By Brendan Callaghan
The sun was beating down on Marley Park last Sunday for the third and final day of Longitude.
After delivering world famous Hip Hop and Dance acts on Friday and Saturday such as Major Lazer, Tyler the Creator and the current King of Hip Hop Kendrick Lemar; Sunday was seen by all to be a much more Indie orientated affair and therefore catered to a slightly older and much less “aluminous” crowd.
The first international act of note to grace the main stage was whimsical Australian songstress Courtney Barnett.
Barnett’s eminently quirky and sing-alongable lyrics are probably her strongest feature. She has an uncanny gift for infecting mundane, everyday situations with a certain magic or romance as well as regularly including some darkly comic touches to her songs which seem to encapsulate more broadly the millennial-slacker aesthetic which she exudes.
Her lyrics are propped-up and woven around simple, solid instrumentation which becomes much more rambunctious and, well, just plain louder in a live context. So despite her singer/songwriter credentials she is still capable and very happy to rock-out whilst performing. All in all this was a perfect intro for what was to be a great day of music.
While Barnett was romancing the crowd at the main stage French dance-pop icons Christine and the Queens were delivering a high-energy assault of retro-dance beats on the Heineken stage with a performance which left the audience raving as if high-vis vests and whistles never went out of fashion.
Her troop of backing dancers acted as hype men who never failed to tease out a few more screams and spurts of energy from the packed tent and Christine eventually left the stage with a parting comment that summed-up pretty well the mood of the performance; “You can be anything you want. You can even be a bicycle.”
Next up on the main stage was folk-rock-crooner Father John Misty; another song-writer whose lyrics deal with love and romance in a refreshingly ironic and darkly-comic manner. The eponymous Mr. Misty started his career as the drummer for the much celebrated and highly-missed folk band Fleet Foxes.
Father John has since made a good name as a solo artist and achieved a lot of praise for his latest albumn ‘I Love You, Honeybear’. Just like Fleet Foxes many of his songs are built around compelling lyrics and a strong vocal delivery.
On stage Father Misty delivers his lyrics with an energy and sultriness that seems somewhat at odds with the thoughtful and romantic tone of his lyrics.
But as with Courtney Barnett earlier in the day, his songs manage to take on a different and more intense energy when experienced in a live context. This fact is helped significantly by the Father Misty’s exuberant and dramatic stage presence which made this performance as enjoyable to watch as it was to listen to.
The penultimate act on the main stage was UK house DJ Jamie XX. Also known as the musical mind behind low-fi indie favourites The XX; Jamie XX has been building-up a reputation as a prominent and highly-sought after mix-master in his own right.
His latest album was a brilliant homage to the UK rave and house scene and the sun-drenched surroundings of Marley Park served as the perfect setting to deliver a well received set that was a fitting warm-up to the night’s headliners – The National.
The National have spent years building up a loyal and dedicated fan-base and you get the impression that they are nowhere as well received as when they are playing in Ireland. Every song is enthusiastically received by the audience who chant back the lyrics to front-man and cult hero Matt Berninger.
The performance builds up to a crescendo which reaches it’s height when Berninger descends into the crowd and is manically hugged and grabbed by members of the audience while the band continues to play. The final song is sung exclusively by the audience who are accompanied by guitarist Aaron Dessner and when it’s all over both the band and the punters cheer and walk away with what seems like mutual feelings of affection and graciousness.