Viva Brother – 2FM Hot Press Academy Stage
Sure, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but Leonard Newell and his band are certainly no roses. With all the strutting and the collection of ludicrously-patterned shirts, we could hazard a guess that he’s heard the phrase ‘peacocking’ a few times. Still, with the addition of ‘Viva’ to their name, Brother do seem to have calmed down a touch and there are no obvious signs of that famed arrogance on display today. They’re growing musically, too, with ‘The Darling Buds Of May’ and ‘Still Here’ sounding like proper, snarling, substantial rock tunes. Even their previously borderline-superfluous backing girl seems to have found a nice little vocal groove in amongst it all. We’d still put the State office on them not being the bigger-than-the-Beatles’ act Newell seems to be touting, but – dare we say it – watch this space…
Chase & Status – Heineken Green Spheres Tent
If the Heineken tent has seen a bigger crowd than this all weekend, we weren’t part of it. Chase & Status’s set is an impressively substantial, smooth-sounding dance show, channelling a grimy London sound straight from a euphoric warehouse rave and threatening to punch holes through the canvas with their bass. It’s not really our cup of tea, but when they make the effort to bring a huge DJ platform, back-up bassist and drums to avoid the laptop-tapping cliché, and succeed in whipping the crowd into a frenzy that Manumission would be proud of, it can’t be a bad thing.
Grouplove – Heineken Green Spheres Tent
Welcome to Ireland, Grouplove! If today’s first Emerald Isle performance is anything to go by, we might be seeing this group from L.A. on our shores quite often in future. The five-piece have plenty of rock n’ roll credentials, featuring the son of Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin, but focus on an infectious style of summery indie-pop, performed by multiple vocalists on sometimes ludicrously small guitars. There’s a cracking energy to the oddly-named group, and a smiling demeanour that belies the title of their up and coming album, Never Trust A Happy Song. On that basis, don’t trust Grouplove as far as you can throw them. But do go and see them; these happy-go-lucky lively hippie-pop-rock lovers are going to go very, very far.