Body & Soul festival reviews: Day 3

Rejuvenating power of Shabazz Palaces, East India Youth and Caribou felt by festival goers

Artist: Shabazz Palaces, East India Youth, Caribou, Jessy Lanza, Of Montreal, TOKiMONSTA

Venue: Ballinlough Castle

Date Reviewed: June 22nd, 2014

By the third day of any festival, never mind one that has been as basted in sunshine as Body & Soul, a certain fatigue settles into the bones of any mere mortals in attendance – in this case, that’s a significant minority. Some festivals seek to address the problem with soothing sips of orchestral music. On the Body & Soul main stage, however, the answer is Hip Hop. To those who had tripped the light fantastic the previous night with the Mother DJ wood nymphs at the festival’s prettiest stage, Reckless in Love, this may have felt a little like an abrasive ‘hair of the dog’ antidote to a very glittery hangover.

Hip Hop is essentially studio music – or so the rule goes – so it’s refreshing to hear Limerick’s producer My Name is John & MC God Knows so vital in live performance, delivering an urgent call to action - just what the day requires.

They cede the stage to Shabazz Palaces, a more sophisticated hip hoperation from Seattle. Rapper/musician Ishmael Butler lends a languid snarl to his loose, sinewy raps, but it’s the staggeringly talented percussionist, Tendai Maraire, who may be the stronger asset. “See I’m just like you,” goes A Mess, in Butler’s rich timbre, “Got a pain in my neck, came from staring at stars.” He’s certainly got our number.

Although a committed following press to the stage for one of the best hip hop performances of the year, most people sit benignly on the grass, curious or indifferent, while the coiled Chuch, a squelchy menace on record, is utterly transformed with an intricate melodic drum into something somehow arresting and breezy. Musicianship like this is refreshing in hip hop, and it’s an instructive display for the electronic proclivities of Body & Soul: two performers pushing boundaries, not just buttons. Peter Crawley

East India Youth is one of the rising stars in London’s electro scene, thanks to his slick debut Total Strife Forever. Here he flits between huge banks of synths and singing, trashy distorted bass and a barrage of samples, loops and full throttle beats. He’s carving out a sound that’s all his own, and while the sound mix takes a while to fine tune the details, this is a strong set of intriguing music, lent a touch of class by the man in the shirt, tie and jacket whipping between his instruments. Expect this one to get better and better. Laurence Mackin

Airport traffic problems and lost bags at Heathrow played havoc with much of the later Midnight Circus artists. Jessy Lanza made it on site just a few minutes before her show, and she could be forgiven having a slightly muddy sound – she had to borrow plenty of equipment, thanks to hers being misplaced en route from London. Her extraordinary vocal didn’t always come through strong enough, but when it clicks into place the results are deeply effective. Her high, flighty R&B tones complement the glitchy spare beats and loops, with Lanza committing strongly to the tracks in an elegantly controlled set. Very stylish indeed. LM