Forbidden Fruit is, for many, the first foray into festival season as the long winter months are frantically archived to mere Instagram memories. So the May bank holiday comes upon us with much anticipation and excitement as festival season truly kicks into gear.
However, in the few days leading up to FF, we were met with much news and speculation of “wash outs” and “heavy downpours” that truly did challenge our notions of anticipation and excitement.
But alas, thank Christ and the litle sun-Gods, we were spared (mostly) from the treacherous weather forecasts and instead, like any Irish person; we charged forward, put on a rain coat, threw on our shit shoes and said “fuck it”, “let’s be having ya”.
At a festival which dealt us legacy acts such as Fatboy Slim and Wu-Tang Clan, it was Mount Kimbie, Jamie XX and Run the Jewels who truly stole the show.
We sent some of our writers to FF to report back on some of the standout moments – all in bite-size portions – just for your reading pleasure.
Launching into a pulsating rendition of 2014 single, Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat to the backdrop of kaleidoscopic animations, Norman Cook’s signal of intent was clear. An hour and a half of hastily put together, deep house-heavy hysteria would follow – diluted only by the call and response of recent top 40 hits including Uptown Funk, Bang That and a bizzare Samba-football chant; a technique more commonly used by less intelligent and imaginative resident DJ’s than the ‘world’s greatest’.
Nevertheless, Fatboy Slim’s showmanship and vigour could not be faulted, the DJ single-handedly turning Kilmainham into the biggest rave on the planet and even going so far as offering up his wedding ring to a loved-up punter proposing to his girlfriend near the stage.
But how euphoric it would’ve been to have come up on the hits (Praise You, Right Here, Right Now et al not to mention the plethora of legendary remixes to his name) than be teased their punchlines amidst a sludge of non-differentiable house cuts.
Nearly 20 years of playing these tunes may have bored the Brighton superstar but in an age in which David Guetta and Martin Garrix frequent the charts, it would’ve been refreshing to be able to hark back to the golden age of EDM and see him stay closer to his roots. Less Funk Soul Brother, more bandwagon-hopping sell-out on this occasion. (AM)
Fatboy Slim’s eclectic oeuvre allows ravers of all walks of life to unite on one egalitarian dancefloor. This feat was instead taken by Mount Kimbie this weekend on the Undergrowth Stage. The ambient melodramatic melodies of Home Recording and You Took Your Time and the high-octane ruckus of Danny Brown-featuring Dip proving particular highlights.
Indie kids, EDM junkies and hip-hopaphiles alike would lose their shit during one delectable set which climaxed far later than it was entitled to with the euphoric outro of Made to Stray, a contender for moment of the festival. (AM)
Given the recent implications on Twitter by Tyler, the Creator that Odd Future are officially over (“although its no more, those 7 letters are forever”, he wrote last week) we may have anticipated that it would have been somehow poignant catching 21-year-old Earl Sweatshirt in the rainy depths of Forbidden Fruit.
Taking the set as a whole, though, we might instead concede that Earl’s set did not seek to inspire much in the way of nostalgia, with little reference to his early work – slow-burner Hive, from his 2013 debut solo album ‘Doris’, was a rare standout on this front.
Predominantly, the youthful LA-based rapper seemingly focused on the future, performing an array of promising newer material from his latest LP including tracks like the impressive, achingly dark Grief. It is overall an enticing, often somehow endearing performance; however, Earl is seemingly content to not engage that much with the hefty festival crowd. Also, some OFWGKTA clarification would have been sound. (TJ)
There was a time back in 2012 when Joey Bada$$ appeared on the same MTV show as Odd Future. Predominantly, the group all threw mock-insults in the Brooklyn rapper’s direction, with Earl Sweatshirt at the very least admitting, “You can rap”. It is funny, then, three years later, to see Joey now taking to the stage after Earl, but it is quickly apparent what has merited this order in the line-up.
In mere seconds after arriving on stage, Joey Bada$$ manages an incredible command over the burgeoning crowd, getting the masses chanting along with the likes of Big Dusty. The young MC storms through the likes of Waves and somehow manages to procure a moment of respectful silence from his audience in memory of Capital Steez ahead of Survival Tactics, a track which originally featured the late rapper.
This is all before somehow provoking a ridiculously intense moshpit which manages, somewhat amusingly, to swallow up the security guard during Christ Conscious. An inspiring, energising set to say the least. (TJ)
Given the recent release of his impressive album ‘In Colour’, the anticipation surrounding Jamie xx’s headline set on the Lighthouse Stage is quite something. Packing in during the Mount Kimbie set before, the crowds are suitably buzzed when the xx member gets behind the decks, and there is no doubt the set is entertaining.
When he’s good, he’s spectacular, and tracks like the woozy Sleep Sound, the euphoric, grimey Gosh and his closer of astoundingly hypnotic, swirly Girl end up making his performance, along with the intermittent charges of funk throughout.
But there are weaker moments that perhaps highlight a lack of cohesion in what he’s trying to do musically, and at times there are lulls (if it’s never quite dull). He teases in tastes of each song with some impressive mixing, but it is arguably this teasing that is ultimately reductive – whilst sometimes tantalising, it can sometimes be a bit frustrating that he doesn’t get to the main punches of his tracks, like that glorious steel drum refrain on the fantastic Far Nearer – hinted at, but only once actually played.
It is without doubt a fun set, but perhaps not as exciting as it could have been, particularly with the absence of his new summer belter I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times). (TJ)
Run the Jewels
Before we go on, we need to get one thing straight. Run the Jewels are the best act in the world right now. And this was backed up on Sunday evening, closing the Undergrowth Stage. Not in one hip-hop set has a crowd been waving their arms from side-to-side one minute to turning the tent into the biggest moshpit it had ever seen another.
See, RTJ contain all the conventions of any great pop band – the call to arms (Run the Jewels), singable choruses (36, Chain, Love Again), balladry (A”), the self-effacing outro (Angel Duster). But Killer Mike and El-P aren’t any pop band.
Lyrically, they’re the most intelligent there is; their wordplay on race relations and corruption summed up in the gun-fist emblem that graces their covers having far greater a reach than solely their home country. And they remove themselves from the lazy virile posturing that frequents the milieu, with El-P openly ridiculing misogyny on Love Again.
Production- wise, there hasn’t been something this innovative in a long, long time – the DJ fully capitalising on the bounds of technology, bringing cartoonish beats reflective of the aesthetic laying behind them and even incorporating piano on exhilarating encore (something they’ve never done before), Angel Duster. But above all else, RTJ are the most fun thing since GTA 5, the duo’s interplay electrifying, genuine and even at times self-deprecating (they open with Queen’s We are the Champions), their interaction absorbing.
But RTJ are the champions in every sense of the matter. It’s testament to the pair when upon eventually departing after Angel Duster, beyond the drug-induced zombification of the crowd, a rapturous sea of salutes and chants of “RTJ, RTJ” would stand so tall. Wu-Tang, take note. (AM)