by / July 11th, 2010 /

Oxegen 2010: Florence and the Machine, Kasabian, Dirty Projectors, Two Door Cinema Club and more

Arriving on site for the second day of Ireland’s annual rain fest, State find the conditions have slipped over the edge from mild marshland to full on, inch thick muddy quagmire. In front of the main stage, at least, where The Stranglers are opening proceedings with various oldies but goldies, there are a few areas that are edging their way into full on wading territory.

Two Door Cinema Club, though, are the band that really kicks the day off. The Northern Irelanders have been shifted from their slot on the Vodafone Stage to the main arena due to sheer popularity (well, and John Mayer pulling out), and while there are patches of confused Biffy Clyro fans down the front, the Bangor group are so fun loving and infectious that they soon become a highlight of the weekend. Singles -I Can’t Talk’ and -Undercover Martyn’ are bracketed by the remainder of an album that’s become familiar through advertizing diffusion, with bounce along moments like -Cigarettes In The Theatre’ and -Something Good Can Work’ live up to every ounce of hype.

Over in the Hot Press tent, 3Oh!3 mention half way through that today’s show is their first in Ireland. We’re not sure if that’s the case or they’d had a few too many backstage, but the reaction to the Colorado starlets throwing down some beats is flamboyant enough to have those of us less familiar with their material reaching for their MySpace. Their accessible brand of electronic ‘¦well, blur, really, has the place hopping early in the day.

Before long, though, the marshland main stage calls us, and almost everyone else: Florence Welch is here. It’s patently unfair to compare Florence And The Machine‘s set here to her performance at the Olympia early this year, but State can’t help ourselves, and while Florence is as tuneful and energetic as ever, there’s a slight nervous edge that seems to have crept in in front of the bigger audience. She’s not helped by a colossal rainstorm hitting just as she comes on stage, or the fact that large parts of the crowd seem unfamiliar with her material beyond -Dog Days’ and -You’ve Got The Love’, but this is still one of her weaker performances. Of course, the hippy-pop singer on a bad day has still got the measure of most of the bands on the bill at their peak, and she even throws us a new song – we miss the name in the wind – but it’s a promising sign when it comes to making the new album, surely on the agenda quickly after the summer.

Dirty Projectors are one Oxegen’s more eclectic draws, and their off-the-wall rhythms are far from the most instantly lovably on site. While they might be performing to a mere couple of hundred in the tiny Red Bull tent, there are portions of the crowd utterly captivated by seven albums worth of assorted off-beats the New Yorkers throw down. Mixed-gender vocals and plenty of harmonies are the order of the day, and certainly throw a curve ball to those wondering through. They’re mercurial, talented and brilliantly spacey, nothing not to love here.

Kasabian are the kind of band that is made for festivals. At the back there are dozens of people throwing themselves enthusiastically through the mud, while down the front there’s arm-slinging and moshing frenzy going down with an energy that’s normally difficult to muster come the second day of such an event. While Kasabian have written several more albums since State first caught them headlining the backroom of a pub in Portsmouth, little has changed about their style: this is simple yet affective sing-along rock, with a few nifty dance leanings thrown in along the way, and it goes down an absolute storm. The oldies – tracks like ‘LSF’ and ‘Reason Is Treason’ – have been perfectly adapted to fit arena crowds, and Kasabian turn out to be the perfect intro for what without doubt is one of the best performances Ireland will see this year. Bring on Muse’¦

  • Kev

    I only managed to catch the first half of Dirty Projectors but they were really fantastic. “Temecula Sunrise” in particular was good.

    I was not impressed with Florence. While the wind and rain was appalling, it just seemed as though she wasn’t up for it. Lacklustre, while she also only played for about 45 minutes, despite having been timetabled for an hour. Disappointing.

    I’ve uploaded my own reviews of Friday (Saturday will be done tomorrow!) to my blog BullBlackNova @ if you want to check them out at all.

  • Dirty Projectors were fantastic. Reading back now, this probably wasnt quite complimentary enough, especially a the first line sounds like a criticism: it’s simply meant to say that their a relatively inaccessible act at first listen IMO. Couldnt take my eyes off them.

    Florence was certainly below par, but her par is a notch above most people’s I’d say, and Im having to deal with the natural mental comparison to the Olympia a month or two back, which was an absolutely unbelievable gig. Still glad I caught her, though I must admit I found the crowd were I was annoying to the point of wanting to leave where I was stood. Very aggressive and talked loudly throughout large parts of the set.

  • David Walsh

    Sorry i can’t agree with you on Florence and The Machine, most people seemed pretty familiar with her material, other than “Heavy In Your Arms”. I’m a music fan, i know her music, but i’m not her biggest fan either. As i thought she would do, she gave it her all. I couldn’t deduct her any marks as the weather made it very difficult to perform in. I was in the pit which was easy to get into, but you have to remember Oxegen has never, unfortunately been all about the music as it is for me and you. So I’ve come to ignore others ignorance.

    I will agree in my entirety with your review of kasabian, “they are made for festivals”, also their most recent album has raised them above most and their performance reflected that! “Bring on Muse” – that was exactly what i was thinking!