If only everyday at this year’s Electric Picnic had been like Sunday. As before, we had carefully considered which acts to invite to join us in the Oxjam tent and – as ever – none of them let us down. With the tent once again in a prime spot between Body & Soul and the Main Arena we attract not only curious passing traffic but those who realise that this is one of the key spots to find new homegrown talent over the Electric Picnic weekend. The Optimists certainly get us off to a rip-roaring start, their alternative and energetic take on pop music placing them firmly in the tradition of Two Door Cinema Club, The Chalets and Wonder Villains. Constant Supply lean more heavily on the noise yet temper their approach with lovely melody.
Kevyn (pictured above by Olga Kuzmenko) sit somewhere in the middle, rocking as hard as any act who pass this way today. They know how to structure a live show too, with Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ crash landing into NWA’s ‘Express Yourself’ before a visually spectacular conclusion. No such tricks from Brave Giant, whose acoustic meets trad sound has the tent full to capacity – singing and dancing with joy. There’s a radical change of gear in terms of one man operation Young Phantom, weaving rapid fire raps around his progressive beats with deft ease.
With illness scuppering their planned Oxjam performance two years ago, Amidships arrive with a stack of new songs to mark their return to active service. 2014’s loss is 2016’s gain. Farah Elle is undoubtedly of the moment and her arrival is greeted with an undeniable sense of anticipation. Backed by her stylish band, this can only mark the start of an incredible journey.
Tebi Rex are taking their first Electric Picnic steps too, yet this debut may be hard to top. The enthusiasm on stage is matched by the audience, resulting in an explosion of energy that reaches a crescendo during the moshing madness of ‘Black Enough’. 2FM Play The Picnic winners Tanjier are a less frantic proposition, creating a layered sound that builds to a driving finish.
Making rapid progress since her Faces of 2016 appearance at the turn of the year, Katie Laffan has developed into an engaging live performer with a bag full of great songs to match, including new single ‘Trophy’, with her call and response cover of ‘Don’t Cha’ now mere icing on the cake. AikJ too has grown in musical stature in the past nine months, able to provide as classically funky a R&B set to match any of the more established names at Stradbally this weekend.
With the UK media starting to fall for their dreamy charms, Beauty Sleep are very much the complete package, even after two singles. There’s a substance to their bright and breezy pop tunes, ensuring that they won’t just be a flash in the press pan. Instead there’s yet more greatness in the offing here at Oxjam.
As the storm of early Monday morning sweeps across the site, Anti-One is whipping up one of his own in the tent. The producer of dark electronic hip-hop on record, his live show ramps it up to thrilling levels of aggression and swagger. And then, thirteen hours after we kicked off, Le Boom come along and give us one of the performances of the day. No matter how wet and tired everyone is, the Oxjam tent still wants to party and this is the perfect soundtrack – quite possibly the best live electronic act to come out of Ireland since that other French sounding band.
Thanks to Laura at Oxfam for once again entrusting us with her stage, Kevin and Brian on sound, DJ OJ for the tunes and to all the musicians who played throughout the day.
Relive the action thanks to this incredible video from Long Lost Designs.