Primal Scream top Sunday’s bill but all the talk is about Chic

Crowds arrive for second day of Forbidden Fruit music festival

Fans enjoying the Forbidden Fruit festival at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham at the weekend. Photograph: Cyril Byrne /Irish Times

Fans enjoying the Forbidden Fruit festival at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham at the weekend. Photograph: Cyril Byrne /Irish Times


It’s Sunday, the sun is shining, and the crowds are heading to Kilmainham in Dublin for the second day of Forbidden Fruit.

Last night, the headliner - Kasabian - was out of step with the largely hipster flavour. They demonstrated their testosterone-fueled rock poses, but the real action was on the Lighthouse stage where locals Le Galaxie almost brought the canvas down with a brilliant up tempo set.

Earlier in the day, the crowd was buzzing about IAMAMIWHOAMI’s performance, as well as MayKay - the frontwoman of Fight Like Apes’ - dramatic jump from the main stage.

Crystal Castles, the chaotic Canadian electronic act, bombarded the main stage with their blistering brand of bleepy synths and beats. The crowd was subjected to frequent invasions from frontwoman Alice Glass, and lapped it up. Later, Neon Neon, a side project of Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys fell slightly flat at the Undergrowth Stage, a set overshadowed in that location by earlier performances from Los Angeles noise act HEALTH and the fiddle-playing Irish producer Daithi, who is currently armed with some excellent pop tunes destined for bigger things.

Today, Bondax, an act contributing to the rebirth of house-tinged garage, missed their flight to Dublin, prompting a double set from Aussies Flight Facilities. I Am The Cosmos held their own as the first act of the day on the main stage, and the brilliantly alternative rapper Mykki Blanco put in some serious work to draw an enthusiastic and curious crowd at the Lighthouse Stage. But practically every conversation is about Chic, the disco-funk band starring Nile Rodgers who are playing support to Primal Scream tonight.

Nile Rodgers has been introduced to an entirely new generation thanks to his work on the tune of the summer, Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’, and their good time vibes should work perfectly for an up for it crowd enjoying the balmy weather.

A nice additional touch to the site that certainly appealed to music nerds was Centre Stage, a tent presided over by blogger Niall Byrne aka Nialler9, where acts playing the festival are being interviewed over the weekend. In terms of the other extra bits and bobs across the field, a couple of bands were disgruntled enough to point out the difference between the artist area - a standard collection of prefab dressing rooms and a catering tent - and the slightly more glamourous VIP/media area, with its bar and quirky chairs enclosed in a greenhouse structure.

Despite rumours of struggling ticket sales, the site was busy yesterday and today there’s a big push for Sunday day passes, as tonight the organisers will make sure the festival vibe spreads into the city centre. The Irish Film Insitute is set to screen the Talking Heads concert film, ‘Stop Making Sense’, Meeting House Square in Temple Bar will host gigs from Canadian outfit Austra and rapper Mykki Blanco, and the Button Factory in Temple Bar will be the setting for DJ sets from Four Tet and Caribou. That dedication to extending the festival into venues in town is very much a welcome one, a great way of integrating the festival atmosphere into urban venues.

In a crowded market of festivals, Forbidden Fruit is pulling their weekend party off, and appetites are now whetted for a busy summer, with Sea Sessions in Donegal and Body & Soul in Westmeath being two upcoming highlights this month.

Review: Mykki Blanco, Lighthouse Stage (Sunday)

“I’m a psycho, I’m a beast, I’m a freak on a leash.” With hip-hop underrepresented at Forbidden Fruit, it’s heartening that the main rap booking is something completely outside of the traditional perimeters of the genre.

While gay women have been present in alternative hip-hop for years, queer male rappers are having something of a moment, thanks to the quality output of Zebra Katz and his contemporary Blanco.

Blanco had a lot to due to drum up enthusiasm amongst the bleary afternoon crowd, but backed by Dublin DJ Conor Behan, he skipped around the stage like a hyperactive kid, all naked tattooed torso, Adidas jeans and pink lipstick.

With beads of sweat flying from his face as he twirled, there was probably no other act who werked as hard for their money than this brilliant bundle of contradictions. And eventually, his enthusiasm was reciprocated by those who were familiar with tunes such as ‘Wavvy’, and those just keen to have a gawk.

With just two EPs and a mixtape out, Blanco’s twisted raps and beats, combine confrontational rhymes addressing his sexuality, and almost cabaret-like snippets warping lyrics of ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’, along with acapella speeches bordering on spoken word.

“I feel like the prettiest girl in the whole tent” he exclaims at one point, while propped on the front row barrier. Cheers are heightened, and phone are raised to capture him up close, deciphering his scrawled tattoos and digesting the dexterous rapping. A decent Irish festival debut.