by / September 4th, 2012 /

Electric Picnic ’12 Saturday: the State highlights

Bellowhead – Main Stage

Making their Irish live debut, UK eleven piece folk start as a curiosity for a handful of festival goers. Although probably far better suited for a more intimate venue (they’ll go on to play a storming late night show on the Salty Dog) they succeed by simply sticking to their guns and waiting for the crowd to come to them. At their heart a very English band (especially in John Boden’s vocals) the extra elements, notably a bouncing brass section, add a global twist and by the end those out front are getting into as much as the ones on stage. (PU)

David Kitt – Crawdaddy Stage

Obviously attracting a very specific crowd – namely fans who worship 2001’s The Big Romance, a seminal part of the Irish modern musical history – those who missed out on Kitt’s Vicar Street back in December get to hear the masterpiece played out in its entirety. From the opening chorus of ‘Song From Hope Street (Brooklyn NY)’ it’s evident that this is going to be a sway-along and sing-along celebration of sound – and ‘You Know What I Want To Know’ straight afterwards confirms it. Each to their own favourite song – for us it’s the incredibly moving rendition of ‘What I Ask’ – but really, it’s the body of work that dazzles, Kitt himself referencing that he keeps getting lost in the music throughout. A stunning extended performance of ‘Into The Breeze’ draws it all to a close – the chants of the latter section continue to ring through the tent even after Kitt and his band have departed the stage, and revellers make their way towards the exits reluctantly – sad that it’s over, but undeniably privileged to have been there. (EB)

Delorentos – Crawdaddy Stage

Wherever you look at Stradbally this weekend, it seems as though an Irish band is having some sort of celebration. Delorentos have more reason than most, with their Little Sparks album easily established as one of the year’s best. And, what do you know, there’s a party going on at the Crawdaddy Stage. The band are in full electric mode and, while that helps them power through, we’d still like to hear a bit of the record’s variation live but no-one here cares – happy instead just to live in the moment. (PU)

Dexys – Electric Arena

It’s hard not to be impressed by Kevin Rowland. Here is a man that embodies his own talent and has no problem suspending disbelief on the audience’s behalf. Opening with ‘Liars A to E’ the band perform a kind of theatre on stage and it doesn’t take long to infect the crowd with it. Sill wearing dungarees, flat caps and braces they have stayed loyal to the images their sound perpetuates. ‘Tell Me When The Light Turns Green’, ‘I’m Always Going To Love You’ and ‘Now’ are so crowd pleasing and surprisingly funky that by the time ‘Come On Eileen’ launches there is very little by way of atmospheric shift; the crowd are already sold. (SD)

Heathers – Electric Arena

It’s a risk for any act to play a festival show comprised predominantly of new material but for Heathers, who are comfortably sitting on an absolute stunner of a second album in the form of Kingdom, it’s well worth the punt. The midday time-slot did not deter the bleary-eyed from making the trip and the duo certainly did everything in their power to make it worth their while. The traditional setup of just the singing sisters with an acoustic guitar for company has expanded to include two extra bodies, resulting in a much richer live sound to do the immaculately-produced new songs justice, and the harmonies are as impeccably tight as ever. Most interesting is the deviation in sound of the tracks that have been doing the rounds in their acoustic form for some time – such as ‘Underground Beneath’, and in particular ‘Waiter’ – the addition of beats and synths to which are completely unprecedented but downright brilliant. The all-conquering lead single ‘Forget Me Knots’ plays out just as vibrantly live, but there’s no shortage of potential hits within the setlist, with ‘Circular Road’ the definite leader of the pack. A top-class performance – their kingdom awaits. (EB)

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