an epic set by The National is the highlight of Sunday at Electric Picnic

Electric Picnic 2010 review

published: Thu 9th Sep 2010

The National

Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th September 2010
Stradbally Hall Estate, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Eire, Ireland
240 euros
last updated: Thu 2nd Sep 2010

We travel in early on the Sunday to catch The Tallest Man On Earth, one of the acts I was most looking forward to seeing, I only realise they've cancelled once the Heathers come onstage instead, I don't think I've ever went from joy to contempt so quick, those who are familiar with the Discover Ireland advertisements will know them as the ones who do the 'Remember When' track. I don't stick around to hear it and instead go to check out New York's Neon Indian, whose 'Psychic Chasms' LP sounds like someone creating a disco record in their shed with a load of old electronics, it works on record but not quite as well live. 'Deadbeat Summer' 'Terminally Chill' and '6669(I Don't Know If You Know' has us nodding our heads along the whole way through, 'Should Have Taken Acid With You' is the only one which musters the crowd to get up and move, it's got a massive hook and is impossible not to like, but it's early on Sunday and most revellers are still feeling a little fragile from the previous two days.

Bonobo on the main stage is the perfect way to gently ease us into the final day of Electric Picnic, Bonobo aka Simon Green on laptop duties with bass, keyboards, sax and flute in support, this is perfect music for a chilled out afternoon, made up primarily from their new LP Black Sands, 'Kiara' and 'Kong' are two which stand out, as do the tracks featuring Andreya Triana whose voice serves to soothe the hung-over heads.

Beat boxer extraordinaire Beardyman really has to be seen to be believed, his show is made up from his voice and a loop machine, the soundscapes the man can create from that alone are quite astounding and he takes us through a journey of dance music, he creates Leftfield's 'Phat Planet', New Order's 'Blue Monday' and Mr Oizo's 'Flat Beat' amongst a host of other classics.

Fight Like Apes
Fight Like Apes play the perfect set at the Crawdaddy stage to get us back in top form for the Sunday night, it's a set made for a festival as crowd favourites 'Digifucker', 'Jake Summers' and 'Lend Me Your Face' sit well with covers like 'Push It', there is a smattering of new tracks but with the new album out only a few weeks ago the band are careful to stick to what the crowd now and it works a treat.

We're again drawn to the Bacardi Bar for Norwegian disco legend Todd Terje, although the weather isn't as good in previous days it doesn't stop us getting into the groove for Terje, Motor City's Drum Ensemble's 'Raw Cuts #5' is one of the stand out tracks that the Norwegian plays.

The Horrors are a strange band, upon their arrival on the scene they were NME darlings, but with a very shoddy debut album. With the release of their sophomore record, 'Primary Colours', they won a legion of fans including myself, one of the most staggering improvements a band has made in the course of two albums, thankfully it's from 'Primary Colours' that the crux of the set is made up from, and it has garnered comparisons with My Bloody Valentine and live they are similarities as well, they create a cocoon of noise that just immerses those who are there, it's a disappointingly small crowd for a performance so good, Faris Badwan plays the nonchalant front man down to a tee. 'Mirror's Image', 'Who Can Say' and 'Do You Remember' are a delightful racket while 'Sea within a Sea' steals the show.

The National
Over the course of the weekend, I've managed to catch some great live performances, but only one which I would genuinely consider to be one of the best sets I've ever seen. That honour is bestowed upon The National, it's hard to fault the band since they released 'Alligator' in 2005 and have fine follow up's in 'Boxer' and 'High Violet', a band I've always enjoyed but never truly loved. Until now, you don't appreciate the wonderment of their songs in full until you see them live, one of the tightest live acts you're likely to see and singer Matt Beringer lives everything he sings about on stage. 'Mistaken for Strangers', 'Abel', 'Mr November' and 'Slow Show' are all anthems, which deserve to be played to packed stadiums across the world.

Unfortunately once The National finish it sees the start of a torrential downpour which doesn't stop until the morning. I queue to get into a few tents, but their all heaving at this point, so retreat for some rest.

Another great year, I heard great reports from the comedy tent, Leviathan tent, Arcadia and This Is Pop stages which I never got a chance to sample, one would have to be omnipresent in order to do everything they wanted to at Electric Picnic, a lot of artists I wanted to see clashed, which is testament to the strength of the line-up, but still feel it could have been scheduled a bit better with very similar artists on at the same times. The Body & Soul was great again this year, but was disappointed that the Chai Wallah tent wasn't back this year, was always the best place for some grub and to find a few hidden gems over the weekend, fingers crossed for their return next year, regardless of that, Electric Picnic 2010 is a massive thumbs up for me, for the fourth year running and I'm counting the days until the next instalment.

around the festival site (2)
review by: Paul Mullin

photos by: Andrew McLaughlin

Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th September 2010
Stradbally Hall Estate, Stradbally, Co. Laois, Eire, Ireland
240 euros
last updated: Thu 2nd Sep 2010


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