Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

Bank Holiday Weekend Digest

All aboard the Tuesday morning train to bank holiday weekend recovery. Let’s start with the weird coincidence of the Shanghai Composite Index falling 64.89 points on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. For a few hundred thousand people in …

Tue, Jun 5, 2012, 10:05


All aboard the Tuesday morning train to bank holiday weekend recovery. Let’s start with the weird coincidence of the Shanghai Composite Index falling 64.89 points on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

For a few hundred thousand people in Ireland, the weekend started with 50 years of the Late Late Show, an installment of the programme that played out like Reeling In The Years on speed. It’s hard to sum up what was an Olympic marathon of compelling craziness, as if RTE had pulled a celebration last minute and instead decided to host a wildly unpredictable wake to which everyone was invited. Highlights? Oh baby. Liam Neeson slightly slumped on a chair announcing that Enda Kenny / the Office of the Taoiseach had sent him a “sniveling” letter, ranting on about how he was an ambassador for the country, spoiling the Bono surprise to a face-palming Tubridy by saying he was just chatting to him backstage. That was special. Twink’s 4am-at-a-house-party rambling anecdote about something to do with custard pies before calling her ex-husband (WHO WAS IN THE STUDIO) a bollocks. Sinead O’Connor actually appearing to be the only guest completely together singing a spine-tingling version of  ’Nothing Compares 2 U’ with the RTE orchestra while dressed as a priest (and kudos to whoever made the call to only reveal her outfit just after she started singing), before going on to tell a rather uncomfortable story about Gay Byrne running his hand up and down her spine after her first Late Late Show appearance. Dustin doing a Kanye by calling it “50 years of muck” and saying Twink was “a bike”. Nell McCafferty demanding whiskey. Gay Byrne taking every half-opportunity to throw a career’s worth of digs at Kenny and Tubridy. Bono looking… serene. Kenny persisting with taking over the Fr Brian Darcy interview. Imelda May struggling with her earrings. Dickie Rock singing the whole thing out. And Tubridy somehow, SOMEHOW, managing to hold all this collection of boozy, spontaneous, unpredictability together without hitting McCoys during an ad break. Eventually, every top ten Twitter trend in the country was referencing the show or one of its guests, with the tweet of the night going to the much retweeted “Schindler’s Pist” comment. Galway News hated it though. Faults? I would have really appreciated a good aul montage at the end.

ShowBiz Ireland has all the photos you could ever possibly need.

photo by Aidan Crawley

You can watch it back here. Put some popcorn in the microwave before you hit play.

And now for Forbidden Fruit…

Forbidden Fruit had another successful year. Yesterday, as the sun was shining on a sea of punters who were sitting on the perfectly sloping ground towards the main stage, the pelting rain of Saturday night and drizzle of Sunday was forgotten. People were waltzing to Beirut, cops were eating ice-cream cones, the chairoplane was spinning and James Vincent McMorrow was about to play what surely will be the final big gig in Ireland that’s largely made up of tunes from his debut album, before throwing a doll replica of himself into the crowd to appreciative clacking of crutches held aloft by one particularly enthused fan. Now, hands up who’s looking forward to some new tunes? Earlier that day, I didn’t particularly enjoy the serious concentration of Julia Holter’s three piece, with an angry-looking drummer whose glare was reminiscent of the clouds that covered the site the previous day. Chairlift were the opposite though, bringing the sunshine into the tent with their twirly vibes. Real Estate played a pleasant set, but Mazzy Star’s lo-fi pace was lost in muddy sound.

Saturday kicked off beautifully with Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (whoever had the idea of putting Shit Robot on at 2.15pm got that one wrong), one of those festival bookings that works brilliantly because you don’t need to have bought the record or be familiar with their sound, because it’s instantly enjoyable. The boys are familiar enough with these shores to give Gugai from the Roisin Dubh in Galway a shout out from the stage. Mmoths could have done with a beefier bass bin in the Lighthouse Stage, but Factory Floor had no such problem, bringing their blistering strobey brand of industrial electronic music to a brilliant intensity that ebbed and flowed, but never left their set. Those hands-in-the-air moments continued with Le Galaxie’s stomping party. Last year, Ham Sandwich became the Irish success of the festival playing the gig of their career. This year, it’s Le Galaxie who owned Kilmainham, throwing out fistfuls of glow sticks and getting back fistfuls of love in return. It was a champion set that even Friendly Fires who brought their tropical hip-wiggling party to the main stage would be proud of.

I deduced Sunday was the busiest day of the festival using my patented festival attendance formula: multiply the queue and state of the women’s portals by how long it takes to get a drink, and divide by the length of the line for Pieminister. Having missed Grimes (d’oh) due to trying to get across the city while Jenson Button was doing donuts on O’Connell Bridge, my first stop was Kool Thing, followed by a theatrical Austra (who played ‘Lose It’ early on, much to the chagrin of late comers.) Little Green Cars then played out of their skins, even while their frontman decided to keep his raincoat on. Shades of Arcade Fire are increasingly creeping into this young band’s arrangements which might surprise those who thought they’d end up being an Irish version of Mumford and Sons. The Rapture, re-inventors of the indie disco at the turn of the millennium, sounded oddly fresh, which was, well, a pleasant surprise having not seen them play for a few years. Are they in fact indie’s most enduring buzz band? Death Cab brought the couples to the fore and that rambling bass riff on the stalkery ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’ still hits the spot. Check out Laurence’s reviews here, the backstage artist menu here, and 10 things we learned this weekend.