Electric Picnic on Saturday offers a great day of music

Electric Picnic 2011 review

published: Wed 7th Sep 2011

Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th September 2011
Stradbally Hall Estate, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Eire, Ireland
240 euros
last updated: Thu 25th Aug 2011

The first order of business on Saturday morning is finding the showers, showering at a music festival cannot be praised enough for its powers of restoration after the long night before. So once we get that out of the way, it's time to delve into a long day of music and it proves to be one of the best days of music I've ever heard.

We start off Saturday's festivities at the Crawdaddy stage with I Am Kloot, the Manchester three piece come to Ireland with a few more in their travelling party on their final festival performance after a long summer of gigging. Thankfully they're in fine form and have a decent crowd into see them, I must admit to being unfamiliar with most of their output but it's an assured performance which will definitely see me delve into their back catalogue.

We linger outside the Crawdaddy stage until the next act come on, that next act being the punk outfit The Undertones, a band from my hometown and it seems strange that I've never went to see them before, even though I've had the opportunity umpteen times, and they prove to be formidable live. Even though they are without their original singer, they have a fine replacement in Paul McLoone who delivers as camp and entertaining a front man performance as you'll see. They fire through their back catalogue – 'My Perfect Cousin', 'Here Comes The Summer', 'Jimmy Jimmy' and of course 'Teenage Kicks' a set which sees plenty of hits and plenty of smiles.

Our next port of call is to see John Grant, it's been a strange career for John Grant after moderate success with his band The Czars, they decided to call it quits a few years ago and Grant himself took a few years off music. So with his first solo album Queen Of Denmark its proved to be a massive change of fortune, it was Mojo's album of the year in 2010 and has achieved something of cult status. As the crowd shows for tonight's performance, it seems to be made of diehard fans and Grant himself seems very humbled by the occasion and makes a point of thanking us continually through the set. He kicks off with 'Sigourney Weaver' and it's one of those performances were you quickly become aware that you're witnessing something a bit special, an artist who does have it all, lyrically profound at times and with a voice to match. Tracks like 'I Wanna Go To Mars' and 'Where Dreams Go To Die' ensure the hairs stand on the back of my neck the entire time. It also contained the weekend's most poignant moment; a girl who would have been around eight or nine was with her Father at the gig and the two of them sung along with every word in unison with Grant, a reminder of how special this festival really is and extra cool points for being a John Grant fan at such a young age.

It's a hard act to follow but London noise merchants Yuck make a pretty good stab at it, their scuzzy rock styling is geared up for a good show and they basically play their self titled breakthrough LP to their fans delight at the Cosby Stage, there is an effortless ease with this performance that looks at times like they are barely trying, but they manage to make an already superb album sound even better live.'The Wall', 'Get Away' and 'Holing Out' providing the gigs more mosh friendly moments while the slower numbers like 'Suicide Policeman' seen the crowd in more sing a long form. A tremendous performance with a special mention to Yuck's Max Bloom for some of the weekend's finest guitar licks and their bassist Mariko Doi for being the coolest woman to pick up a bass since Kim Deal.

Lykke Li was one of the highlights of Electric Picnic 2009 and she's been bumped up to a main stage slot for this year's one. Just like she did in the Crawdaddy stage in 2009, she takes to the main stage like a duck to water. Along with her band they dress all in black like they did in 2009, it seems more appropriate this year, as her newest album Wounded Rhymes sees the Swedish songstress tackle darker more adult themes. 'Get Some' with its big band feel to it, sounds perfect on the main stage as does the grandiose 'Sadness Is A Blessing' while older tracks like 'Little Bit' sit well alongside it in an accomplished set.

It's been a pretty great day musically at this stage and to be honest it would suffice it this was my lot for the day, but it's not even the half of it as the performance of the day is up next in the form of Arcade Fire. They've a pretty special relationship with Electric Picnic and Win Butler mentions it on stage when he says their gig at Electric Picnic in 2005 changed their lives and they've comeback in 2011 as a thank you.

This is a relatively small gig for Arcade Fire now, so it's pretty impressive to see them at a boutique festival and it's been reported that concessions were made by the band to play this year and they were happy to do so. A lot has changed since 2005, they were little known then and are one of the biggest acts in the world now and have three albums worth of material to treat us too, which they play with big grinning faces on them. It's hard to pick out highlights when a set is pretty much perfect from start to finish 'Laika' and 'Ready to Start' kick us off in fine form in a set which never dips in quality. An encore to behold in 'Power Out (Rebellion)' providing plenty of air punching, sing a longs and general merriment. If that's not enough they finish off in style with Regine treating us to one of the many Suburbs highlights in 'Sprawl II', Win Butler says he never thought this gig would be able to recreate the atmosphere of 2005 but he says that somehow he thinks it has, so do we.

As is the custom with Electric Picnic there is always a big dance act to finish off the Saturday night proceedings in the main stage, this year they've got The Chemical Brother's and although they always put in a fine festival set there is a different type of electronic act in the Little Big Tent that we think is even better to check out. That act being Flying Lotus, a perfect dance set for this time of night, an emphasis on bass which sees FlyLo go through all manner of hip hop, soul, funk and dubstep. Amongst the highlights include his own reworking of Radiohead's 'Idioteque' the Mr Oizo remix of FlyLo's own Stunt track and finishing off with The Rolling Stones 'Paint It Black' before disappearing through the crowd.

We're of the thinking at this stage that no matter what we see tonight it's pretty much going to be ace, as it's been all day, so we nip into the Body and Soul area again and come across Paddy Keenan playing the main stage in there, it's a pretty unique act to see, what can be described as Alternative traditional Irish music, it sees a host of musicians that seem to be at the top of their game, not least of all Keenan who is almost mesmerising in his playing of his Uilleann Pipe and one which draws a huge crowd to the Body and Soul arena.

We decide to finish our night off in the Body and Soul as the Mercury Music Prize nominated Ghostpoet is next up, we catch some bad news that a member of his travelling party has been injured and so we'll not get a Ghostpoet live set tonight, we do however get a Ghostpoet djset which ends up being pretty eclectic and contains just the right vibes to conclude another fine day at the Picnic.
review by: Paul Mullin

Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th September 2011
Stradbally Hall Estate, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Eire, Ireland
240 euros
last updated: Thu 25th Aug 2011


latest on this festival

Electric Picnic 2017
photo galleries
last updated: Mon 25th Sep 2017
Electric Picnic 2018
festival details
last updated: Fri 8th Sep 2017
Electric Picnic 2017
festival details
last updated: Fri 18th Aug 2017
Electric Picnic 2017
line-ups & rumours
last updated: Fri 18th Aug 2017