With a line up as healthy as this year’s Electric Picnic, trying to make an itinerary can be a bit dizzying. In an effort to help, though this may only add to your indecision, we’ve asked our writers for their picks of the Picnic.
Funeral Suits – Electric Arena: 3.45pm
‘Colour Fade’ is one of the best songs of 2011, an atmospheric indie-pop number with echoey vocals that give it a mini-gang-chorus effect, making it immediately familiar and sing-along – seeing it live is enough reason to down cans and kick off the festivities proper. Funeral Suits played State Vs Out On A Limb over a year ago, they more than held the stage then so they should be well able to fill the Electric Arena with their expanding canon.
Little Green Cars – Electric Arena: 4.45pm
Going for the festival double after their great set at Oxegen, Little Green Cars have taken their time getting here but are certainly making the most of the opportunity now. Matching superb songs with a warm, earthy live performance, they’re more than justifying their inclusion in our Faces of 2011. We don’t like to say we told you so etc etc
Sinead O’Connor – Main Stage: 5.30pm
It’d take some balls appearing on stage after making a bizarre spectacle of yourself in the press, but Sinead O’Connor has always thrived on confrontation. After all, what’s a little embarrassment when you’ve done this….
Twin Shadow – Cosby Tent: 6.30pm
George Lewis Jr and band make up Twin Shadow previously played Dublin back in February at an excellent sell-out gig in Crawdaddy. Their debut album ‘Forget’ is one that translates so much better live. Expect swagger and vulnerability in equal parts from lead singer Lewis Jr. A smooth 80’s infused synth sound.
(Michelle Bond Dolan)
Cry Before Dawn – Crawdaddy Stage: 6.30pm
Late thirties? Unashamed of your Irish listening heritage? Nostalgic for the last recession and one of the groups it spawned, who wrote some fine documents of those times, skirted the record industry briefly as great Irish hopes and then dropped out of sight? See you up the front. (Expect some Wexford jerseys).
Foster The People – Cosby Stage: 7:30pm
There will be many who will flock to the Cosby Stage on Friday evening to see Foster The People purely on the back of the commercial success of the impossibly catchy ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ – which is NOT the festive summery delight its sound might lead you to believe, but actually about a seemingly homicidal teenager. Anyway, there is SO much more to Foster The People than just that song. Debut album Torches is jam-packed with brilliant upbeat indie rock, reminiscent of the feel-good falsetto brilliance of Passion Pit. Foster The People are unfortunately clashing with The Rapture and Warpaint – but they have the potential to be a real hidden treasure of Electric Picnic Friday, and are worth the gamble.
This L.A. band has managed to add a splash of real sunshine to my summertime playlist with ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ and ‘Helena Beat’ and I’m curious to see how cloistered studio magic unfolds in a live setting. Are they master showmen like Friendly Fires or utterly shambolic wrecks like Black Kids (whatever happened to them)?
Warpaint – Crawdaddy: 7.45pm
One of the slickest bands to take to any stage over the last 18 months, California indie-rockers Warpaint play with an engaging yet laid back intensity. The Fool is already a classic album of ambient rock, one that smolders in a live setting.
PJ Harvey – Main Stage: 8.45pm
Let England Shake is undoubtedly one of the finest records of 2011 – a body of work so perfectly cohesive that on its own, it completely wins the argument that an LP album as an art-form is far from dead. Musically it is skewed English folk, that dips into rock, reggae and electronics bent around Harvey’s commentary of the State of her glorious homeland. As a performer, PJ Harvey is second to none. Missing her play this album live just isn’t a option.
Santigold – Electric Arena: 9:00pm
It’s hard to believe that it was 2008 when debut album Santogold was released… she played a fantastic set at Electric Picnic that summer, and now three years and a vowel change later, Santigold makes her return to Stradbally. Fans had been kept very much in the dark about the elusive follow-up album, until April of this year when ‘Go!’ came along -and what a way to mark your return. The song makes for an exciting indicator as to what Santigold has in store for album #2, and Picnic revellers can look forward to sampling some more new tunes in the Electric Arena on Friday evening, alongside the vintage brilliance of the likes of ‘Creator’ and ‘L.E.S. Artistes’.
Mylo – Bacardi Get Together: 9.30pm
‘Drop the Pressure’ released in 2004 was a massive hit from Mylo’s debut album Destroy Rock and Roll and collaborations soon followed with Kylie Minogue (‘I Believe In You’) and the Scissor Sisters. Things have been quiet on the recording front, but he has been busy on the DJ circuit. It’s the kind of dance set you will be singing to, perfect for the Bacardi arena.
(Michelle Bond Dolan)
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Cosby Stage: 11pm
Currently soundtracking an advert near you, but don’t let that put you off. ES&TMZ (as we must surely call them) will feel right at home in Stradbally, being very much of the festival persuasion. Their multi-member, happy clappy approach has taken them across Europe this summer and while they may not be the most challenging or cutting edge of bands, they will get you moving. See them on the Salty Dog Stage at 12.45am as well.