Your baby wipes are packed. Your cans are on ice. Your tent pitching practice in the back garden went swimmingly. You’ve checked the weather forecast seven hundred and eighty four times. Last thing’s last – who are you going to see at this year’s Electric Picnic?
Don’t mind Florence, Blur, Sam Smith etc – you know all about them. Here’s a few from lower down the bill that will make your festival weekend a memorable one; here's some gentle prodding in the right direction with 10 must-see acts in Stradbally this weekend.
Electric Arena – Sunday 22.45
There is no competition; Tame Impala are the best psychedelic rock band on the planet.
On record, Aussie Kevin Parker is completely in charge, composing and playing all of the instruments. But live, with a full band, they have evolved into a perfect festival act. Their latest album ‘Currents’ has a much funkier, synth-led sound, but Parker’s late 60s, Beatles-fuelled inspirations are still there.
Although high enough up the bill already, don’t be surprised to see them headline EP in the future. They are that good. Singalong highlight ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ was apparently adopted by Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner as his favourite song of the last five years. Also, if you hear set opener ‘Let It Happen’ in the distance, you’ll come running.
Tame Impala: Let It Happen
Fight Like Apes
Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow – Saturday 22.00
Naturally, there’s a shedload of quality Irish acts playing this year, and Fight Like Apes are right up at the top of that tree. Infused with their own brand of catchy indie synth-pop mixed with chugging basslines, their eponymous third album flew straight in at number one in the Irish Charts. The only disappointment was the very regular title (their previous album was called ‘The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner’).
Singer MayKay has a faultless indie voice, and it’s always nice to hear Irish terms like ‘gaff’ in song lyrics. Their singles ‘Pop Itch’ and ‘Pretty Keen on Centrefolds’ are two of the catchiest, summery-est tunes of 2015. Head along to the Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow stage on Saturday night to catch them. You won’t regret it.
Fight Like Apes: ‘Pop Itch’
Fat White Family
Cosby Stage – Sunday 17.45
Fat White Family are a dirty, grimy, dangerous band – in a good way. Hailing from Brixton in South London, their sound is a loose mix of The Velvet Underground and the darker side of Iggy Pop, with even more drink and drugs thrown in for good measure.
If you’re one of those people who drags their kids to Electric Picnic, DON’T bring them to see these lads. For example, one of their signature songs is called ‘Bomb Disneyland’.
Their live gigs are gaining a huge reputation in the UK for being as raucous and powerful as early Libertines shows. Frontman Lias Saoudi is completely insane, and very rarely wears anything but a pair of leather trousers – so whether or not you enjoy their tunes, this performance is very much one not to miss.
Fat White Family: ‘Touch The Leather’
Cosby Stage – Sunday 23.00
If you’ve been to an Irish festival in the last 5 years, the chances are you’ve seen Le Galaxie. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t see them again this year. Having finally released their long-awaited second album ‘Le Club’ this summer, the Dublin-based electro outfit are ready to rock the Picnic once more.
Their set at this year’s Longitude seemed a little out of place in the beaming afternoon sunshine. These lads are much more suited to this late night slot on Sunday. Dancing shoes required. Listen out for ‘Streetheart’, a summer stomper, and the Chemical Brothers-esque ‘Humanise’.
Le Galaxie: ‘Humanise’
Electric Arena – Saturday 22.30
Oasis are a band that would literally have never played the Picnic. Unthinkable. The sheer musical faffery of the Stradbally crowd would have erased their names from the bill out of sheer snobbish willpower. However, Andy Bell (the bass player at the time of the Mancs' demise), has reformed his 90’s shoegazing band Ride, and they are very much making a welcome trip to the Midlands.
Unlike Le Galaxie, you won’t necessarily need your dancing shoes here. Maybe your swaying shoes – Ride are a chilled out band that fit the Picnic’s vibe perfectly. Ideal for an early evening bop-along before some late night mayhem.
Ride: ‘Leave Them All Behind’
The Mighty Stef
Salty Dog Stage – Sunday 00.10
Led by imposing frontman Stefan Murphy, The Mighty Stef are a criminally-underrated Irish band that offer pure desert rock and roll served up on a plate of angry melodies. Their recently released LP ‘Year of The Horse’ was produced by none other than Alain Johannes of Arctic Monkeys, QOTSA, and Chris Cornell fame. No messing about.
Expect a high energy performance – guitars, bass, drums. No frills, and no shortage of tunes. ‘Year of The Horse’ strayed from their country-style first album, and the epic ‘Blind Girl’ even contains a reference to the League of Ireland rivalry between Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers.
The Mighty Stef: ‘Nightwatchman of the Iveagh Flats’
Electric Arena – Sunday 21.00
On stage, FKA twigs is a mesmerising performer. Her music combines off-beat dubstep rhythms, sweeping electronic beats and a unique vocal style. Off-stage, her romance and subsequent engagement to Twilight lothario Robert Pattinson has garnered huge attention. Twitter trolls have been particularly vulgar, but the 27-year-old (real name Tahliah Barnett) has brushed it off in typically cool fashion.
Pattinson himself regularly attends her concerts, but I can’t see Edward Cullen himself going rocking up to Stradbally on Sunday. Just imagine the amount of selfies the poor chap would have to pose for.
FKA twigs: ‘Two Weeks’
Saturday: Body & Soul Earthship Stage 12.00, Salty Dog 16.40, Oxjam Stage 03.00
Now for something completely different. Self-styled as a New Orleans-style street funk band, Stomptown Brass are a nine-piece Irish outfit that you can catch three times on Saturday at EP. They’re on at the ungodly hour of noon on the Body & Soul Earthship Stage, 4.40pm on the Salty Dog, and also at 3am on the Oxjam Stage! We can only hope that they don’t lose any of their instruments in the 13 hour interval.
For reference, they boast two trumpets, three trombones, a tenor sax, a tuba, and two different drummers. Expect a lovely mix of originals and unique covers. If you want a break from the guitars and laptops, this is the best bet.
Stomptown Brass: ‘Hey Ya (Outkast cover)’
Main Stage – Saturday 17.15
If you haven’t heard Future Islands’ massive hit ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’, you’ve been curled up under a bed, weeping, for the last 18 months. One of the most memorable, uplifting songs of the last decade, TXFM named it at #1 in their 500 best tracks of 2014 poll. Singer Samuel T Herring’s performances of the track on Letterman and Jools Holland have become the stuff of Youtube legend.
That’s not to say Future Islands are a one-hit wonder. They have a collection of fine synth-led tracks, but you get the feeling many of the crowd at EP will be waiting for this one. Just try not to be put off by Herring’s unusual growling/singing technique. Just stand back, and admire his dance moves.
Future Islands: ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’
Foil Arms & Hog
Comedy Tent - Saturday 18.50
You’ll hear the term ‘Electric Picnic is a lot more than just music’ quite often (actually, too often), and it’s spot on. There are dozens of awesome areas that can bring a welcome reprieve from the mayhem of the pit. One of the best places to relax and unwind is the Comedy Tent, where an array of Irish and international stars will cure plenty a hangover with laughter (the best medicine, apparently).
One such Irish act is Foil Arms & Hog. A sketch comedy trio, these lads are the most innovative and clever comedic performers you’ll see this year.
Foil Arms & Hog: ‘Excuses’