by / August 8th, 2013 /

Festival: Castlepalooza…What State Saw

Small but perfectly formed, Castlepalooza may not have the expanse of other festivals but certainly manages to punch above its weight. Featuring a largely Irish bill with a smattering of international names, the beautiful setting of Charleville Castle only adds to the atmosphere. Ice cream truck DJs, kittens, whispers of ghosts in the castle, working toilets, a forest full of trees and some our favourite bands mashed into one place: what’s not to love? Here’s how State spent our three days….

And So I Watch You From Afar – Vodafone Main Stage, Saturday

Having travelled to Tullamore from Cork via Newry, it’s safe to say that ASIWYFA haven’t let up on their hectic touring schedule. They’ve reached parts that other Irish bands haven’t been able to reach, of course by being bloody good but also by trading in a style of music that knows no boundaries of language. As demonstrated on All Hail Bright Futures, it’s also a sound that is consistently expanding. Where once you simply stood back and admired them, now the quartet draw you in and engage your emotions. The addition of the odd vocal line helps of course, giving the crowd something to latch onto, but in truth this band don’t need words to convey the notions of joy and inspiration. (Phil Udell)

Come on Live Long – Vodafone Main Stage, Saturday

Following Tieranniesaur, Come on Live Long quickly prove able to get engage the crowd with songs like ‘Little Ones’, the perfect sing-along number. Their live show is super impressive, with a huge amount of energy emanating from the stage, and the impressive vocal combination of Robert Ardiff and Louise Gaffney. It’s not hard to see why this band has a rep for live performance. (Fiona Donnellan)

Croupier – Metro Herald Stage, Friday

Amazing, energetic rock at its best. Oisín Murphy’s voice gets smoother every time you hear them, and their songs have evidently etched themselves in our brain as we find ourselves singing along from start to finish. Best of all, new EP track ‘Power Up’ proves to be one of their best, suggesting there’s still a lot more to come. (FD)

CSS – Vodafone Main Stage, Saturday

They were adored at every indie club night circa 2005 and we’re happy to say that CSS still know how to party seven years on. In true Brazilian Mardi Gras style their performance is pure celebration. Songs like ‘Alala’ and ‘Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above,’ are seriously cool electro-punk tracks and send the crowd into a party fuelled craze. People end up going ballistic, trying to dance like LoveFoxxx. And by people we mean us. (FD)

Ghostpoet – Metro Herald Stage, Friday

The perfect addition to the day one lineup, Ghostpoet is clearly is a fan of Ireland and always receives a hearty welcome, no more so than at the Metro Herald Stage. There are different stories going around about as to why his set finishes up early, a generator being pulled a favourite, but it doesn’t spoil the fun. (FD)

Halves – Metro Herald Stage, Sunday

Halves been touring heavily with new album Boa Howl and it’s a nice comparison seeing them a month ago in The Button Factory and now at Castlepalooza. The band have really come into their own and seem a lot more comfortable – able to have fun with their epic, serious music – and their live show now matches the quality of their album. (FD)

Luke Vibert – Metro Herald Stage, Saturday

On the top of a lot of people’s ‘must see’ lists, especially any electronic music lover, a large proportion tumbles out of the tent content but not overwhelmed. Vibert never really manages to blow us away and his late Saturday night slot ends up as more leave it than take it. (FD)

Overhead the Albatross – Metro Herald Stage, Friday

One of the highlights of Body and Soul, despite playing to a smallish crowd on the Saturday afternoon, OtA wow again at Castlepalooza. Joe Panama is everything a front man should be, but the rest of the band have the talent to match his energetic stage presence. Look out for their debut album coming soon, if their live shows are anything to go by, it’ll be a cracker. (FD)

Princess – Metro Herald Stage, Sunday

Sunday afternoon can be an odd time for any festival band, with people either knackered or simply packing up and getting ready to go home. Add in the fact that the sun is shining and the hot and airless second tent could be a bit of a graveyard. The answer? Some loud, energetic guitar music and a bloke in a dress. Blasting out a succession of tunes clearly inspired by the likes of Dinosaur Jr and the newer crop of US bands, Princess are a noisy joy and just what Castlepalooza needs at this particular moment. (PU)

Sert One – Tullamore Dew Courtyard, Saturday

As the rain comes down, many opt to seek shelter under tents, trees and in the castle but a few brave music lovers gather in the Courtyard. Their determination pays off and they’re treated to an impressive bass heavy set from SertOne. His Shapes In the Sky EP is a great listen at home, but it’s an entirely different vibe seeing him live. Extremely impressive for such a young lad. (FD)

Ships – Metro Herald Stage, Sunday

Even on a festival bill full of familiar names, there’s always the hope that someone will take you by surprise. And boy, do Ships take us by surprise. Somewhere along the way they’ve added a large dash of disco and funk to their electro sound, resulting in a dance music that you actually want to dance to. Put it this way, when they drop a cover of Shalamar’s ‘There It Is’ into the set, you hardly notice the join. Brilliant. (PU)

The Notas – Vodafone Main Stage, Sunday

Such is their rate of development that it often feels like you won’t see the same Notas show twice in a row. While such a work ethic is to be encouraged, sometimes you wish they might focus a little more. Even over the course of a short half hour set there’s so much chopping and changing going on that a steady flow never really develops. The best moments come when they concentrate less on the laptops and more on the instruments that fill the stage. The Notas are still on the right path though, they just need to settle on which direction to take. (PU)

Young Wonder – Metro Herald Stage, Friday

Although they may seem to come from another planet, Young Wonder are firmly placed in the lineage of Cork acts. Expertly mixing dubstep, house and R&B, it also helps that Young Wonder Rachel Koeman is a bit on the theatrical side, tonight wearing what looks like a wolf costume, with her vocals reverbed with the help of a Kaoss pad to create an amazing atmosphere. (FD)

Photo: Ruth Medjber