Electric Picnic - Day Two - A Review In Pictures - Stradbally Estate County Laois

Electric Picnic takes place on the grounds of Stradbally Estate in County Laois, less than an hour from Dublin. The three day event offers music on a variety of stages plus theatre, comedy and spoken word performances. This was my first trip to the picnic and I was basing myself in Portlaoise, about 15 minutes to the Festival by shuttle bus. I was originally due to attend all three days of the event but last minute travelling arrangements meant I had to cut my trip down to just the Friday and Saturday sets.

My Saturday begun around lunchtime catching one song from local lad Goodtime John on the Crawdaddy stage then making my way to the Main Stage to view a set from US trio Mountain Man. I'd read a few bit and pieces on the girls online so was curious to see what they had to offer, with their relaxing mostly accapella set going down a treat, even with the odd mistake thrown into the mix!

Dublin's The Mighty Stef were a complete contrast, delivering a rowdy rockin' set over on the Cosby Stage.

I hung around for a few songs, returning to the Main Stage to take in female duo Heathers. The teenage twins are Ireland's answer to Tegan And Sara or the Folk Jedward without the dance moves and better singing! The girls seemed very popular with the local crowd, with audience members declaring their love for the girls!
I've given Heathers debut Here Not There a listen since returning home and it's a nice wee album.

The next act was the one I'd been looking forward to most all day. I hadn't seen Swedish Pop pixie Robyn live for a couple of years and had been enjoying her new Body Talk material, especially part 2. I was initially disappointed with the set as she performed with hideous lighting resulting in terrible pictures! I grabbed a beer after leaving the photo pit returning to view the rest of gig, perking up immediately once I started enjoying the performance as a fan, not worrying about lighting states! Robyn's set consisted of a lot of new tracks with a few old faves thrown in. She seemed to be on a real dance trip and more in your face than I remembered her. I had a great time viewing the show but I would have prefered the more Pop based version of "Be mine" rather than the dance mix performed at the picnic.

There's countless other things happening at Electric Picnic alongside bands playing. I'm always guilty of missing the extra stuff that goes on at these events so decided to have a break from the day's musical proceedings, taking a trip to the Mindfield section of the Festival to watch Rockabilly rebel Imelda May getting interviewed in the Hot Press tent. I first became aware of the Irish singer due to picking up a promo of her album in a music exchange months before it came out in the UK just because I liked the cover! I've seen her play live a couple of times since and am looking forward to her forthcoming sophomore release. I found Imelda's interview very informative and she came across extremely nice. I didn't actually realise how popular she was in Ireland and she seems to be doing well for herself, rubbling shoulders with the likes of Clint Eastwood and Eartha Kitt!

After Imelda's interview it was over to the Crawdaddy stage to take in a bit of Mercury prize nominee Villagers performance then across to the Electric Arena for Electro noisemakers Crystal Castles as the two acts starting times clashed. There was a bit of uncertainty as to whether or not we were going to be allowed to shoot Alice and the boys but we were eventually shoved side of stage and got to take our shots from there for a couple of songs. I hung around for a bit after that to take in the performance but as stunning a front woman as Alice is their music just left me scratching my head as always so didn't stay for too long.

I spent the next hour or so just taking in the Festival, unsure who I was going to watch next. Seasick Steve was playing on the Main Stage and New Order's Bernard Sumner was performing with his new band Bad Lieutenant over in the Electric Arena. I'd photographed Steve at Summer Sundae a few weeks earlier and don't really like his music so settled on Bernard and the boys even though I was really only time killing!

The band began their set to a pretty empty tent, with only a hundred or so people watching. I was quite enjoying my time in the pit but my ears pricked up when the opening bars of New Orders debut single "Ceremony" rung out three songs in, sounding amazing! Although I'm not really a fan of N.O I've a lot of time for several of their singles so decided to hang around to see what was on offer, with a version of "Bizarre love triangle" sending me to a spot on the barrier where I'd take in the rest of the set. Several original songs were offered up alongside a couple of Electronic tracks but it was the New Order songs that brought the house down each time one was played, enticing several more audience members to join the now large crowd as they overheard the tracks outside the tent. As the set drew to a close the group produced their take on the Chemical Brothers Bernard featuring track "Out of control", resulting in an ecstatic dancing audience who continued bopping away to the song that followed - "Temptation". I was really surprised by how much fun the band's set was as it was something I would never watch normally and the icing on the cake was a closing number in the shape of Joy Division's "Love will tear us apart"!

When I booked my trip to Ireland I'd followed a link on the Festival website where I found a coach company offering trips back to Dublin airport last thing Saturday night / Sunday morning.
This seemed perfect but when I rang up to check a few days later they said the site was wrong as the buses were only leaving Sunday night now. This mucked up my planning somewhat resulting in me having to leave the fest way too early so I could catch a train from Portlaoise at the back of 10 back to Dublin. I was planning on hanging around to catch Imelda May's first three songs on the main stage but chickened out as I had to get a cab from the outskirts of the arena back to Portaoise so was worried about the time!
It was very disappointing as had I been able to stay I could have watched Robyn play an acoustic set in a tiny tent which would have been a great highlight of the weekend. I still had a fantastic time attending Electric Picnic though and I suppose it's always better leaving wanting more!

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