By Brendan Callaghan
For a certain refined and hedonistic demographic of the Irish population, the first weekend in September has, for many years now, meant only one thing – Electric Picnic.
As stage times are finally revealed, we take a quick look at some of the bands and acts that will be performing at this year’s biggest collective blow-out.
Below you will find a selected highlight for each day of the weekend and being the staunch non-conformist that I am I will start, contrarily, with Saturday.
The majority of the hype for this year’s festival concerns the much anticipated return of LCD Soundsystem who are the last act to headline the Main Stage on Saturday night.
Having called it quits in dramatic fashion back in 2010 (a perfectly coordinated and hugely successful farewell that culminated in three sold out shows at Madison Square Garden), the band have returned to touring the festival circuit this year and are said to be working on material for a new album.
Over the ten years that they were together, LCD built up a strong reputation for their live performances. The energy and magic of their live show was captured wonderfully in the concert documentary Shut Up And Play The Hits, and you can guarantee that once the first few chords of the anthemic hit ‘All My Friends’ resounds around the Stradbally estate, each member of the capacity crowd will be singing along at the top of their voice to every last word.
Another band making a welcome return to Ireland are the Canadian ensemble Broken Social Scene. For anyone who missed them last time round Broken Social Scene were a musical collective that found worldwide success in the early 2000’s with classic albums such as ‘You Forgot It In People’ and their eponymous ‘Broken Social Scene’.
Much like their fellow Canadians Arcade Fire, BSS produce epic indie-rock classics that lend themselves perfectly to an open live setting. Again it has been a long time since they last played to an Irish audience and I suspect that their early-ish show at the Electric Arena on Friday will be one of the highlights of that night.
My top pick for Sunday is Baltimore electro-psych outfit Animal Collective. Having experienced their weirdly wonderful live show a few times already, I can guarantee a mind-alteringly pleasing aural and visual onslaught.
The fact that a band that could easily have been scheduled as a late performer on one of the main stages has instead been relatively hidden away at an inconspicuous time on Sunday on the Rankin’s Wood stage only piques my interest even more.
This potentially intimate affair from a band that has produced some of the greatest and strangest pop and dance tunes of the last ten years promises to be an interesting and enjoyable occasion.
But, frankly speaking, the sheer volume, scope and eclecticism of this festival more or less guarantees that there will be something for everyone; and if these picks don’t necessarily float your festival boat there will no doubt be some other attraction to ensure buoyancy. Happy sailing Picnicers.