The bleep bleep and bang bang brigades will once again be out in force at this year’s Electric Picnic, yet the great thing about the festival is that no one tribe dominate proceedings. There are plenty of more organic acts appearing over the Stradbally weekend, including these five:
Ireland tends to be a tough place for UK trad bands to visit but at least this festival offers them an introduction, one that Bellowhead are poised to make the most of. A twenty-two legged folk groove machine, they come with a string of awards to their name and a live reputation second to none.
One of the most surprising and endearing sights of last year’s Oxegen festival came when Coldplay introduced Christy Moore onstage, producing a reaction that would have seemed unlikely on paper. Yet the veteran singer is held in such high regard in his home country and his songs are so ingrained in the national psyche that he can triumph anywhere, Stradbally included.
As omnipresent as he may be, it’s still worth reminding yourself that Sheeran has done things on his own terms and is perhaps far more interesting his hit singles might suggest. With his best work coming away from the spotlight, this setting may just prove perfect for him.
Certain bands emerge from the other side of the Picnic with their reputation enhanced no end. Last year it was The Jezabels and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and we’re placing bets that Of Monsters And Men (pictured) will do the same in 2012. Already doing brisk business in the US, their debut album My Head Is An Animal should sound huge in this environment. Look out for some serious trumpet blowing too.
With all the back story dealt with, Willis Earl Beal has emerged – not as some lo-fi troubadour – but as a soul and bluesman right out of the great American tradition. The album could have been much better with a bit more care and attention, yet that this young man has something about him is clear.