Electric Picnic review: Paddy Hanna – An indie-rock showman
Dublin troubadour reaches out and finds an audience ready to take him by the hand
Paddy Hanna: bravely paired a violent-blue bandanna with sunglasses. Photograph: Dave Meehan
Body & Soul
With a grin and a lip curl, Paddy Hanna brings indie wistfulness to Electric Picnic’s most reliably phantasmagorical stage. Watched by a modest yet appreciative early-evening crowd, and with multicoloured flags all around, the Dublin troubadour proceeded at leisure through material from his recent Frankly, I Mutate album. Carefree alt.pop is in perpetual danger of collapsing under its own tweeness. But Hanna, veteran of Grand Pocket Orchestra and No Monster Club, keeps self-satisfaction at bay with songs that step between lilting and slyly ominous. You don’t know if he’s laughing or verging on a breakdown. It helps that he has an adaptable voice, darkly ruminative on Underprotected – where he showcases his talents as rockabilly crooner – and folksy on All I Can Say Is I Love You. And he has a showman’s gift, demonstrated by his brave pairing of a violent-blue bandanna with sunglasses. (As a coup de grace he jokingly flips off a fan taking snaps up front.) The standard gripe against indie rock is that it’s too self-absorbed to make a connection. Yet Hanna reaches out and finds, on the first night of Electric Picnic, an audience ready to take him by the hand.