Like the first day, the second day of the festival had a bit of a strange line-up. When you have the likes of Rejjie Snow, Stormzy, A$AP Ferg and Run The Jewels on the bill, it’s bizarre that a hip-hop act didn’t headline. Nonetheless, it was certainly an eventful day, which had its fair share of highlights.
Pleasure Beach play to an abysmally thin crowd, one which doesn’t even slightly reflect their immense talent. To add insult injury, the majority of the crowd spend the gig sitting on the ground of the Whelan’s tent.
“This is not a sitting down song”, they plead jokingly with the crowd, and some comply by throwing shapes to new single Magic Mountain.
‘Dream pop’ sounds like a made-up description used by lazy reviewers, but its the only adequate term to describe Pleasure Beach’s output. It’s intense candy-coloured melodies paired with relaxed vocals. The synths are swampy and rich – perfect for easy summer listening.
The outlook on the band’s future is as bright as their music – if only people could get their arse into festivals earlier and check out what else is on offer beyond the headliners. Better still, when they’re there, they could also show a little bit more respect. FJ
BARQ kicked off proceedings at the Heineken arena on a Saturday with a seriously impressive range of tunes.
A band beyond labels of genre or style, the tracks are boundless in terms of experimentation, instrumentation and energy. There is a certain fluidity to their repertoire, tracks slinking into one another with ease. That Thing You Like could feature in an indie-horror movie, with Jess Kav’s sinister vocals and snappy percussion and keys soundtracking the romp.
Gentle Kind Of Lies, while more easily defined and identified thanks to Kav’s soulful vocals, but it’s the unusual, dark arrangements that make what BARQ do so unique.
BARQ are an absolute must-see as they continue to frequent the festival scene. FJ
Another set greeted overwhelmingly by drunk youths is Frances’ one in the Heineken arena. There are frequent, loud comparisons to Adele, made obnoxiously over her delicate piano playing. She deals with the occasional heckle, which mainly consist of offers of pints, all of which she politely declines.
This is Frances’ first time playing in Ireland, and its a performance she’s unlikely to forget. Her soulful voice is stunning, and will undoubtedly set charts alight with the right production behind her. This is where her set primarily falters – ultimately she doesn’t have a huge back-catalogue to perform at Longitude, nor is she established enough to boast a huge amount of staging. It’s a bit of a stifling set – just her and her piano competing with gig-goers.
Her rendition of Borrowed Time, produced by Disclosure overlord Howard Lawrence is sweet, but is desperately lacking his producer magic in a live setting. A later stage time and more percussion can be the difference between an okay set and a good set. FJ
It is satisfying beyond words to see a band like Wyvern Lingo play the main stage at Longitude. Not only is there work ethic incomparable, their talent as musicians is immeasurable. They’ve been slogging away on material and the festival circuit for the best part of two years, so it’s a natural progression for the girls.
Some of the songs are delivered slightly amiss – Treasure Island‘s gorgeous vocal scales are more restrained then usual. The same applies to Subside – perhaps their grueling schedule is catching up them.
Nevertheless, it’s still a hugely fun set, warmly received by a middling crowd early Saturday afternoon. FJ
It felt like a real homecoming for Rejjie Snow on Saturday. After living in London for the past number of years and generally just doing a lot of globetrotting, Rejjie Snow was back on home soil.
Like much of the weekend, the crowd was certainly of the younger variety, but they were all fully aware of who the hometown native was. It did take a bit of time though for the audience to become fully engaged, as some of his earlier cuts might not have been as familiar to them.
All Around The World was clearly a bit more familiar to their ears, as the crowd came to life during the song. The DJ made sure that the energy levels never dropped, as he kept encouraging the audience. Blakkst Skn ratcheted things up to another level as a rambunctious crowd had an absolute blast at the Heineken stage. KF
Simply put, Stormzy stole the show on the main stage on Saturday afternoon. Before he even came to the stage, the crowd were amped up for his performance. The DJ started things off on his own as Stormzy was nowhere to be seen. When he did eventually burst out onto the stage, he was greeted like a king.
Stormzy clearly didn’t know what to expect from the gig and plenty of times he said he was just blown away by the reaction of the Irish audience. Sometimes a great crowd makes a great gig and this was certainly the case, but he fed off it too. The likes of Standard and One Take Freestyle showed his ability to capture the cultural zeitgeist with hashtags and WhatsApp messages.
The undoubted highlight of the set however was Shut Up, as for a moment Marlay Park felt like the grime capital of the world. He certainly won’t hesitate coming back here next time, as it’s already clear that he has legions of fans on this isle. KF
Run The Jewels
El-P and Killer Mike really are one hell of a pairing, there’s just something about them as a duo that makes them captivating to watch. In terms of their delivery both of them are brash, loud and in your face.
Their music also shares these same characteristics, as the crowd were bombarded by abrasive synths and distorted drums. Some of the stand out tracks from the set included the likes of Angel Duster and Lie, Cheat, Steal from ‘Run The Jewels 2’.
It wasn’t all bravado from them however and they do know how to have fun on stage as well. El-P got the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to his girlfriend during the set, which was a nice break from their bad boy persona. In the end, though Run The Jewels aren’t afraid of ruffling a few feathers to get their message across. KF
The best thing we can say about Major Lazer is that they put on one hell of a show on Saturday night. Most of it though was down to the pyrotechnics, the dancers and the lights show instead of the music itself. Diplo and Jillionare are certainly veteran DJs at this stage in their career, but at times it felt like the show was a vanity project rather than a true collaboration.
Walshy Fire, the group’s MC, certainly had great stage presence and added another dimension to the group. He stopped them from looking like just another DJ group and really engaged with the crowd. The things that stand out are more the moments onstage than any songs themselves. Half way through Diplo got inside a giant hamster balls and went out into the crowd, but again it was just another distraction.
In terms of the music, they played snippets of popular songs only to ruin them with horrible dubstep remixes. Just as the crowd got excited that they played Work from Rihanna or Where Are U Now from Justin Bieber, they were deflated as another remix ruined the song.
After this had happened a number of times the crowd started to become disinterested and do you blame them? When it comes down to it, Major Lazer got caught up in the headlights instead of getting caught up in the music. KF