With their stunning live shows, Le Galaxie always make a festival better
Le Galaxie: “We’re there to bring joy, and burst your heart a little”
It is the early hours of Monday morning in the Body & Soul area of the Electric Picnic festival, earlier this month, and a young man who has just had a transformative experience is reaching towards heaven. “Jurassic Park,” he screams, the ultraviolet paint on his face smudging with each salty tear: “Jur. Ass. Ic. Park.” Le Galaxie have just finished their set to the strains of the film’s soundtrack.
“I don’t like the cheap trick,” says Michael Pope, the band’s frontman, outside a rehearsal space on Exchequer Street in Dublin late the following Friday. You can sense his apprehension about what Le Galaxie have become known for: their awesome shows, complete with flying glow sticks and Jurassic Park conclusion. What he doesn’t seem to realise is that it’s the gig’s core content – amazing songs played fantastically – that has grown their fan base. It’s official: Le Galaxie’s presence at a festival will make the weekend better.
Like all good bands, they’re a gang: Pope, de-facto leader, the tall, hilarious and scarily smart nerd, adorned with tattoos; Alastair Higgins, the handsome drummer and whiskey buff; Anthony Hyland on guitar and keyboards, sweet, always ready with a hug, and with the complexion of someone whose main source of vitamin D is nightclub strobes; and David McGloughlin, the friendly bass player, who has some excellent thoughts on the final series of Breaking Bad.
“We’ve no record deal. We’ve no publishing deal. We’ve only had a manager the past few months,” Pope and McGloughlin say almost in stereo, putting on disco-ball silver hoodies to shoot 3D visuals to accompany tonight’s sold-out Dublin Fringe Festival concert in Meeting House Square. Hyland, meanwhile, has his red-and-blue glasses on, and is looking up 3D images on his phone to make sure they work.
Le Galaxie are grafters. In 2008, the first eyebrow-raising moment came with the release of We Bleed the Blood of Androids, a guitar-heavy dance track. Laserdisc Nights 2, their debut album, is full of great songs, notably Beyond Transworld. But it didn’t really do the business, and was cruelly omitted from the Choice Music Prize shortlist. Unperturbed, they barrelled ahead with Fade 2 Forever, an EP containing Love System, which has vocals by Elaine Mai, earning them a best-song nomination in this year’s Choice awards. The songs from their second album are in the final stages of mixing, and they sound stunning.
Meeting House Square
It’s Monday night at the Academy venue in Dublin, and the band have been setting up a run-through for hours. These days nearly every show is the gig of their lives. Playing Meeting House Square is complicated – not least as it was almost cancelled late in the week because of a bar-licensing issue.