This weekend is always a bittersweet one, with the last big festival of the summer heralding the beginning of Autumn. Thankfully though, the Electric Picnic always sends us off with a bang and this year looks like being no exception. The discussions and rumours as to what will happen when the event comes into new hands next year will probably start on Monday, but for now enjoy our pick of the acts that we feel you really shouldn’t miss. Have fun.
Florence & The Machine (Electric Arena, 5.30pm, Sunday)
It had to be really didn’t it? Since her appearance at this very festival last year, the Florence juggernaut has gathered pace at a breakneck speed. With the hype more than matched by a superb album and thrilling, if pleasantly rough around the edges, live show there’s no reason to suppose that this will be anything other than a massive celebration of a unique new talent.
Billy Bragg (Crawdaddy Stage, 5.30pm, Saturday)
Billy Bragg has had many guises over the years (the latest being a singer of American soul and roots music) but he has never donned any of them without conviction. Warmer, funnier and more romantic than the political activist stereotype might suggest, if you have never experienced him live now is the time to start.
Amadou & Mariam (Crawdaddy, 9pm, Sunday)
This year’s EP has introduced yet more far flung corners of the globe, with Amadou & Mariam being one of the picks, the husband and wife duo, whose extraordinary talent has carried their distinct music all the way from their home town of Bamako to the world stage and international renown – working with Manu Chao, writing the theme song for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and touring with bands such as The Scissor Sisters and Coldplay.
Madness – (Main Stage, 10.30pm, Saturday)
There’s a distinctly retro feel to Stradbally this year, with a showing from the 1980s school of pop (see ABC and Flock Of Seagulls) but Madness are one band who have always managed to cross the decades with ease. The reason is simple, they have one of the greatest songbooks of the past thirty years. Expect a greatest hits set with a few newies thrown in and for it to be a million times better than last year’s Sex Pistols debacle.
Klaxons (Electric Arena, 8.45pm, Saturday)
Yes we know that they may have well have been invented by the NME, but now the whole nu-rave nonsense has disappeared, Klaxons could well prove themselves to be in it for the long haul. They’re a fine live experience too and who wouldn’t expect -Golden Skans’ to be one of the tunes of the weekend?
Laura Izibor (Crawdaddy Stage, 4.30pm, Sunday)
For years now people have been telling us that Laura Izibor was a star in the making but frankly it seemed unlikely – how many great R n’ B / soul singers had Dublin produced? Well make that one now, as Izibor finally emerged with the perfect sunshine album and the endorsement of heavyweights like John Legend. All without resorting to any of the usual tired old clichÃ©s too. Those people may just have been right all along.
Marina & The Diamonds (Cosby Stage, 4pm, Saturday)
Greco-Welsh artist Marina Diamandis is a huge favourite down State way. Combining the kind of off kilter eccentricity of kindred spirit Florence with a diva like voice and mighty songs, the only possible hindrance to her progress could be the music industry’s traditional aversion to having more than one strong female presence break through at any one time (hello Duffy, goodbye Adele). We say – storm the barricades.
Major Lazer (Little Big Tent, 7.15, Friday)
As well as playing individually over the weekend, Diplo and Switch are making their Irish debut as their digital dancehall project Major Lazer which has already produced the fruitful Guns Don’t Kill People Lazers Do album. We’re not sure what the live show will be like but it’s probably safe to say if they drop club tune-of-the-year ‘Pon Do Floor’ we’ll be happy bunnies.
First Aid Kit (Body and Soul, 1pm, Sunday)
Could there be a more perfect way to wake up on a Sunday morning than to two angelic-sounding Swedish girls playing their own naiive but wise brand of folk-pop in Body and Soul? We think not.