by / September 7th, 2010 /

Electric Picnic 2010: Janelle Monae, LCD Soundsystem, Foals, Hypnotic Brass, Seasick Steve, The National

Janelle Monae
Add some blue skies, an excited happy crowd and some sunshine and you had the perfect mix of ingredients for a very special show. Marking her Irish debut in dramatic fashion Janelle Monae took to the stage for her first of two shows that night, wrapped in a black cloak with a similarly dressed backing band. The anticipation and buzz surrounding this lady meant she drew a huge crowd for the main stage, and a show that many would not forget in a hurry.

With her powerful vocals, tight band and electrifying presence she commanded our attention. Some acts get lost on the main stage but not Ms Monae, in fact it was just big enough for her star power.Highlights included ‘Cold War’, ‘Faster’ and finishing on a funkadelic poptastic ‘Tightrope’ meant she left us on a high.

Foals took the stage in a packed Crawdaddy tent on Friday night to an eager audience. Although they played in Dublin only a few months ago their Mercury prize nominated album Total Life Forever did not get a full airing. TLF tracks such as ‘Miami’ and ‘Blue Blood’ got the crowd going but ‘Spanish Sahara’, one of the standout tracks from the album was one of the most well received songs on the night. An energetic performance from a band thoroughly on form.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
A perfect choice for the main stage on Saturday afternoon to shake up the festival goers. A little bit of funk and soul from the eight brothers, a lot of waving our hands in the air and shaking our booty like we don’t care was just what we needed. These guys were working hard for their money and made sure we knew. ‘ We are sweating up here for you’ they said and boy did they make us sweat too.

Seasick Steve
After a superb set in the Electric Arena last year, Seasick Steve was bumped up to the main stage on Saturday night for 2010. His profile has been on the up and up and he did not fail to attract a crowd. With a slight wind picking up, the sound from the main stage was bounced around so the set suffered and did not have the same intensity as last year’s.

LCD Soundsystem
It was party time in the Electric Arena on Saturday night as signified by the giant mirror-ball over the stage. Given the uncertainty around whether or not LCD Soundsystem are going to continue as a band, a huge crowd packed into the tent for a superb set. If it is their last appearance in Ireland they did not disappoint and played a ‘best of’ show, with a smattering of old hits and new.

‘Losing my Edge’ made a lot of people lose their reason with a lot of energetic jumping about, along with ‘Drunk Girls, ‘Someone Great’ ‘Us Vs Them’. We were even treated to ‘New York , I Love You ’. The standout track however was ‘Get Innocuous’. Murphy apologised for missing the Dublin gig earlier this year (cancelled due to the volcano) and he certainly made up for it on stage with his dry witty vocals. These New York hipsters were rocking the arena and certainly got the best reception that night, standing head and shoulders over the Hot Chip set which preceeded it.

The National
The National have been building a fanbase in Ireland ever since their famed Whelan’s show in 2005 . The band’s most recent offering High Violet, is a bit of a breakthrough album for them with a critical mass of people now paying attention. Taking to the main stage on Sunday, just as the darkness was descending on the last night of the festival, the band were in flying form and captivated the audience with a fully fleshed and highly charged show. A show full of highlights, ‘Conversation 16’, ’England’ and ‘Squalor Victoria’ climbed high, and culminated in ‘Mr. November’ and ‘Terrible Love’. Rain had started to fall but no-one really noticed.

Photos by Kieran Frost. Janelle Photos by Aidan Kelly.
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