Electric Picnic solidified its position as the biggest music festival in the country with an eclectic set of headliners from LCD Soundsystem to Lana Del Ray. Here’s our highlights from day one:
Booka Brass Band
Kicking things off early at the Other Voices stage, Booka Brass Band cram as many instruments and fans into the makeshift church in the middle of the woods as humanly possible. It’s high-octane hijinx from start to finish with performing seemingly water off a duck’s back to the Booka boys. The sheer volume of the people attending threatens the church’s delicate structure at times, with people leaping in and out of windows to get a gawk at the action onstage. Most are happy to boogie outside to their stylish covers of R&B classics Crazy In Love and Shackles, mind. Make an effort to see them at some point on the circuit next year.
Another Other Voices resident, sisters Ellie and Louise created a gorgeous atmosphere in the intimate venue. New single Call Home gets a warm reception, but its unsurprisingly their older tracks that are received with the most fervor. Lions, Tigers and Bears is unexpectedly anthemic, while Remember When is as sweet-sounding as it was before the Irish Tourism Board decided to hijack the tune for a television ad campaign. Heathers’ set is an understated one, but there’s still a definite longing for the brand of pop they produce – and as a result their new material is highly anticipated.
Looking to redeem themselves following a patchy set at the Electric Arena in 2013, the boys are now apparently Main Stage material following the release of their critically-acclaimed second album, ‘i like it when you sleep … ‘. Frontman Matty Healy’s behaviour is as ludicrous as ever – chainsmoking and skulling drinks – but this time he manages to maintain the performance as well as the bravado.
The 1975’s staging for this tour is a spectacle in itself – huge angular lighting fixtures illuminated in glossy palettes, to match the sound of their latest release. She’s American is the best example of the larger-than-life ’80s sound they’ve adopted, closely following by UGH! The set dips at slower moments such as A Change Of Heart, as they don’t suit the atmosphere or the setting. But the band steer it back on course with old-school banger Sex.
Nasty Nas made his return to Irish shores following a headline set at Life Festival a couple of years back. The hip-hop heavyweight’s performance was as blistering as expected, with the unleashing of The Don proving to be a set highlight.
He’s not a one-trick pony, mind – his rework of Sweet Dreams is stunning, and a delight to behold following its debut at Reading & Leeds earlier this month.
You’d wonder why The 1975 are playing before him on the Main Stage, considering just how vast the difference is when it comes to the quality of the output. Nas deserved a higher headlining slot – his experience when it comes to live performances and giving an audience what they want is unrivalled.
The Chemical Brothers
The Chemical Brothers provide a suitably predictable set to the backdrop of some seriously stunning visuals. For casual fans of the duo, it’s certainly not a set that would stand out among a busy weekend, but it brings a certain intensity that electronic acts lack nowadays. Opening with Hey Girl, Hey Boy and climaxing with Swoon, its clear that The Chemical Brothers need to take a break from festival slots and shake things up.
Daft As Punk
Daft As Punk make drawing a crowd at 3am look easy – then again, there’s a reason why they’re Europe’s number one Daft Punk tribute act. The Oxjam tent swells with people as the rain makes an unwelcome appearance. The duo do their best to keep the Zs at bay as they tear out reworkings of One More Time, Aerodynamics and Around The World.
Obviously, this is a Daft Punk tribute act, so you can’t expect anything particularly groundbreaking or innovative from them. But it is an awful lot of fun.