The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Electric Picnic Day Three (live in Stradbally, Co. Laois)

Electric Picnic 2008

Review Snapshot: In terms of giving Electric Picnic Sunday a mark out of ten overall, I went with a 9….but the festival itself was more than the sum of its parts and as tents got packed away until next year and showers of a near transcendental nature were taken it’s fair to say that Electric Picnic 2008 ranks among the best. 

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10

Full Review:Day three of Electric Picnic began with a rude awakening of sorts, namely 130dBs or so of My Bloody Valentine’s sound check causing much of the Charlie Chaplin campsite (located directly behind the Electric Arena) to shoot bolt upright, from sleep to wake in a time Usain Bolt would be proud of! Still, it was a handy reminder not to forget the earplugs for later in the day.

Feeling every so slightly delicate following the previous evening’s excesses, a seat in the sun with some soul was just what the doctor ordered. Candi Staton was the perfect act for Sunday afternoon on the Main Stage as a sizeable crowd of ramshackle revellers lounged around on the lawn, finding themselves reinvigorated by her incredible warmth, personality and honeyed vocals. ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ brought the crowd to their feet and the good vibes just kept on coming. An extended version of ‘You Got the Love’ was a triumphant end to the set, as every word was belted out across the Main Stage.

Given that the sky above Stradbally was blue as opposed to several shades of grey for the first time in weeks, it seemed a shame to descend into the darkness of yet another marquee and so it was time for some general lolling about in a bid to soak up a selection of what else was on offer at this year’s picnic. Wall of Death at the circus had stomachs churning vicariously, Djembe lessons in the Irish Aid section of the Global Green proved just who was drumming to the rhythm of a different beat while Karl Spain had us running for the exits with his woefully underwhelming stand up which was fortuitous as it led us straight into the Electric Arena and CSS.

Lovefoxx was resplendent in her customary jumpsuit as she bounced and hopped across the stage. This band of Brazilian beatsters were as energetic as ever as they knocked out hit after hit culminating in a closing couplet of ‘Lets Make Love’ and ‘Alala’. Strangely the crowd were more subdued in their appreciation – no doubt festival fatigue was to blame!

Next up was Grinderman.”My face is finished, my body's gone and I can't help but think standin' up here in all this applause and gazin' down at all the young and the beautiful with their questioning eyes that I must above all things love myself”….hearing Nick Cave deliver these lines in a snarly, sinister and dirty version of ‘No More Pussy Blues’ is just confirmation, if it were needed, that the man is one cool bastard. Together these Bad Seed offshoots give the crowd a monumental kick up the arse, Warren Ellis in particular rips his bow through distorted paeans to angry, ageing rock gods. Other highlights included ‘Honey Bee Let’s Fly to Mars’ and ‘I Don’t Need You (To Set Me Free)’.

As the crowd cheered Grinderman from the stage a palpable air of anticipation descended on the Electric Arena. The last band to grace its’ stage this year was without doubt the most eagerly anticipated and as a wall of amps were wheeled on, hundreds of hands reached into hundreds of pockets fumbling for earplugs.

My Bloody Valentine was without doubt the gig of the weekend and possibly the year. ‘I Only Said’ proved the perfect opener and from there it was just sonic bliss throughout. Although there was no new material there was ample representation from both ‘Loveless’ and ‘Isn’t Anything’ LPs and the ‘Tremolo’ and ‘You Made Me Realise’ EPs.

Swirling soundscapes were complimented by one of the better lighting designs of the festival and some mesmeric visuals projected onto the stage backdrop. The crowd were near reverential for large portions of the set not moving beyond an appreciative sway during songs, but tracks such as ‘Soon’ gave rise to much more animated dancing. As for noise levels, let’s just say no internal organs were dislodged but it did get pretty intense during the ‘holocaust’ section of closing track ‘You Made Me Realise’. There was little or no banter aside from a cursory ‘How’s it goin? Thanks for comin’ but yet as the audience erupted in applause, you could tell there was an air of satisfaction in a job well done, particularly among Kevin Shields and Colm Ó Cíosóig.

Although there were notions of catching some of The Sex Pistols and Conor Oberst, there was little point, seeing another band after that would have simply been an exercise in going through the motions.

Jan Ní Fhlanagáin

  • Check out as well's reviews of Day 1 and Day 2 of Electric Picnic 2008.

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