It takes about an hour after you walk around the arena and its accompanying fields at Electric Picnic to come to the conclusion that comparisons between it and Oxegen are a little daft. Electric Picnic is just different. There is ample space for chilling out. There are entertaining diversions like a comedy tent, a bog cottage, pampering areas, a circus, a farmer’s market and the musical lineup is always more diverse (if less crowd-pleasing) than its July predecessor.
What it did share in common this year was mud. And lots of it. Nothing a decent pair of wellies couldn’t handle though. It appeared though that mud was blamed for the late opening to the main arena on Friday afternoon while a couple of hundred people waited to get in. Unfortunately for PETER BRODERICK, this meant he played part of his set to security guards only, much to his disappointment.
This drama was soon forgotten about as our festival account was properly opened by MAJOR LAZER who followed BOY 8-BIT’s airing of his Florence and the Machine remix as his set came to a close. MAJOR LAZER is Diplo and Switch’s digital dancehall Jamaican looney-rave side-project. With Switch nowhere to be seen on-stage, it was left to a besuited Diplo, two zombie dancers and a hype man MC to get things going. The set featured only a smattering of Major Lazer songs mixed in with some Barrington Levy, tracks from dubstep young bucks Benga and Caspa, some hyperactive jumping, a stage invasion and of course, in ‘Pon De Floor’ one of the festival’s first proper moments as the bass gives way to the chopped up vocal sample, hands are raised, the tent heaves and some guy sets his lighter on fire in respect.
After hearing good things about THE TEMPER TRAP’s performance earlier, an easy decision was made to skip MGMT. Having caught a main stage set from them in Paris the week before, State knew it wasn’t worth hanging around to see them play ‘Kids’, ‘Electric Feel’ and ‘Time to Pretend’ and little else but some rock band proggy squall and a couple of average new songs.
We wish we did the same for ORBITAL. Reunited and playing the main stage, it could have been a celebratory reminder why they were so ubiquitous in the 90s. Instead, it was a damp squib. Poor sound didn’t help but ultimately, their back catalogue sounded a bit dated at this point. Compared to the hi-energy of Portugal’s BURAKA SOM SISTEMA, it sounded plodding. Those Portugese guys knew how to turn out a party with bass and plenty of kuduro-assisted dancing, which was in sharp contrast to Orbital’s nostalgia set.
After that it was the turn of the homegrown. Limerick’s RUBBERBANDITS delivered a post-Diplo set of hip-hop comedy to a full tent. While the plastic-bag-headed duo are a funny proposition live, their backing tracks are just as good. It’s fun-times rap instrumentals played by a rubber-faced masked DJ while the two Bandits prowl the stage delivering ‘Bags of Glue’ a song about only being able to have sex with their rotund missus while high on glue.
It was over to Body and Soul for the rest of the night (the post- main arena destination every night of the weekend as it happens) where DONAL DINEEN was curating the final set of music. R.S.A.G was in fine form as always but after a long day and some hectic dancing, State hit the tent in expectation for an early start the next day.
Photos by Fionn Kidney