Electric Picnic - the Lowdown
The Stradbally bash has packed a bumper hamper for its 10th birthday celebrations. Here are 10 acts not to be missed
My Bloody Valentine
What next for Iceland’s best known export? Twenty years after the release of Debut – and two years after the release of her interactive app-driven album, Biophilia – Björk is still enigmatic, interesting, and occasionally unpredictable. Expect some form of spectacular stage show, and the kind of set
list that will have fans drooling onto their boots.
ARCTIC MONKEYS (Sunday)
Still as rooted in the earth as they were when they released their first album (2006’s Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not), Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys continue to appeal to people who like their garage rock spiked with wry and often witty lyrics. There’ll be lots of it, when they shower us with oldies but goldies and a sprinkling of tracks from their forthcoming album, AM.
MY BLOODY VALENTINE (Friday)
Do decibel levels matter at an open-air festival? Nowhere near as much as in a roofed venue, which is just as well, as this revered Irish band have little time for the sensitivities of the inner ear. But, God, are they good: two classic guitar-drone albums, Isn’t Anything (1988) and Loveless (1991), a lengthy hiatus, and then back with a bang (on the ear, naturally) with this year’s surprise third album, mbv. Oh, yeah.
It’s quite simple – any band who have been compared to Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie and the Banshees and (whoa!) Joni Mitchell are a big, fancy hit in our book, and so it proves with this lauded Los Angeles outfit. Think a smidgen of sassy, old school R&B, a hint of grunge and dollops of dream pop.
JOHNNY MARR (Sunday)
Yes, he may be forever known for having been the guitarist in The Smiths, but Marr is doing his darned best to convince people that he’s very much a geezer in his own right. This year’s nifty solo album, The Messenger, has certainly sent out all the right signs. (But we think it’s brilliant he still plays Smiths tunes in his live shows.)
THE STRYPES (Sunday)
Yes, yes, we know they’re only scuts from Cavan, and we know that one day the novelty of sharply dressed teenagers belting out ’60s R&B might fade, but right here, right now, The Strypes are one of the best live bands around. Dr Feelgood fans – your time has come again.
Poor Mark Oliver Everett – he’s probably a very funny guy but keeps getting branded as a manic depressive who writes only about death and the loss of love. In fact, Everett’s singular MO has generated some of the sweetest alt pop music ever written about unsavoury topics.
PARQUET COURTS (Saturday)
Brooklyn-based Parquet Courts formed in 2010 and have quickly established themselves as a band who don’t take any nonsense. With their flurry of ferocious garage-guitar riffs and shout-out-loud vocals, the band members avoid traditional promotional routes. Bless.
FRANZ FERDINAND (Sunday)
Franz Ferdinand have been MIA for a few years but have returned, somewhat triumphantly, it seems, with their new album, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. Whether their fans have moved on remains to be seen, but this lot still pack a sonic Glasgow kiss.
MARK MULCAHY (Body & Soul Stage)
Another coup for the Body & Soul peeps – one of America’s lost singer-songwriter treasures returns to the fray after almost eight years in a personal and career wilderness. If you only get to see one act at B&S next weekend, make sure it’s this guy.