A guide to Friday at the Electric Picnic


The Stunning

One of Ireland's veteran pop/ rock acts, and a reminder of one of the following: a) that the 1980s produced some very good Irish bands; b) the 1980s produced some woeful shite altogether; c) there is no accounting for the tastes of nostalgia-driven music fans; d) what else can fortysomething musicians do?


Apart from Bjork, these are surely everyone's favourite Icelandic quirks of nature? Sigur Rós's reputation for putting on a show that mixes their signature sonic swirls and swoops (right) with a similarly bedecked environment is such that they have been known to upstage pretty much every other act on the bill. Out-there in the open air? Perfect.

GO SEE THIS:Joan as Policewoman

Joan Wasser (left) released one of the year's best albums in To Survive, an intensely personal collection of songs that deservedly raised her profile skywards. Forget about the connections with the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed and Jeff Buckley - Wasser is her own person through and through, her music is subtle, intermittently alarming and her creative vision focused on the good and the great.


Heard the one about the blues band that formed in a refugee camp? Thought not. What about songs being sung in the language of Tamasheq? No? Well, then, what about music played to Coldplay by Brian Eno in order to get them in the mood for making new music? Tinariwen - a sub-Sarahan version of The Pogues, or desert blues of the most aching, lonely kind? It's all to play for, folks.

Christy Moore

He is, not to put to fine a point on it, the granddaddy of modern and politicised Irish folk. From Planxty onwards - through Moving Hearts and his solo work - Moore has addressed the plight of the common man via observational songs that blend bitter commentary with biting humour and insight.


Known to his Thin Lizzy- loving parents as Richie Egan, the part- time member of Dublin's Redneck Manifesto is too busy fending off plaudits for his latest album, Ritual, to bother with any fuss or bother as to his potential for crossover success.

Suffice to say that if this whippet-thin geezer isn't one of the highlights of this year's Picnic then that's it - we give up.


It's been quite a journey for Alison Goldfrapp (right) and Will Gregory; the pair began almost 10 years ago with debut album, Felt Mountain, as an avant- garde antidote to Oasis, yet began 2008 (with Seventh Tree) as mellow folk merchants for the clued-in classes. Warning: those expecting whips, wolves' masks and sideline erotica may be disappointed.

Terry Callier

From fame of sorts to everyman obscurity and back to fame of sorts again - it's been a long strange but ultimately rewarding trip for this Chicago jazz/soul/ folk singer-songwriter. Open yourself up to sweet, singular music that ebbs and flows, flows and ebbs.


The Presets

Sydney-based electro duo Julian Hamilton and Kim Moyes have, in the space of three years since their debut album, Beams, outlined their digital punk-pop manifesto in a series of uplifting and downhome tunes that are equal measures balm to the senses and jabs to the system. A slice of the future, right here and now.


Not that most people in Ireland would know, but Limerick duo Stephen Ryan and Keith Lawler are on their third album (Welcome to the Cusp). Despite keeping a profile lower than a Dachshund's belly, Giveamanakick have managed to keep things grooving along by virtue of their innate boisterousness and musical flash-bang-wallop.


Is this a first for Electric Picnic - having on the bill a Berlin duo (Arno Kammermeier and Walter Merziger) that not only have penned commercial ditties for haircare products but are also one of European techno's most respected names? Booka Shade's latest album, The Sun & the Neon Light, blends sleek trance and enigmatic funk with electro angst and Cinemascopic chill-out. We're sure you'll agree there aren't many of those to the dozen these days.

Wallis Bird

Wexford's Wallis Bird has been described as the missing link between Fiona Apple and Ani DiFranco; think an acoustic guitar-wielding ball of energy with a potent voice.


They are electro-mosh masters and they are from Germany. Say what you like about all this electro stuff, but if there's an act better than this lot˜, we have yet to hear them. Prepare ye, then, thumping techno kick drums, bass throbs from the centre of the earth, a few pairs of deranged eyes and a curtain of flailing limbs.


Montreal's James Sontag is an award winning dance musician and producer, who has also remixed the likes of Depeche Mode, Scissor Sisters, Peaches and Cabaret Voltaire. The man with a sonic plan.

New Young Pony Club

NYPC have built up an enviable reputation for transforming wherever they play into a soup of sex sweat. No wonder, then, that songs such as Get Lucky (futurist funk for right now), Ice Cream (the song that really should have made them the darlings of mainstream radio) and The Bomb (a house classic, we reckon) have made them the party act du jour.



Radiohead? Don't talk to me about Radiohead! Former Clash/Big Audio Dynamite guitarist Mick Jones and former Generation X/Sigue Sigue Sputnik guy Tony James recorded albums and gave them away for nada at least five years before Radiohead's "new" business model came along. Will some Clash songs be played amid the band's garage/laptop rock? Don't bet against it.

Think of One

Proponents of shaabi - a genre of world music that is too folk-oriented for afrobeat lovers and too poppy for purists - Think Of One often run the risk of alienating the listener with excessive zeal, but once bitten, you'll have the bug for weeks.


At First Light

 Irish trad gets a kick up the backside with this dream-team line-up of fiddle, uilleann pipes and crystal-clear vocals. The Pixies meets Planxty? Now there's a thought.

GO SEE THIS:Dawn Landes

What's a studio engineer to do when they have a head full of dreams and a closet full of songs?

If you're Dawn Landes (above right) - whose engineering credits include Patty Griffin and Ryan Adams - you deliver accomplished music that reflects the best of your talents, which in her case, are the following: simple yet effective tunes, soft acoustic instrumentation and warm-hearted vocals. Come on over and take a seat by the fire, whydontcha?

Kissy Sellout

DJ, producer, graphic designer - is there no end to the talents of Tommy Bisdee? The guy has also remixed the likes of Sugababes, All Saints, Groove Armada, Mark Ronson and The Human League. Busy boy, is Bisdee, no?

Little Green Cars

Everyone surely loves an underdog, and this Blastbeat Dublin band easily fits the bill. Speaking of which - exactly how many people will get to see these runts? Put them on before the Sex Pistols, we say.

Dobet Gnahore

From Marseilles via West Africa, Dobet Gnahore (below) hasn't forgotten her roots, as she sings about village life in times of conflict an the importance family. Onstage? She's a bundle of colours, a rainbow set to music.



Including in its ranks former Mellow Candle singer Clodagh Simmonds, this experimental unit defies description: the songs don't go where you think they might, and neither do the voices. And hey - Brian Eno loves them. That good enough for you?

Lou Rhodes

Manchester's Lou Rhodes started off in Lamb, a rather more trip-hop/jazz concoction than her post-Lamb ambient folk musings. Call it a smart reinvention if you wish, but Rhodes's change from uber-hip gal to troubled singer-songwriter has garnered her more fans as well as a Mercury Prize nomination for her solo (and quite sinister) debut, Beloved One. More Kate Bush than Katie Melua.

Yard Dogs Road Show

If you want something different, how about this traveling cabaret act from San Francisco? Burlesque, vaudeville, beatnik blues and a spandex-wearing guitarist - they're all yours with this bunch.


We know not his real name, and we know not his gameplan. All we do know is that this classically trained Irish guy has a great voice and some very fine songs. Oh - and he's into karaoke. See you at the Cabaret Corner, mate!

The Gutter Twins

Following a five-year gestation period, Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees/Queens of the Stone Age) and Greg Dulli (AfghanWhigs/Twilight Singers) team up (above) to make lush yet rugged music that they describe as "Satanic Everly Brothers". Fancy a laugh? Best head for the Comedy Tent.


Where to start? Classifiable in a fairly unclassifiable kind of way, Kila are nominally a folk/world group that boldly go where no other unclassifiably classifiable folk/world groups. Fact: under the nom de plume of Professor Jimmy Riddle, band member Rossa Ó Snodaigh has written a book called The Joy of Pissing. This has been a public service announcement.

Late of the Pier

Stalwarts of the teenage/ underage music scenes, this Nottingham four-piece manage, with no small skill, to gather together strands such as disco beat, Afro-pop and very smart, slightly arty rock. Band members include Francis Dudley Dance and Rouge Dog Consuela, which are possibly not their real names.



Are Gomez the prime example of the curse of the Mercury Prize's occasional kiss of death for those acts that won the darned thing and then got lost negotiating the path from instant success to stable creative output? Gomez won the Mercury in 1998 for their debut, Bring it On, but could subsequently never really match the kudos or the praise. And, no, we couldn't name or identify any of them.