Pick of the Picnic
Jim Carrollon what to catch . . . and where to catch it
FRIDAY- MAIN STAGE:
The Hartnoll brothers called it a day in 2004 after 15 years of playing live gigs with miners’ lamps on their heads. This year, Phil and Paul have returned to work, so expect them to bring the opening day to a close with a satisfying bang.
Such has been MGMT’s impact that we’re beginning to lose count of the new bands who want to sound just like the Oracular Spectacularkingpins.
Andrew VanWyngarden, Ben Goldwasser and cohorts should have songs from the forthcoming new album to show off today.
Also playing:Zero 7, Michael Nyman Orchestra, Smash Hits
Rodrigo Y Gabriela
Demon Mexican guitarists Rodrigo Pineda and Gabriela Quintero used their growing Irish popularity and gigging cash to fund what have been successful forays further afield. Their sixth album, 11:11, is released next Monday.
It’s a great yarn, how Steve Wold, a grizzly-bearded bluesman in faded dungarees, became the hit of the festival and gigging circuit with his ragged, raw, visceral blues. You too will be hooting along when Seasick Steve starts to roll.
Also playing:Magazine, David Kitt, 8 Ball, The Infomatics
For their Lexicon Of Lovealbum alone, Martin Fry and friends will always have a place in pop’s hall of fame. Let’s hope their all-knowing soul, art-pop and whiteboy funk is still as finely tuned as it was in their Eighties pomp.
Last year, Swedish pop starlet Lykke Li roamed the world introducing us to her exotic, intoxicating, futuristic, adventurous tunes. What we want to hear from her in Stradbally is what comes next.
Also playing:Luciano, Duckworth Lewis Method, The Temper Trap, Peter Broderick
Note to the promoters: J Mascis is a great man for the golf, so it might be worth putting him wise about some of the local courses. Away from the tees, their latest album, Farm, shows that the band’s reunion buzz is still a freak scene to be reckoned with.
Also playing:Efterklang, Richmond Fontaine, Jeffrey Lewis, Wave Machines
LITTLE BIG TENT
The recent Guns Don’t Kill People Lazers Doalbum is where production dons Switch and Diplo (who is also spinning some tunes today) go on a Jamaican dancehall odyssey with a ton of guest MCs. Vibrant, giddy, occasionally bonkers and a lot of fun.
Also playing:Japanese Popstars, Diplo, Fake Blood, Buraka Som Sistema, Fake Blood, Boy 8-Bit, Tu-Ki, Rubberbandits
Conor O’Brien’s band of merry citizens have been attracting plaudits all year long on the back of their Hollow KindEP and live shows. A must-see for those who dig ragged pop, eerie folk and heartfelt, emotional songs and sounds.
Also playing:Kormac’s Big Band, Blindfold, Donal Dineen, Katie Kim, Funzo, Colin Devlin
Fact: one of the best live shows this writer has ever seen was the reformed Madness at large in Dublin’s Point in 2003. For beefy, cheery good tunes with a rocksteady ska twist in the fabric, there is no need to look anywhere else.
You can plot the rise and rise of Lisa Hannigan by her EP gigs. The Big Tree stage in 2006, the Body Soul arena in ’07, packing out the Crawdaddy tent in ’08 and now, a prime pitch on the main stage. The girl’s done good.
Also playing:2 Many DJs, Brian Wilson, Kid Creole the Coconuts, Baaba Maal, Tunng, Stee Downes
It’s a safe bet that Chic’s EP show will be the talk of the town. I mean, how the hell can you go wrong when you’ve a band with hits of the calibre of Le Freak, Everybody Danceand Good Timesat their disposal? Disco nirvana under canvas.
South London teens making moody, broody, sullen, heartbreaking electronic pop about life, love and loss. Their XX debut album is your only man when it comes to providing the ultimate high in melancholic, captivating, uneasy listening.
Also playing:Klaxons, Jape, Bat for Lashes, Roots Manuva, Delphic, Cap Pas Cap
Who knew that one of the breakthrough acts of 2009 would be a rockabilly chick from Dublin’s Liberties? All year long, Imelda May’s gum-chewing mix of blues, jazz, skiffle, soul, psychobilly and rock’n’roll has been sending them home sweatin’.
Also playing:Four Tet, Explosions in the Sky, Chris Cunningham, Mundy, Billy Bragg, A Flock of Seagulls, Just Jack, Dave Geraghty, One Day International
Splendidly rough and ready rumbles from the New York and Philadelphia band covering both indie and Americana sides of the waterfront. Current album You & Meis the one to love if you’re searching for intense and audacious tunes with plenty of bittersweet soul.
Also playing:Neko Case, ESG, Whitest Boy Alive, The Walkmen, Magnolia Electric Co, Marina the Diamonds, Low Anthem, Julie Feeney, Lost Brothers
LITTLE BIG TENT
James Murphy Pat Mahoney
Clap your hands and move your feet as the LCD Soundsystem duo pay homage to New York City’s classic dancefloor roots. As shown on their Fabriclive 36album from 2007, these boyos know where it’s at when it comes to spiritual disco, rare jazzy grooves, early house runarounds and techy disco.
Also playing:Moderat, The Field, The Hacker, Jazzanova, Noze, Optimo DJs, Jon Averill, LRB Conor G, Transmission DJs
Another act coming back together for an encore in 2009. In an ideal world, Lou Rhodes and Andy Barlow would have been top of the semi-electronic pop tree, but it was not to be and the band’s four albums of shimmering, shining, soulful, translucent electronica never quite gained the traction they deserved. Maybe this time?
Also playing:Four Tet, Tunng, Tiny Vipers, Chequerboard, 3epkano, Niwel Tsumbu, Tulla Céilí Band, Island Line, Ohbijou, Kill Krinkle Club
Just the ticket for some end-of-weekend high jinks. BJ have always been a must-see live carnival turn, as much for their infectious and innovative tunes as the mad dancers and shenanigans. Expect to hear plenty from upcoming album Scars.
2009 has been an ace year for Bell X1 with bonzer new album Blue Lights On The Runwayproducing a slew of radio hits here and in the United States. And, unlike their peers, they remain one of the most consistent live draws in the business.
Also playing:Alabama 3, The Wailers, Quantic his Combo Barbaro, Introducing, Dublin Gospel Choir
You may not have heard of them a short 18 months ago, but the Seattle beardies’ pitch-perfect harmonies, dashing songs (like the other-wordly White Water Hymnal) and blissful pastoral folk has had people swooning worldwide. Another EP act who may well have some new tracks to unveil.
Florence & the Machine
We heart Florence The Machine. Florence Welch’s Lungsalbum is the one which has united all pop tribes this summer – from those at Oxegen to those who listen to the Ronan Collins radio show – and you can bet that the tent will be jam-packed for her triumphant return to Stradbally. Return? Yep, she was here last year. What do you mean you didn’t see her?
Also playing:Flaming Lips, Röyksopp, Simian Mobile Disco, Nightmares on Wax Soundsystem, Sugarhill Gang, Two Door Cinema Club
For one so young, the Dubliner has already experienced the kind of record label machinations which would cause lesser mortals to quit and take up knitting. Vindication came earlier this summer with the release of her Let The Truth Be Tolddebut album. Those in search of sizzling, soulful showstoppers can stop looking right about now.
Also playing:Damien Dempsey, Amadou Mariam, Fionn Regan, Echo the Bunnymen, Okkervil River, Mick Flannery, Villagers, Halfset
While Sleepyheadremains their calling card, debut album Manners shows there’s plenty more where that came from. More importantly, as seen by the band’s recent show at Oxegen, they’ve also developed a good handle on playing live. Fans of ecstatic pop should make their way to the front row.
Also playing: Dan Deacon Ensemble, Skream Benga, Bell Orchestre, The Big Pink, The Acorn, Micachu, Blitzen Trapper, Our Fold
LITTLE BIG TENT
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble
The big man on the White House campus is a fan of this Chicago/ New York combo who are equally at home delivering the funk on a street-corner as a big stage. The most joyful sounds all weekend in Stradbally will come when the nine-strong ensemble get swinging in fine brassy style.
Also playing:Erol Alkan, Zombie Nation, Duke Dumont, Aeroplane, Switch, Ebony Bones, Arveene Misk, Barry Redsetta
First Aid Kit
Swedish teens Johanna and Klara Söderberg will knock your socks off with weather-beaten songs about hard lives, tough love and all-round weariness and ennui. Truly awesome melodies and harmonies as seen on their Drunken Treemini-album.
Also playing:Estas Tonne Ft Ise, Beach House, Amorphous Androgenous, The Sound Carriers, Golden Animals, Wiggle, Charlie Parr, Roots Union, J Tillman, Baah Band