by / June 10th, 2016 /

Forbidden Fruit, Saturday – Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin

Following day one’s slightly slow start, Forbidden Fruit’s Saturday is an altogether more frantic affair. It kicks off with a pair of Irish electronic acts, White Collar Boy playing their steady garage beats to a relaxed crowd that sit on the grassy hill at the main stage while enjoying the afternoon sunshine. From there it’s a quick stroll over to the Lighthouse Stage for the second half of CLU’s live set. Another Dublin-based duo, their AV mix provides an energetic crowd with melodic and accessible electronica that sounds seriously impressive through the sound-system installed in the tent. Coupled with some well crafted, trippy visuals, it’s an excellent turn and a reminder of the high calibre of domestic acts from this genre in today’s line up.

Directly afterwards, US experimental rockers Battles pull a sizeable audience to the main stage. Playing favourites from their repertoire including ‘The Yabba’, ‘Ice Cream’ and ‘Atlas’, they get a healthy response from a sun-drenched crowd of music lovers.  For one reason or another the visual aspect of their performance is absent today, but the New York veterans still move effortlessly through varying time signatures, allowing a mix of backing tracks and live electronics to add depth to their three piece set up.

With a distinct lull in the programme over the next hour it’s a good chance to grab some food and a drink before catching Mmoths at the Lighthouse Stage. There’s a huge turnout for the young Irish producer, and after what looked like a stressful, problematic set up, the warm, fuzzy tones of his latest album Luneworks begin to spill across the tent. Joined by a guitarist on stage, the set bypasses music from his earlier EPs and instead delivers a sonic journey through ambient textures, metamorphosed vocals and unrecognisable guitar concoctions. Every now and then a beat kicks in, but mostly this is an exercise in deep and maturely crafted electronics that belie the producer’s young age. Definitely one of today’s highlights and a bold leap forward for one of Ireland’s most promising musicians.

It’s not without a great deal of difficulty that we leave the Undergrowth Stage ten minutes into Kiasmos’ set.  Ólafur Arnalds’ Icelandic duo have a delayed start but kick off their set with the impossibly beautiful, minimal tones of one of their most well known tracks, ’Looped’.  Of all of today’s performances, the vibe here seems to have connected with this festival’s crowd more than others.  The tent is jam packed and everyone is here for the music.  A swelling mass of ecstatic punters, the way it’s meant to be.

We arrive at the main stage just in time to catch Tame Impala’s opening track ‘Let It Happen’. By now the entire grounds are jam packed with a notably younger demographic, and what had at first seemed to be the outskirts of the crowd, has soon been consumed by thousands more punters that have wedged their way inwards to catch a glimpse of the Australian psychedelic pop-rockers.  Further afield, the various queuing systems at bars and food stalls have been all but abandoned, as the anarchic hoi polloi take the reins of tonight’s proceedings.

Not what I would have expected as an audience for a band so heavily steeped in 70’s psychedelia, but there are still some undeniably hardcore fans here, singing all the words to Kevin Parker’s catchy verses.  The larger proportion of punters tend to push their way through the crowd, clambering onto each other’s shoulders for maximum snap-chat kudos points. That aside, it’s incredible to think that this band has so many well crafted ‘pop’ tunes in their arsenal, as they churn out album-perfect renditions of tracks such as ‘Yes I’m Changing’, ‘Eventually’ and ‘Endors Toi’, not to mention the awesome ‘Elephant’ that tops tonight’s performance. Unfortunately there is minimal applause as the band leave the stage and even less effort to push for an encore. Instead, the weary masses move towards the exits, and onwards to tonight’s after parties.

It seems that once again Forbidden Fruit is stuck in that awkward place that is trying to find a balance between its musical programming and the majority of audience it attracts. What has started out as a highly enjoyable evening of well curated acts, has become more of a trial as the night wares on, and, while this city centre weekend outing is still bringing in the same high calibre of artists it has in the past, each year begs the question, which demographic is this festival trying to cater to?

Jungle and Forbidden Fruit photographed for State by Leah Carroll.