For much of the day on Sunday, Oxegen’s main stages resemble the playlist from a local radio station – Calvin Harris, Lady Gaga, Paul Nutini, Katy Perry – so thank heavens for THE TINGS TINGS, the band who make sense of pop music in these challenging circumstances. Having suffered something of a nightmare at T In The Park the day before, the smooth running of their Irish experience has obviously lifted their spirits. Another of the bands to work their way through the festival ranks, last year The Ting Tings took many surprise with their storming Green Room performance. Come 2009 and a lot more people are in on the act, with the O2 Stage seeing one of its biggest crowd of the weekend. A multi-colour attired brass section aside they haven’t updated their live show much but they are still a splendid experience. Katy White claims she is dressed as an Irish Power Ranger and the sun comes out for the closing pairing of ‘Shut Up And Let Me Go’ and ‘That’s Not My Name’.
It’s not that great a leap of the imagination to realise that, if they’d been around as a new band now, THAT PETROL EMOTION would be enjoying similar status. They did, after all, perfect the art of the scuzzed up, alternative pop song. As it is, you wish that more than a few hundred had turned up to see them give the reunion shuffle a second bash. They are still a fiery proposition live but this feels a bit anti-climatic after last year’s Electric Picnic show. Although Steve Mac’s apparent announcement of a forthcoming Dublin gig does whet the appetite.
Becoming a pop star, alternative or otherwise, is probably not on the agenda for R.S.A.G. anytime soon. After a frustrating delay of nearly half an hour, he emerges to a respectable crowd for early on a Sunday afternoon. If those gathered at the Red Bull Academy are expecting something in keeping with the stage’s overall dance feel they have another thing coming. Blessed with the stage’s excellent sound system, the bottom end hits you in the gut rather than the feet. Although the one man band set-up really does make sense here this is still a tough listen, like early New Model Army meets the Cramps meets classic rock n’ roll. The news that Jeremy Hickey has already started work on a follow up to Organic Sampler is encouraging, as you feel this is very much the start of something rather than the finished article.
Photos by Fionn Kidney – CantLeaveNow.com.