Who are today’s must-sees? Here’s where you’ll find us at Electric Picnic on Sunday.
St. Vincent (Electric Arena, 7pm)
Right now, Annie Clarke (aka St. Vincent) is arguably the hippest musician on the planet. She has hardly put a foot wrong since the release of her debut album Marry Me in 2007. Her music is quirky, unorthodox and complex with a startlingly original approach that never takes the easy option. Glowing reviews accompany each successive album release and as a live performer she is considered by many to be simply peerless. With yet another eclectic and stellar line-up, Electric Picnic 2014 is bound to provide many highlights but don’t be surprised if St Vincent is the name on everybody’s lips come Monday morning.
Slowdive (Cosby Stage, 11pm)
Along with My Bloody Valentine, Reading outfit Slowdive were one of the pioneering acts of the shoegazing scene in the early nineties. They released three albums of dreamy, ethereal guitar pop and were initially feted by the fickle British music press before bearing the brunt of a critical backlash against the movement that they had helped create. They split in 1995, but in recent years there has been a revival of interest in their music which ultimately led to the announcement earlier this year that they would reform for a series of shows. The reaction to the concerts they have played so far has been ecstatic –could be a big highlight of this year’s Electric Picnic.
Simple Minds (Main Stage, 5.25pm)
For a period in the eighties, Simple Minds stalked U2 every step of the way in their quest for the title of the world’s biggest rock band. Jim Kerr and the boys seemed to have unlocked the secret to creating music that would throng stadiums and conquer the States. They could do no wrong; the hits kept coming and they were selling out venues like Croke Park with an almost mundane regularity. The golden period between 1984 and 1990 gave way to years of steady commercial decline as the musical landscape changed, but for any child of the eighties, songs like ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me) and ‘Alive and Kicking’ will stir fond memories. Expect a set packed with some of the most enduring hits from that period and a band with the stagecraft and experience to have the audience eating out of their hands.
Perfume Genius (Body & Soul, midnight)
Quite simply, a must-see. Drop everything, forget whoever is playing at the same time on the other stages and go see Mike Hadreas perform his beautiful, heart-wrenching emotional songs. It’s hard to imagine there will be a performer at Electric Picnic this year that could possibly match Hadreas in terms of the brutal, naked honesty of the song-writing. Debut album Learning, released in 2010, was a low-fi masterpiece but follow up ‘Put Your Back N 2 It’ was even better and was arguably the finest album released in 2012. Live reviews regularly recount how audience members have been moved to tears by his performance – yes, that affecting. In the same vein as Elliott Smith, Perfume Genius is one of those rare and precious artists that come along once in a blue moon – unmissable.
Mogwai (Electric Arena, 10.30pm)
Scottish Post-Rock kingpins Mogwai are not your typical festival fodder. Their music demands a degree of patience – lengthy, instrumental pieces of music that build slowly before delivering a pay-off of ear shattering, terrifying grandeur. But when that pay-off comes, it’s a pretty safe bet they will have your full attention. With Mogwai, there is no compromise – they have been defiantly following their own star since the release of their debut album in 2007. In the process, they have become the godfathers of the Post-Rock instrumental music scene and continue to be the standard bearers for that genre. Their most recent album Rave Tapes continued a recent trend of exploring different sounds, structures and textures. They could provide some of the festivals most incendiary moments.
Words: Paul Page