17 Sep Electric Picnic Festival | Day 3 | Highlights
Saturday night/Sunday morning had extremely unpleasant, bitter weather to offer. Rainy and windy, perfect Irish festival conditions. I bought myself an insanely over priced hot water bottle that night to make myself feel better. It didn’t stop the PUDDLE of rain water that collected over night at the bottom of my tent, though. Pair that with the feeling of general festival filth and grime and you have a pretty accurate picture of me on Sunday morning.
Yet, during these testing times we somehow, bravely carry on. Even if we’re flecked with mud, haven’t showered for three days and have a waterlogged phone due to rain water. “It’s all for the music and the craic” you’ll repeat to yourself with unconvincing vigour and a stiff smile.
DUBLIN GOSPEL CHOIR
Strategically scheduled to lift our festival tested spirits, we attended the fabulous Sunday Service set from Dublin Gospel Choir. Within moments of hearing George Michael’s “Freedom ’90” I could feel my energy renewing to face the jam packed schedule of the day ahead. See? It’s all about the music. Forget the waterlogged, muddied horrors of the campsite. Pretend they don’t exist. I don’t belong to you and you don’t belong to me! FREEDOM!
Festival wore down emotions bubbled to the surface during “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” as the camera man in charge of the big screen launched the “kiss cam” and zoomed in on random people in the crowd. It was super uplifting to watch couples, friends and probably even random people beside each other spread the love. This set had such good vibes to get everyone started for the final day of the festival. From what I’ve heard they are Electric Picnic regulars. If you get the chance to go see them, I highly recommend – especially if you’re starting to feel slightly on edge shall we say from living in a tent surrounded by fellow revellers for three days.
GOAT GIRL & MARGARET GLASPY
Remember how I mentioned in my Day 2 Highlights post that Sunday’s schedule was an absolute bitch for clashing artists? This meant making incredibly tough choices about which sets to catch and which sets to miss.
I managed to sample parts of some sets however and two artists I was happy to catch a bit of each were Goat Girl and Margaret Glaspy who were performing at the same time. I have to question the scheduling decisions here as these are two artists that would, undeniably, attract similar audiences – they have similar sounds – female vocals and grungey guitar. A combination I am very partial to.
I’d listened to a bit of Goat Girl previously. I like their edgy, Riot-Grrl vocals that combined with their steady, sprawling guitar riffs, give the uncomfortable hint of cultivated fury somewhere beneath the surface. Although I had what can only be described as a Goat Girl taster session, catching about four songs, I was really intrigued by this trio of badass women armed with guitars and bass.
Meanwhile, Margaret Glaspy was performing in The Little Big Tent. I was reluctant to leave the Goat Girl set but I’m glad I discovered Margaret Glaspy – I’d never previously listened to her and was pretty spellbound by her incredible vocals. Definitely not as heavy as the Goat Girl set – bluesey, rhythmic guitar is textured at moments with darker, grunge influences. The artists that immediately spring to my mind when I listen to her are Cat Power, PJ Harvey and Feist.
CAR SEAT HEADREST
I’ll be honest, I only heard of these guys when I was doing a bit of pre-festival research, compiling a list of the sets I wanted to catch. I didn’t know a lot of the names on the lineup or had heard of them from somewhere but never listened to them. After hearing “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” and then proceeding to listen to the Teens of Denial album (highly recommend), Car Seat Headrest quickly became the band I was most excited to see over the weekend.
Coming out on stage in a hoodie, thick rimmed glasses and a pair of scientific goggles around his neck, frontman Will Toledo, is, in every sense of the word, a nerd. But, but, but, let’s remember that nerds are cool now and Will Toledo is a prime example of this fact.
The Guardian astutely described him as “Seattle’s answer to the question: what if McLovin rocked?” I get that. However, I personally like to think that he’s actually Gus from the Netflix show LOVE because a) I love his character, b) they look a bit similar c) Gus is a nerd and d) there’s a scene of Gus jamming out at a house party with Mr E and I don’t know? I just associate CSH with Gus now. The more I’ve talked about it the less similar they seem but I’m committed to my point. Watch that scene of Gus and then watch this CSH video I’ll wait. Then tell me I’m not wrong.
Their set was awesome. So, so much heavy guitar and early twenties what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life lyrics of despair and frustration that no doubt spoke to many in the crowd *raises hand*. Their DIY lo-fi sound is comparable to the likes of Weezer, Cloud Nothings and Pixies.
“You have no right to be depressed, you haven’t tried hard enough to like it” scream the very decent crowd in unison with Toledo on the anthem-esque “Fill The Blank.” Rather than revel in the chaos of an early twenties, post-college life crisis, Toledo’s lyrics put the anguish and the pain in very plain, uncomfortably relatable terms.
The highlights of the set were “Destroyed by Hippie Powers” and naturally, “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales.” It’s quite a cathartic experience being a part of a crowd screaming “IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS, IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIIIS!” Although I had to leave the gig just before the end to catch a bit of Father John Misty’s set ( terrible scheduling again) I left feeling united with CSH’s soul-searching millennial anguish.
I wish I could say that I opted for the significantly cooler option of seeing Pond or even Ash who were playing closing sets at the same time. That did not happen. I made a last minute decision and chose some 80’s cheese. Don’t judge me, okay?
Whenever Duran Duran were announced as headliners I was a bit disappointed but I knew deep down inside that I would be going to see them regardless. I’m happy with my decision. Chances are I’ll never get the opportunity to see them again. Unless they become one of those 80’s bands that decide to tour constantly in their old age. I hope they don’t.
A highlight of Duran Duran’s set was that lime green leather jacket Simon le Bon was flaunting. Especially when paired with a pair of white trousers. A bold fashion statement that holds steadfast to their vibrant 80’s roots. I couldn’t decide if I loved it or if it was an absolute eyesore. It was memorable either way.
There was a lot of impatience in the crowd as they performed a number of their new songs. It wasn’t by any means bad, in fact I quite enjoyed it. I found it similar to The Pet Shop Boy’s new material – keeping an integral element of their original sound whilst introducing more contemporary electronic and synth styles. It was good. BUT when you’re waiting for that opening riff to “Hungry Like The Wolf” everything else feels a little bit bland.
The classics didn’t have any surprises, no doubt the band is sick of performing them. “Rio” being absent from the setlist was odd. “Ordinary World” however, as much as I don’t really like that song was a good end of festival, emotional anthem.
So, with the echoes of “Ordinary World” swimming through our tired brains, we returned to our tents to drink gin and stay up until 4am. The proper way to end a festival.