Oxegen 2008, Day 3 (live in Punchestown)
Review Snapshot: What could have been a great end to a festival turned out to be a rollercoaster of a day, with a lifeless finish that was not worth the wait. (Check out as well CLUAS.com's coverage of Day 1 and Day 2 of Oxegen 2008).
The Cluas Verdict? 8.5 out of 10
Sunday is allegedly a day of rest, but with the sun really shining for the first time in months, I made my way once again to Punchestown for the final day of Oxegen 2008.
Fighting With Wire (IMRO New Sounds Stage)
It was fitting that a day that was due to end with pure unadulterated rock, started out the same way. Fighting With Wire hail from Derry and their Man Vs Monster album made its way into my ears through a friend quite recently. Liking the cut of their jib, I made my way to the IMRO tent for their early afternoon performance. The tent was packed to capacity but, once again, the sound was awful, vastly inferior to every other stage. That being said, the kind of noise these kids make doesn't need great sound quality and it was the perfect pick up for a day that had started very slowly (I blame the parking attendants!).
We Are Scientists (O2 Stage)
'I'd like to dedicate this song to my homies at the BAR BAR ID, where everyone truly does know your name' was just one of the surreal ramblings from We Are Scientists frontman, Keith Murray. It was clear that the band were enjoying themselves in the Irish sun and it paid off in one of the most entertaining sets of the weekend. The majority of songs were taken from the bands debut, With Love and Squalor, but recent single After Hours was also very well received. You do have to wonder though about the sobriety of the people who agreed that the only reason they got into music in the first place was because of We Are Scientists.
Alabama 3 (Green Room)
Having made it my mission to see a band on every stage on the final day, I made my way into a rather full Green Room to catch Alabama 3 in the middle of their set. The Brixton band, who still don't seem to have shaken off their tag of being 'that band with that song from the TV' had a rather large audience totally captivated. Honestly though, their blend of what can only be described as a gospel/funk/soul/jazz, wasn't really to my taste. Having three lead vocalists who don't contribute on the instrument side of things seems a little indulgent to me.
Kate Nash (O2 Stage)
While everyone else at Oxegen attended MGMT I bowed to pressure from my prettier plus one (who, in fairness, had to endure my whims all weekend) to go see Kate Nash. Nash is a strange phenomenon. There's talent there, that's without question, but she suffers from being thrown into the same 'mockney' bracket as Lily Allen and Jack Penate. Supported by an excellent backing band, Nash rushed through songs from her debut Made of Bricks with very little audience interaction. The biggest cheer of the set was reserved for Foundations which sparked a mass sing-along amongst the assembled teenage girls. Kudos to Nash for having the best stage set-up of the weekend too.
Republic of Loose (O2 Stage)
'I hear it's going to be P-Diddy!' 'No man, it's definitely going to be Jay-Z.' Such were the rumours spreading around the 02 stage as news filtered through that a huge, internationally known, hip-hop/rap star would be supporting the Loose in their rendition of I like Music (or Moo-zic as Mr. Pyro is want to sing it). As it turns out, Styles P was the man in question but he added little to the set as Pyro already had the crowd enthralled with his charismatic stage presence. Say what you like about their music, and I'm not a fan, but in Pyro Republic of Loose have one of Ireland's great entertainers and he made this one of the most enjoyable performances of the weekend.
Fight Like Apes (2FM New Band Stage)
So good were the Loose that I, along with an awful lot of other people, missed the start of Fight Like Apes. I've often given this band a hard time as, previously, the hype surrounding them far exceeded their talents. The gap is narrowing mind and this was as energetic a performance as you're likely to see. In no other band could the keyboard player attack the lead singer, throwing her to the ground, and have the audience cheer him for it. New single Something Global sounds amazing live but the biggest cheers were reserved for Lend me your Face and Do you Karate? Fight Like Apes may be about to live up to their billing as the great white hope of Irish music.
Roisin Murphy (Pet Sounds)
This was, undoubtedly, the most surprising performance of the weekend. I was expecting some backing tracks, a nice light show and Murphy miming along to her own lyrics. Whatever, it was sure to be better than The Pogues or the Kaiser Chiefs. I couldn't have been more wrong though (about the first part that is). Focusing almost exclusively on tracks from the Choice nominated Overpowered album, Murphy wowed the mostly female audience with an energetic performance ably supported by a backing band that matched the quality of that album. Now fewer than 6 costume changes later and Murphy was inviting us all back to party with her in 'Wickla', betraying her rural roots for the first time. Well worth seeing again, though she does have the dubious honour of being the only act to refer to Punchestown as Dublin over the weekend.
Rage Against the Machine (Main Stage)
Some of us have deadlines you know. RATM obviously didn't consider this when they decided to start their set over 20 minutes late, by which time they'd lost a sizeable number of people to The Chemical Brothers light and sound spectacular over on the O2 stage. Unperturbed, the band arrived on stage to Zack De La Rocha's simple words: 'Good evening. We are Rage Against The Machine and we are from Los Angeles', and launched into Testify. Tom Morello made his guitar look like a child's toy, such is his capacity with the instrument, especially on Bulls on Parade. The audience 'moshed' their drunken little hearts out for Bullet in the Head, while closing tracks Freedom and Killing in the Name were no doubt thrown in to ensure the audience went home happy. I didn't however, as I found RATM to be at best, lifeless and at worst, disinterested. Something about the main stage this weekend just drew the life out of some of my favourite acts and RATM were no different. I knew I should have gone to The Chemical Brothers.
Check out as well CLUAS.com's coverage of Day 1
and Day 2
of Oxegen 2008.