Gig reviews

Oxegen (live in Punchestown)

Jul 13

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Sunday, July 13, 2008  RssIcon

Oxegen Day 2 (live in Punchestown, Co. Kildare)

Oxegen Festival PunchestownReview Snapshot: The weatherman promised us a day full of sunshine, one where we would need our sun-cream as opposed to our wellies.  He was wrong, but then again, that's not surprising.  It wasn't so bad though as it meant I had to spend most of the day in the tent stages, where some sparkling performances shone brighter than any sun. (Check out as well CLUAS.com's coverage of Day 1 and Day 3 of Oxegen 2008).

The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10

Full Review:
Concerto For Constantine (Green Room)
How is it possible for three people to make so much noise, so early in the day?  Concerto for Constantine have evolved from being JJ72 part two into a band that's so much more comfortable in it's own skin.  They (being the veritable supergroup of ex JJ72 frontman Mark Greaney, Idlewild’s Gavin Fox and Binzer of The Frames and Bell X1 fame) have a presence on stage that leaves you feeling you are watching a band destined for greatness.  It's a pity more people didn't turn up to see them, because they were the highlight of the weekend for me.

Delays / Brian Jonestown Massacre (Green Room)
My craving for an organic tofu burger (CLUAS verdict: 9 out of 10) resulted in me missing all but the last two Delays songs.  Mores the pity, their energetic performance had the large crowd dancing and singing.  The same could not be said for the Brian Jonestown Massacre.  Don't get me wrong, they were excellent, but coming on 10 minutes late, and constant problems with equipment resulted in more people leaving than entering the tent to see who was on.  A very entertaining band nonetheless and possibly deserving of a bigger stage.

The Ting Tings  (Green Room)
Wow.  Now here's a sound that's going to get old fast.  I'm sure at this stage you know the basic premise for The Ting Tings, a drummer and a female vocalist who sometimes plays guitar.  You wouldn't think it would take 35 minutes to soundcheck them would it?  It did and in that time the Green Room filled beyond capacity (helped by the downpour outside) and people were forced to watch/listen from outside.  It certainly wasn't worth it.  This band are so incredibly limited that they struggle to justify their own existence.  Aside from some catchy singles there really is no substance to this band.

Counting Crows (Main Stage)
Dishevelled, out of time and generally rubbish.  I thought I'd be writing those words about Amy Winehouse, but the prize for performance enhancing set of the weekend goes to the Counting Crows.  I can't begin to describe how bad they were.

Holy Fuck (2FM New Band Stage)
I'll be honest, I only went to Holy Fuck for the opportunity to tell people I was going to see Holy Fuck.  However, I was rewarded with a set that put Battles performance of the previous day to shame.  Holy Fuck are their keyboards and they make instrumental music they way I should be, catchy, engaging and with room for improvisation, unlike Battles brand of cold, music by maths.

Vampire Weekend (Green Room)
An incredible performance by New York's current greatest export.  I wasn't there for Arcade Fire's now legendary set at Electric Picnic, but having witnessed this it's not difficult to imagine.  This band have perfected the art of crowd interaction and audience participation and the result is a performance that allows the joy of their eponymous record to translate quite easily to the live arena.  If any band this weekend was deserving of a bigger stage this weekend it was Vampire Weekend. 

Seasick Steve (Pet Sounds stage)
How can someone with a box and a three string guitar generate such a crowd?  Chants of 'Seasick Steve, Seasick Steve' rang around the Pet Sounds tent for a full ten minutes before his performance.  It was a raucous performance that left the crowd begging for more.  It's just a pity I couldn't understand a word he was saying.  That being said, his blend of hillbilly rock speaks for itself.  A great performance.

CODES (IMRO New Sounds Stage)
Having spent so long singing this band's praises, and indeed telling everyone who asked (and some who didn't) where to be at 9.15 meant I was probably as nervous about CODES performance as the band themselves.  I really believe CODES are one of Ireland's best bands but the sound quality in the IMRO tent was so below par that it didn't do the band justice.  Unless you knew the words of the songs, it was very difficult to hear anything frontman Daragh Anderson was saying.  The songs are there, the performance is there, it's just a pity the arena let them down.

Hot Chip (Pet Sounds stage)
A great way to end the evening.  The best review I can give of Hot Chip is that they had me dancing, which is some achievement considering I was sober.  A very mixed crowd, some of whom actually thought they were at the Chemical Brothers, were treated to a set that consisted mostly of tracks from the bands Made in the Dark record.  They finished the evening with a surprise cover of 'Nothing Compares to You'. Hot Chip - a band I would love to see in a more intimate venue.

Steven O'Rourke

  • Check out as well CLUAS.com's coverage of Day 1 and Day 3 of Oxegen 2008.

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7 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Oxegen (live in Punchestown)

It would be interesting to know how old you are, because I thought Counting Crows were fabulous. It is probably the case that if you don't know the good old songs you might think Adam is a bit crazy, but that's how they are, not as mainstream as the newer songs.... Anyway, I really enjoyed this gig!

By petra on   Tuesday, July 15, 2008
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Re: Oxegen (live in Punchestown)

While I'm not a fan, I'm old enough to know the Counting Crows discography and been to enough gigs to know when someone isn't operating at full capacity. Whatever Adam Duritz was on (and he was clearly on something) it was an exceptionally bad performance, he was out of tune and out of time more often than he was in tune and in time with the rest of the band.

By Steve on   Tuesday, July 15, 2008
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Re: Oxegen (live in Punchestown)

wow, ive read your reviews of each day and i must say you sound about as much fun as gordon brown would have at oxegen, the whole weekend was so unbelievable that to look at it through such a negative synical eye is like reviewing the bible and complaining that the ending doesnt leave us enough of a cliff hanger! and youre slagging of RATM baffles me!? how can you think they were anything other than breathtaking, maybe you dont understand the political left wing atall or good rabble rousing music when you hear it.

By Eoin on   Tuesday, July 15, 2008
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Re: Oxegen (live in Punchestown)

Firstly, when you have to review as many gigs as I do, you tend to be become cynical (or syncial, whichever you're having yourself), you also learn to expect a great deal from bands. You might have found the weekend unbelievable but I found it to be a mixture of some exceptional performances, some bog standard ones and some utter rubbish and all of which I reported. I didn't slag RATM off. I just stated that my expectations of their performance was at one level, and their actual performance was somewhat below that level. Oh and cheers for the personal attacks, that's exactly why I do this in my own time, at my own cost.

By Steve on   Wednesday, July 16, 2008
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Re: Oxegen (live in Punchestown)

Agreed on the Counting Crows poor performance. I wouldn't say they were 'rubbish' but nowhere near as good as nights prior at the Ambassador. That was truly an a amazing show. Best i've ever seen them.
Pendulum at Oxegen where also incredible.

By Magik on   Thursday, July 17, 2008
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Re: Oxegen (live in Punchestown)

Can't believe I missed Pendulum - I have to go and see them soon! Even just to hear Fasten your Seatbelts... And I'm not sure what Steve's review has to do with the 'political left wing atall' - he was just reviewing a gig, not RATM's political musings.

By Iambeave on   Friday, July 18, 2008
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Re: Oxegen (live in Punchestown)

I totally agree with you about Counting Crows, I am a big fan of theirs and this was my first time to see them live, I have to say I was really really disappointed they were awful.

By Lou on   Thursday, July 24, 2008

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