By Jamie Doherty
First of all let me say (because I know you’re so interested) that the portaloos were plentiful and in impeccable condition and that the weather, excluding Saturday morning and Sunday night, was more than most Irish festival goers could hope for.
So with that little bit of house-keeping out of the way let’s move on to the main attraction – the music.
The first act of note on Friday were Canadian indie-rock heroes Broken Social Scene. This is a band that in their time produced a swathe of towering indie-rock classics.
At their peak they were capable of selling out venues such as Dublin’s much missed Tripod but their lack of activity over the last seven years has meant that their popularity is now somewhat on the wane and therefore the turn out for their performance at the weekend was certainly not what it would have been when they were at their prime.
Nevertheless they were not fazed by this noticeable decrease in interest and proceeded to captivate a crowd consisting of more than a few die-hard fans. I attended the gig with at least two such fans who assured me that despite some blurry sound issues the performance was an impressive one.
In fairness, regardless of technical issues, it is difficult to disappoint any crowd when you include songs as good as the likes of Lover’s Spit and Almost Crimes.
Later the same night dance legends The Chemical Brothers delivered a high-octane set of pounding techno and house classics accompanied by their famously psychedelic light-show.
This is another band whose back catalogue is so strong that they rarely fail to impress. But if I were to choose my surprise performance of the first night’s revelry it would have to go to the Irish electro-outfit All Tvvins who played a wonderfully entrancing and atmospheric set at the natural amphitheatre that is the Body and Soul stage in the wee wee hours of Saturday morning.
For me Saturday meant only one thing – the triumphant return of LCD Soundsystem. The entire day was spent in anticipation of this performance and although there were other notable highlights such as hip-hop superstar Joey Bada$$ and the Trinity Orchestras impressive homage to the late, great David Bowie; it all paled in comparison to the brilliance of the New York indie-dance collective.
With the talismanic James Murphy decked out in wellies and what looked like a white cotton jump-suit; the band that provided the soundtrack to many people’s adolescence did not fail to live up to their huge, ever-growing and near mythic reputation.
It seems counter-productive to try and choose one highlight from a set that never seemed to waver or lull in the least, but for argument’s sake I would contend that the beat-drop that descended a few minutes into the initially quiet and sing-alongable Dance Yerself Clean will probably go down as one of the most enjoyable live experiences of my life.
Closing out their performance with the anthemic and much-loved All My Friends ensured that every member of the capacity crowd continued their Saturday night on a high that would last well into Sunday morning.
Sunday began with a trip to the main stage where the Dublin Gospel Choir belted out a perfect blend of classic funk, soul and pop tunes that were just the right tonic for anyone beginning to feel the inevitable festival slump from the previous two night’s exertions.
Later on I enjoyed the high-energy punk flavoured guitar rock of Savages. With their hugely charismatic front woman Jehnny Beth jumping into the crowd for the final few songs of the set this was a memorable performance from a band that I was not previously familiar with but who I will definitely try to see again.
The last big name of the weekend for me came in the form of the legendary New Order who, even after all these years, are still capable of provoking a crowd of 20,000 wet and tired adults into dancing like giddy, idealistic teenagers as if we were all hearing Blue Monday or Love Will Tear Us Apart for the very first time all over again.
A fitting end to what was a wildly regressive, nostalgic and immensely enjoyable weekend.