wealth of Bragg classics, from his cover of Woody Guthrie’s All You Fascists Are Bound to Lose to A New England and Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards.

But the most ardently passionate moment of Bragg’s show is neither a political address nor the performance of one of his songs, but a tribute to Seamus Heaney. Bragg recites an extract from Heaney’s The Cure at Troy, a translation of a play by Sophocles. The lines “History says, don’t hope/ On this side of the grave./ But then, once in a lifetime/ The longed-for tidal wave/ Of justice can rise up,/ And hope and history rhyme,” speaks of Bragg’s pure admiration for a writer who clearly influenced the way he creates art around difficult political issues. BoR

Clinic

It’s a sparsely populated tent in the Rankin Woods Stage as four men in surgical masks appear, but that soon changes as Clinic begin with the western vibe of I Ching. Drummer Carl Turney comes out from behind his kit to don guitar as the programmed beats take over, returning for the punk rush of Tusk. A spot of blood has appeared on singer Ade Blackburn’s mask but he soldiers on with their first single, I.P.C. Subeditors Dictate Our Youth, continuing the now ruckus-raising set that includes a new one in See Saw – equally grimey withy a faux-Motwon beat and a touch of Adam Ant for good measure. Miss You is slower, motorik number with the drummer again out front as guitars whine, rise and recede through the song’s hypnotic journey. Most recognise The Return of Evil Bill, judging by the reaction, and by the end of this dark, rocking set it’s clear that Clinic’s is one of the unexpected gems of the weekend. JMD

Little Green Cars

For Little Green Cars, opening with some slow tunes may have been a mistake. For one of Ireland’s most favoured indie acts, crowd attentions were really wavering throughout the beginning of their set, with a lot of chat, even by festival standards, beginning to rise up as the guys went on. However, the explosion of energy that was Harper Lee regained a lot of this attention, one of few tracks of their new  album ‘Absolute Zero’ to do so. Perhaps it was the lack on onstage  movement, or just a restless crowd that caused the band to lose grasp of their audience for the slower tunes, but it really took the popular singles such as The John Wayne to keep the audience on the bands side for this set. The good bits were great – the bad bits were boring, but overall they held it together credibly to provide a decent set. AG

John Grant

After an excruciatingly long sound-check, John Grant finally appears on stage 15 minutes late. Grant and his band clearly want everything to sound perfect for the set. Constant signalling to the sound desk during the set is distracting almost the point of annoyance. However, this doesn’t spoil one of the special moments of the weekend as John Grant invites Sinead O’Connor on stage to sing a goosebump-inducing version of Glaciers. The affection and admiration they both clearly have for each other is heart warming; the passion with which the song is delivered leaves tears in the eyes of some and will surely remain in the memory of the healthy crowd inside the Rankin’s Wood Stage tent. Sinead remains on stage to accompany John Grant in singing Queen of Denmark which finishes off a set well worth the wait. CMD

Two Door Cinema Club

Opening with the massive single Sleep Alone, Two Door Cinema Club had the crowd in the palm of their hand from the first tune. Some bands know how to do a live show, and these guys are clearly one of them. Between lights, lasers, and some top quality pop songs, there was lots to love during this set. With a mix of their top singles, with favourites such as Undercover Martin and Sun making an appearance, some interesting new tunes got a debut, with The Changing of the  Seasons one to watch for any fans waiting to hear something new from the lads.  There was lots to enjoy on offer from Two Door, and the crowd were behind them all the way. The epitome of festival pop, they were certain to finish off Saturday at EP 2013 with a bang. AG

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club must feature in the list of highlights from this year’s Electric Picnic for anyone who saw them. The three-piece kick off the 11pm slot in Rankin Wood with the bluesy Hate The Taste, a perfect transition into the engaging set. As the show goes on, mammoth tunes like Aint No Easy Way engulf the full tent. Fans are given a real treat when theatrical bassist Robert Levon Been joins them in the front of the crowd for closing track Spread Your Love, where each band member’s contribution is noted, particularly Shapiro’s delicate yet forceful presence behind the kit. Overall Black Rebel Motorcycle Club really deliver, exceeding the crowd’s expectations and no doubt winning over a few new fans with this spectacular live performance. TH

Electric Picnic 2013 – Saturday Photo Gallery

Photos: Yan Bourke

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