A fine example of what makes the Picnic so special. Carlow’s The Holy Roman Army were finishing up their set on the Body and Soul Love Letter stage with an extended outro. A gathering of people parked on benches are watching. No-one is dancing. One lone dancer spreads his wings (or arms) and begans to flap around in front of the stage. Encouraged by this act, about 30 more people join in flapping their arms and we’ve suddenly got an impromptu dance party. It wasn’t quite Santogold but it was a bit special.
Body and Soul’s mainstage was also the setting for this New York band’s Irish debut and they were genuinely touched by the positive reaction to the indie-folk songs from their debut album Weathervanes. At times, it’s a touch samey and occasionally it approaches Owl City-esque saccharinity but the vocals are less grating than on record and it’s a pleasant banjo-heavy way to spend 40 minutes.
All the attention pre-show surrounded the guest appearance of Crystal Swing during the performance but with their cameo dispensed with at the start with a rendition of ‘She Drinks Tequila’, the plastic bag wearing Limerick boys were freed up to provide the rest of the night’s cheeky entertainment. And that they did. Their set is a varied mix of hip-hop skits that are actually better than most Irish hip-hop, dance music piss-takes and comedic ruminations of Irish life taking in the Gardaí, riding a horse instead of a Subaru, Eamon De Valera, the IRA, fighting your girlfriend’s father, hash, double dropping yokes, hanging out with Ice Cube and owning a greyhound. It would all be so clichéd, if it wasn’t so unbelievably funny and cuttingly-precise.