by / May 29th, 2015 /

Festival: Irish Festivals ’15 – the acts to see

So here we are, at the beginning of yet another Irish festival season. Those who remember when it was just one or two events will still find it staggering just how much the circuit has grown over the years, while younger readers will expect the cream of international talent. The latter is certainly there, alongside new names and the usual very healthy selection of Irish acts. We’ve picked seventy of the artists you’ll find at the various multi-stage events (meaning we’ve passed over a few curated city gatherings and major one off shows, the old faithful Slane excepted). We’ll also update this over the summer so keep an eye. In the meantime let’s start with a familiar name…

Ash (Slane, Indiependence)

Eight years may be an awful long time to be away, but plenty of big stage experience and a killer new album will see the Downpatrick trio home and dry.

Austra (Body & Soul)

With a new record on the way get ready for the unfamiliar, although the Austra live experience is a memorable one whatever the material on offer.

Battles (Electric Picnic)

Longtime Warp Records mainstays, Battles really push the boundaries of what can be done with a set of instruments and an FX station. Their live shows are ferocious too, so prepare for aural hypnosis.

Benjamin Booker (Longitude)

Returning to Ireland for the second summer running, New Orleans garage blues man Booker will be looking to repeat the success of his EP ’14 showing.

Bicep (AVA Belfast)

Cleverly adopting the revivalist house sound before it got saturated, Bicep have managed to keep ahead of the game in terms of production, style and genre bending. A truly dynamic duo.

Bitch Falcon (Knockanstockan, KFest)

How they’ll adapt to life as a trio remains to be seen, but we suspect that Bitch Falcon’s upward trajectory can only continue this summer.

Blur (Electric Picnic)

A far more suitable outdoor setting than their last Irish visit to Killmainham, Blur also arrive as a going concern again – albeit for the time being. How this works will no doubt depend on their choice of set-list and how they balance the crowd pleasers with the more interesting elements of their history.

Booka Shade (Forbidden Fruit)

Hopefully they’ll thrash out some live percussion alongside their dreamy synths and syncopated beats. They haven’t let us down so far.

Curtis Harding (Electric Picnic)

When you name your debut LP Soul Power you better be able to live up to the expectations. Atlantan Harding does it with ease.

Dah Jevu (Life, B.A.R.E. In The Woods)

The delectable pairing of Bobby Basil and Tafari Pesto, Dah Jevu are quickly becoming one of Dublin’s most interesting hip-hop acts. With their off-centre sound, they’ve got the right recipe (sorry) for their festival appearances this summer.

Dan Deacon (Body & Soul)

There aren’t many better live performers in the electronic world than Deacon, so get ready for some serious audience participation.

Danny Brown (Longitude)

The eccentric rapper is back in Marlay Park for the second year on the trot, although this should suit him a lot better than last summer’s Macklemore/Ellie Goulding support slot.

Derrick Carter (Life)

A genuine legend, you won’t find many better opportunities to lose yourself over the coming months.

DJ Nu-Mark (AVA Belfast, Life)

Also appearing later in the summer with his J5 cohorts, Ireland will have three opportunities to witness one of the world’s greatest hip-hop DJs in action.

Earl Sweatshirt (Forbidden Fruit)

Having really upped his game on his last full-length release and with a hearty back catalogue, Earl Sweatshirt is going places quickly. Catch him on his meteoric rise.

Elephant (Another Love Story, Hollow Sounds, Castlepalooza, Body & Soul)

A quietly engaging presence on stage, Dundalk’s Shane Clarke is wonderfully at odds with current Irish trends and is all the more delightful because of it.

Embrz (Longitude)

Jack Casey, AKA Embrz, is one of those producers who seems to have popped up from nowhere and, with a serious sound and an ear for a great remix, we’re glad he has. You’ll be too, should you catch him at Longitude.

Fat White Family (Electric Picnic)

Gnarling, ragged and visceral to the point of frank debauchery, Fat White Family are arguably the fiercest outfit to grace the contemporary music scene since Shaun Ryder straightened himself up. Guitars, electronics and vocal histrionics…what’s not to like?

Fight Like Apes (Castlepalooza)

One of the most dependable acts on the circuit, now bolstered with a new bunch of songs and the sheer delight of being back in the game – plus a top five album to boot.

FKA Twigs (Electric Picnic)

A last minute cancellation in 2014, Tahliah Barnet will hope for better luck second time around.

Florence & The Machine (Electric Picnic)

EP isn’t ever really about the headliners but even so does manage to balance credibility with mainstream appeal. In need of an impressive return to the fray, Florence will want to deliver the goods.

Foo Fighters (Slane)

FOO FIGHTERS AT SLANE. ’nuff said, really.

Future Islands (Electric Picnic)

If you weren’t lucky enough to see Future Islands in Vicar Street last year, or any of their pre-Singles gigs, now is your chance. Truly one of the most electrifying live acts you’ll ever witness.

Girl Band (Longitude, Electric Picnic)

A dynamic presence on last year’s round, Girl Band have only grown in confidence in the interim.

Glass Animals (Longitude)

Building a substantial audience here under the mainstream radar, Marlay Park should prove a celebratory victory lap for the Oxford quartet.

Gold Panda (Life)

It’s been a while since we heard anything from Gold Panda, but that’s not to say he hasn’t been busy. Here’s hoping he pulls some MPC magical tricks from his hat at Life.

Ham Sandwich (Indiependence)

Not as prominent as in recent years, it’s just the sole Irish outing for one of the best live bands in the country so make the most of it.

Hare Squead (Castlepalooza, Body & Soul)

Experiencing their first year on the festival circuit, the Dublin hip-hop trio and extended musical family will make the most of every single second.

Hector Bizerk (Knockanstockan)

Like Ireland, Scottish hip-hop has found it hard to break through but is getting new respect in the wake of Young Fathers extraordinary work. Hector Bizerk are an equally interesting and dark prospect, one of the few international visitors to the Wicklow weekender.

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