12 things I learned at the Electric Picnic
(1) What idiot booked the Jesus & Mary Chain for the main stage? If ever there was a band doing a TTMAR (take the money and run) gig, it was the Reids and their hired hands. Still, Jim Reid looks …
(1) What idiot booked the Jesus & Mary Chain for the main stage? If ever there was a band doing a TTMAR (take the money and run) gig, it was the Reids and their hired hands. Still, Jim Reid looks like a man who’d happily thump you for looking sideways at him. Rumours that his brother William had a big feed of Pieminister fare before taking the stage proved unfounded.
(2) The alleged sighting of local Dail rep Brian Cowen discussing the problems of fortysomething hip-hop with the Beastle Boys was also a no-no, but the Beasties did go home with a signed poster of Linda Martin. True story.
(3) It was very funny to see a number of MCD Concerts employees (each with a punter wristband) walking around Stradbally taking discreet photos of nearly everything that moved. Expect Latitude to turn up next summer in Co Westmeath with loads and loads of Picnic knock-offs.
(4) The Body & Soul arena is the heart of the Picnic. I could have quite happily spent the entire weekend there and I’m not even a hippy. It would make a great festival on its own, but I hope it will still remain a part of the Picnic.
(5) The branding at the Nokia Trends Lab stage was completely over-the-top and took away from the bands who were playing there. I lasted only a few songs at The Aliens and Sons & Daughters because the stupid screens, idiots in boiler suits and sense that you were at a corporate PowerPoint presentation was doing my head in. Down with this sort of stupid unwelcome and inappropriate branding thing which was unfortunately very common at this year’s event.
(6) The Next Stage rocked. I couldn’t tell you what the hell it was about but it was really trippy, interesting and funny. The campfires at 1am were a great idea. Mouse On Mars played there. Bet you didn’t know that.
(7) The most surreal moment of a surreal weekend happened in the Silent Disco late on Saturday night/early on Sunday morning. In the middle of a happy hardcore set, the Dutch DJ dropped the Wolfe Tones “On The One Road” into the set. Who needs acid when something like that happens?
(8) I saw a rake of Irish acts on Sunday morning. Fight Like Apes suffered from appalling sound and looked a little over-awed by the big stage and crowd. Halves have oodles and oodles of lovely quiet-loud-quiet moments. Si Schroeder is sounding more and more cocky and confident with every extra gig he does. The Flaws have been through the wringer already with record label woes but they’ve plenty of sturdy power-punk songs which would sound good on your radio. But the real Irish winner on Sunday was Lisa Hannigan. Now unshackled from Damien Rice, her short, breezy and assured set on the Body & Soul stage was enough to make you realise where the real star-power was in that duo. Backed by a band who knew when to step back as well as step up, Hannigan’s songs are a promising combination of new-school folk and old-school pop. The next stage for her will be an album in early 2008.
(9) The Leviathan debating tent attracts the biggest bunch of eejits, smart alecs, weirdos, drunks, Bob Marley fans and people from bands I slagged off in 1995 of all the venues at the Picnic.
(10) Some people in 2FM rock. Not only did Jenny Huston, Dan Hegarty, Cormac Battle and the mighty Larry Gogan big up The Ticket at the Electric Picnic on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but the sight of FOUR big-ass 2FM/RTE trucks and roadcasters backstage made you realise that some people at the station like Ian Wilson and Mark McCabe care about the station’s public service broadcasting remit and the need to broadcast cool music proramming. Next year, lets hope John Clarke and G Ryan make the journey. BTW the station’s ENTIRE live output from the weekend (and that means a langer-load of live sets) will be looped on 2XM from midnight Monday until Friday evening.
(11) The best place to watch gigs on the main stage was from the lighting tower. Thanks to my lampie mate Darragh for yanking me up there to watch LCD Soundsystem’s set. “Get Innocuous” looked and sounded incredible.
(12) Producing a daily newspaper from a shed in a field is great fun.