by / July 9th, 2008 /

Oxegen 2008 Preview


Aphex Twin or UNKLE? The Prodigy or Justice? Rage Against the Machine or Chemical Bros? With Oxegen looming upon us this weekend, State casts a critical eye over the line-up to decide which acts we’re most looking forward to and which acts we’re not. Come back next week for a full day-by-day report from Oxegen. Here’s the latest on the weather front while we’re at it.

5 Big Sets you shouldn’t miss

1. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE(Main Stage, Sun, 22:35)
The return of Rage has the potential to be the clear highlight of the weekend. We know they have the tunes, we know they have the fans. Last year’s Coachella performance confirmed that. Now, let’s get prepared. [‘Testify’ Live at Coachella ’07]

2. INTERPOL(Main Stage, Fri, 21:55)
State cover stars seem to be having difficulties getting on musically of late (Read Kara Manning’s interview with Sam Fogarino for more) so it will be interesting to see how the New Yorkers react to an always receptive Irish crowd. State witnessed the first date of the tour last week in Denmark. See how it went down.

3. THE VERVE (Main Stage, Sat, 23:40)
The reunion of Ashcroft and co. has seen a resurgence of interest in the band. That’s not really surprising as now no longer under the shadow of the Gallagher brothers, people are starting to remember The Verve’s anthemic qualities. New single ‘Love is Noise’ is a perfect festival closer as demonstrated at Glastonbury. [‘Love is Noise’ live @ Glasto]

4. CHEMICAL BROTHERS (O2 Stage, Sun, 22:30)
Believe it or not, The Chemicals are releasing another ‘Best Of’ in September so they’re off doing the festival rounds once again this summer. In fairness to them, they are still one of the best dance acts going as last year’s We Are the Night showcased and a packed tent going apeshit will testify to this on Sunday. [Myspace]

5. JUSTICE (Dance Stage, Sat, 23:45)
The only dance act to come close to the Chemical Brothers’ reach in the last few years are Parisian duo Justice. They exude cool, a hipster aesthetic, one big illuminated cross, a wave of gut-pounding synths and a rock ‘n’ roll attitude. We urge you not to miss them play ‘Stress’ or ‘D.A.N.C.E’. [‘Stress’ Video]

Vampire Weekend

5 New Bands you have to see

1. WHITE DENIM (2FM New Bands Stage, Fri, 00:30)
Closing the 2FM New Bands Stage are this Texan trio who are a kaleidoscopic mix of garage rock, psychedelic blues, twisted funk and shouty vocals. Check out new album Workout Holiday for the best lo-fi rock record of the year. [Download EP @ RCRD LBL]

2. PENDULUM(Green Room, Sat, 21:00)
Having established themselves as the best-selling Drum & Bass outfit of ALL-TIME these greedy Aussies decided to take on rock as well with their second album In Silico. The resulting D&B/rock crossover has seen them take over Radio One’s airwaves thanks to Zane Lowe and Jo Whiley. Expect this set to be where it all comes together in Ireland for the band. [‘Propane Nightmares‘ video]

3. VAMPIRE WEEKEND(Green Room, Sat, 18:35)
Having witnessed their highlight set at Primavera, State can attest to the quality of the preppy US band’s live show. Even if you don’t make the gig, get the self-titled debut and start singing along. [‘Oxford Comma‘ Video]

4. THE TING TINGS(Green Room, Sat, 16:25)
You’ve all heard The Ting Tings by now but chances are, most people weren’t at their recent Dublin debut in April. Expect a packed tent to rectify that down in Punchestown on Saturday and a contender for tune of the weekend amongst the crowd to be ‘That’s Not My Name’. [‘Shut up and Let me Go’ video]

5. MGMT (Pet Sounds, Sun 18:30)
Depending on the mood of the two frontmen, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden, a MGMT live show can be hit and miss. It also varies depending on how much prog you can take. When the band nail the pop elements of Oracular Spectacular, you’ll want to be there. At the very least, the crowd will be up for it. [‘Electric Feel’ Video]


5 Potential Stonkers

1. APHEX TWIN(Pet Sounds, Fri, 21:50)
An unusual booking for Oxegen to be sure but then there are a few of them this year (Battles, Holy Fuck, Cat Power). What to expect from Richard D James’ first Irish show in years? Will he take on his alter-ego Analord and The Tuss and specialise in squelchy electronica? Will he delve into his back catalogue? The answer mostly likely, is that like his recent Coachella show, it will be a DJ set with Richard playing anything he damn well likes including old-school hip-hop and electro. [Download his Coachella set.]

2. TRICKY(Pet Sounds, Fri, 20:25)
Tricky returns to promote a fine new album Knowle West Boy inspired by his Bristol youth. Sandwiched in-between Battles and Aphex Twin, it looks like the Pet Sounds stage is where its at on Friday night. [‘Council Estate’ video]

3. THE NATIONAL – (Pet Sounds,Sat, 23:45)
Ireland loves The National. Loves them. The last two times they were here (both in the past year) they sold out six large capacity shows. Certainly an acquired taste, but the NY band have fervent supporters aplenty on this side of the Atlantic so their show will be for many, a highlight. [‘Fake Empire’ on Letterman]

4. RÓISÍN MURPHY(Pet Sounds, Sun, 21:15)
Establishing herself as 21st century disco diva with a quirky fashion style, this Wexford native based in London is bound to wow the Oxegen audience with her velvet voice. Her most recent album Overpowered was nominated for the Choice Music Prize this year. [‘Overpowered’ acoustic performance]

5. BAND OF HORSES – (Pet Sounds, Sun, 19:45)
Played their debut Irish performance to a packed Tripod in Dublin in February to an already enamoured audience. we think it might be called the Tom Dunne effect. Fitting then, that the stage which bears his shows name should host the alt-country rock band. Will they repeat their Roskilde performance which was “the kind of gig that Arcade Fire delivered last year, all collective joy“? [‘Is there a Ghost’ video]

Cat Power

5 acts to avoid

1. CAT POWER – (Pet Sounds, Fri, 23:50)
Nevermind her albums (which are good), live Chan Marshall still can’t cut it. She has a tendency to sing from the back and sides of the stage where you can’t see her. She does old blues covers at a slow pace. Mark this one down as a mid-tempo bore.

2. THE WOMBATS – (O2 Stage, Sat, 16:25)
Sub-standard English indie. Responsible for this abomination.

3. STEREOPHONICS – (Main Stage, Sat, 20:15)
Wayne Rooney’s favourite act are the epitome of an average white band. Pass.

4. AMY WINEHOUSE – (Main Stage, Sat, 18:45)
Despite the glowing response to her Glastonbury performance, it was clear she had barely a leg to stand on. The girl needs to get herself sorted before she is doing these kind of high profile shows. A car-crash performance waiting to happen, which is the reason State expects a massive crowd at it.

5. FEEDER – (O2 Stage, Sat, 21:05)
When you’re finished avoiding the Stereophonics, you can avoid another average Welsh rock band. Yooohooo!

Should I Stay or Should I Go? Clashes @ Oxegen

  1. Aphex Twin vs UNKLE, Friday
  2. Yeasayer vs Vampire Weekend, Saturday
  3. The Verve vs The Prodigy vs Justice, Saturday
  4. Rage Against the Machine vs Chemical Bros, Sunday
  5. The Pogues vs Flogging Molly, Sunday

Pick of the IMRO New Sounds Stage

  1. Dry County – – (Sun, 22:15)
  2. Oppenheimer(Sat, 19:45)
  3. New Amusement(Sat, 20:45)
  4. Halves(Sun, 20:15)
  5. Crayonsmith(Sun, 19:15)

Pick of the 2FM New Bands Stage

  1. Kill City Defectors(Sat, 13:30)
  2. Fight Like Apes(Sun, 20:20)
  3. Glasvegas(Sun, 19:20)
  4. Black Kids(Sat, 21:10)
  5. Schmackey and the Salads(Sun, 13:30)
    Sure, didn’t they make this stroke of genius? Watch out for The Coronas parody.

5 bands loved by Pitchfork worth a goo

  1. Yeasayer(2FM New Bands Stage, Sat, 18:15)
  2. Holy Fuck(2FM New Bands Stage, Sat, 17:10)
  3. Battles(Pet Sounds, Fri, 19:10)
  4. The Hold Steady(Green Room, Sun, 14:20)
  5. Hot Chip(Pet Sounds, Sat, 22:15)

5 Pop acts to see

  1. Alphabeat(2FM New Bands Stage, Sat, 20:15)
  2. Sugababes(O2 Stage, Fri, 18:15)
  3. Kate Nash(O2 Stage, Sun, 18:20)
  4. Groove Armada(O2 Stage, Fri, 23:35)
  5. Calvin Harris(Dance Stage, Sat, 23:50)
  • Great little article this. You should’ve highlighted Hold Steady a bit more, because they’re on early and people might miss them for some average band they’ve never heard of. Good job highlighting the National though. They’ll be amazing. And as they’re last on, loads of people will miss them.

    You can find other bands worth a look on my own Oxegen preview here:


  • We should miss neither Rage or Chemical Brothers even though they’re on at the same time?

    Little Help?

  • Sean Donegan

    Yeah I can’t believe how early the Hold Steady are on, they played a blinder at last year’s Oxegen, and got a good reaction so I assumed they’d be higher on the bill. Great band to see first during the day to get you going.

  • [quote post=”1639″]We should miss neither Rage or Chemical Brothers even though they’re on at the same time?

    Little Help?[/quote]

    Personal choice dude. Personal choice.

  • people might miss them for some average band they’ve never heard of

    Surely this is the perfect description of the Hold Steady.

  • Hold Steady for me equals snorefest! I just don’t get them, sorry fans.
    Aphex Twin is something I am willing to definitely take a chance on even if he does indulge in an hour of static!

  • biba


  • I can vouch for Cat Power being terrible, hiding at the side of the stage, facing her band and generally not being worth going to see.

  • Karl, there was about 100 people at Cat Power tonight. My mate said she was brilliant. I only wandered in as it was ending.

  • Hands up though, White Denim were awful. More musings to follow.

  • AstonishingSodApe

    Didn’t see you at Cat Power, Niall. Dreadful turnout, wasn’t it? Felt bad for her – how do you follow Aphex anyway?! It reminded me of when they put Beth Gibbons in the Dance tent a few years ago. Whoever was responsible should have been shot! She was touring one of the best albums ever (folk, blues and jazz) and they stuck her between Phil Hartnoll and Justin Robertson. Cue shouts of “You’re wreckin’ me buzz!” and “Who’s this moany bitch?” No wonder Portishead didn’t come to Dublin to promote Third.

    Aphex great, Tricky great, Battles v.good but the sound was awful.

  • Deborah Ward

    Was that Tornado caused by the small planes. Great one flying tent. Damo Dean from Ballyshannon is pissed off he didnt get your contact details, great weekend

  • Deborah Ward

    Kings of Leon were great, I didnt really think so at the time. but in retro, they were great. REM still are hard to beat. Verve were unmissable.