The Flaming Lips bring a colourful Electric Picnic to a triumphant close

Electric Picnic 2009 review

published: Thu 10th Sep 2009

The Flaming Lips

Friday 4th to Sunday 6th September 2009
Stradbally Hall Estate, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Eire, Ireland
adult weekend 240 euros
last updated: Wed 2nd Sep 2009

We kick off Sunday by going to see Texan six piece Okkervil River at the Cosby stage. For the first time this weekend the sound seems to have been sorted out at this stage and Okkervil River take advantage of this by treating their Irish fans to a set which includes tracks from their three beautifully crafted albums – 'These Stage Names', 'The Stand Ins' and 'Black Sheep Boy and Appendix' the tent starts with a small collection of fans but it starts to fill up halfway through the set as people try to avoid the rain, you could see those pleasantly surprised with what they saw.

around the festival site (2)
We went from here to another Americana act in the form of The Acorn, a set made up mostly of tracks from 2008's 'Glory Hope Mountain' album, a concept album about the experiences of lead singer Rolf Klausener's mother and her time growing up in Honduras. A folk act rich in African rhythm, their silly stage banter including the lead guitarist telling the crowd he would like to put us in a deep fat fryer and eat us with cheese curds only implores us to warm to them. They debut a few new tracks and they sound like these tracks could help them breakthrough to the mainstream, certainly one to watch out for in 2010.

Florence And The Machine
Hotly tipped London duo The Big Pink are next on the agenda in the Cosby Stage. Unfortunately what works so well on record doesn't translate well onto the live stage as most of the tunes sound flat and like one big dirge. We leave and catch some of Florence & The Machine at The Electric Arena, the tent is packed and we can only catch a glimpse from the outside as we hear a delightful version of Candi Station's 'I Feel the Love' and standout from their 'Lungs' album 'Cosmic Love'. We catch very little of the set but we caught some of the highlights.

Fleet Foxes are on next so we wait around for them to begin. As the tent packs up they come on stage to a huge roar as hundreds are left outside looking in. They play a set made up of tracks from their self titled LP and Sun Giant EP, a fan of both records this set leaves me feeling a little cold, I'm not sure why as the sound on the stage is fantastic. Maybe a little more stage presence and crowd interaction would have made a difference. I just found them a little dull on this occasion.

I decide to leave early and catch Irish troubadour Fionn Regan in the Crawdaddy stage. One of my favourite folk artists of the last few years, he plays to an appreciative crowd as they respect the quieter moments of the set, mostly made up of tracks from his Mercury Music Prize nominated debut album 'End of History'. He plays a few tracks from his forthcoming album 'Shadow of An Empire' due out around Christmas and it shows a move away from his solo acoustic sound to a more band orientated outfit as he is joined onstage for the new tracks by a six piece band. Overall an enjoyable set, but could have benefitted from a few better known tracks.

Next up were Amadou & Mariam, quite possibly the hidden gem of the whole festival - Mariam Doumbia and Amadou Bagayoko have been making music together for over 30 years. But it was only with 2005's 'Dimanche à Bamako' album that they came to the attention of many European music fans. Their trademark African rhythms along with Manu Chao's production brought a whole new Western dimension to their music. Not only are they more than capable musicians (even though they are blind) they are aided by fantastic backing musicians and singers.

The Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips bring the festival to a triumphant close, their trademark stage show consisting of Wayne Coyne's giant bubble, plenty of confetti and balloons alongside a few lucky fans to dance with on stage. They play a crowd pleasing set with the likes of 'Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots'. 'Do You Realise', 'She Don't Use Jelly' all getting an airing alongside tracks from their forthcoming LP Embryonic. The umpteenth time I've seen them live but they never fail to put on a show.

Once the main stages finish there is still live in this festival yet as there is music in the Body and Soul and a few bits and pieces in the forest as well. We decide to head on up to the rave in the forest to dance the night away at about 5am we decide to retreat to bed to get some much needed sleep before the long journey home in the morning.

I really can't speak highly enough about the festival, there is so much to do as it isn't just about the music but about all arts. Even though I seen lots of acts throughout the weekend, there was plenty of stuff I simply couldn't catch due to the wealth of performances on. Even world renowned authors such as Roddy Doyle and broadcasters such as Jon Snow spoke at the literary tent of the festival. Silent Disco, Poptopia, Arcadia stages all had music on throughout the weekend which I never got the chance to experience. The Body and Soul had everything from Jacuzzis to seaweed baths to help heal the mind and soul. There are a million and one things to do at Electric Picnic every year. It truly is the magical weekend of the year. The Flaming Lips
review by: Paul Mullin

photos by: Andrew McLaughlin

Friday 4th to Sunday 6th September 2009
Stradbally Hall Estate, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Eire, Ireland
adult weekend 240 euros
last updated: Wed 2nd Sep 2009


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