Electric Picnic 2017: Reviews from day three

There might be sore heads but that’s not stopping some serious Sunday tunes

The Irish Times crew covering Electric Picnic 2017 talk about their favourite, and least favourite, festival moments.


Real Estate
Cosby Tent

Was it savvy festival organisation or sheer luck that Real Estate ended up on the Electric Picnic bill on Sunday afternoon? And hot damn, a sunny afternoon at that. The New Jersey band’s luscious grooves soothe like cool air on a warm day. The masterful production of their records - gentle, pristine, lightly psychedelic - shifts over to a live setting without losing any of their tranquilising effects. 

Opener Serve the Song is one of Real Estate’s haziest numbers, easing the five piece into a master 45-minute clinic of mid-tempo indie pop. 

Every gently plucked note on Darling rings out gorgeously; the ornate imagery laid out in the softly-sung lyrics resonating deeply.

The easily chantable “oh ohhh” chorus on It’s Real moves the crowd a little more intensely. 

No matter the tempo and tone of Real Estate’s music, though, all instruments interlock beautifully, coming together to form an aural cocktail that slithers up your ear in a way that’s total bliss.
In three words: Summer’s still here
Go see: Father John Misty

Little Big Tent

Kojaque in Little Big Tent Photograph: @BARQ_music
Kojaque in Little Big Tent Photograph: @BARQ_music

Opening the Little Big Tent on a Sunday at 2.30pm feels like the kind of slot you’d reasonably expect there to be a couple of dozen of punters at. But not today. Hundreds turn out for Irish rapper Kojaque, whose confidence as a performer is hugely engaging. Managing to create a brilliant vibe in the tent, his avant garde, introspective rap pulls in countless new fans. Live, ‘Wificode’ takes on a new dimension, launching itself out of a curiously thin sound into much beefier territory. ‘Midnight Flower’ is woozy and indignant. Kojaque is doing right what so many pretenders try to reach for: downbeat hip hop that actually has a brilliant live energy. His flow never falters, each tune is as tight as a drum, he’s gracious and the performance clearly indicates he’s putting the work in. Seriously impressive stuff.

In three words: Soft Boy wins
If you like this go see: Section Boyz

Goat Girl
Cosby Tent

 (and a half)

The hum of Goat Girl’s ones-to-watch status - earned with three low-slung rock singles and a deal with Rough Trade - has just about made it to the moderately busy Cosby Tent, where the London female foursome stand stony-faced, their nonchalance matching the bass-heavy, garage rock’n’roll formerly associated with the most macho of men. But not anymore.

High on hooks and low on fuss, tracks like Bones and Country Sleaze are almost menacing in their tone and tense in their delivery, though the familiar energy is given a new lease of life the added element of Lottie’s vocals: sultry, soft and strong at the same time. Their set ends 20 minutes early but no matter - they’ve done what they set out to do.

If rock was supposed to be dead, and this London foursome are supposed to resecurrect it, its fate is in good hands.

In three words: Rock is back

The Pretenders
Main Stage

Chrissie may have gone blonde but thankfully her trademark fringe is still in place. She prowls onto the stage, a lioness with eyeliner wrangling the crowd into place.

Those expecting precision power-pop from the off were in for a rude awakening as it's head down Stooges-style garage punk for the first couple of tracks before the sun peeps out from behind the clouds and the daytime radio bliss of Don't Get Me Wrong fills the air.

Things warm up nicely with Back on the Chain Gang attracting more than a few dancing dads as Hynes curses herself for hitting bum chords due to the blazing evening rays getting in her eyes.

Having a knack for easy breezy melodies can sometimes be at odds with Hynes more intense side that she wants to promote. It's as if creating peerless pop isn't enough and there's a strong sense of wanting to be taken "seriously" so the Funtime Sunday crowd are treated to a glut of sometimes po-faced ballads that leave more than a few wandering away.

Those who do manage to stay the course are eventually treated to her more cheeky side as she asks crowd member Dave to dump his grandkids and meet her backstage by the toilets.

It's a mixed rockabilly bag but when the hits happen they soar with her iconic husky-vocals in full effect for I'll Stand By You and the evergreen anthem Brass in Pocket.

Three words: brassy, badass bravado
If you like this: get ready for another female icon Chaka Khan.

Jealous of the Birds
Other Voices

“I feel like everybody, including me, is nursing a hangover,” says Naomi Hamilton. Fortified, for some reason, with an absolute demon of a guitar that looks straight out of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (one of a couple of axes she’ll arm herself with), the Jealous of the Birds frontwoman leads her band through a set of soft indie rock numbers that shouldn’t accentuated any lingering head pain. With its slow-hand guitar strums, “Parma Violets” connects the dots from Fleetwood Mac to Thunderclap Newman. Hamilton’s instrument is always rhythmic and low key – the perfect hand to lead arrangements that veer from soft rock jams that recall Iggy Pop at his most melodic, to smoky, midnight blues club ballads, to more jagged-riffed rockers. It’s all punctuated by a voice that’s subtly soulful on the ear.

In three words: spotless, melodic indie

If you like this go see: Real Estate

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