Words by Nialler9:
This year's Castlepalooza arrives retooled in its eleventh year with bigger acts, an increased capacity and a larger site layout.
Wisely keeping the smaller stages and tents that make Castlepalooza one of Ireland's best small festivals, the changes ringing in this year make their mark largely in the lineup with the biggest names in the festival's history coming to play among the grounds of the haunted castle. Here are Nialler9's top 10 tips for who to see at the reinvigorated festival.
Friday, 7:30pm @ Original Penguin Stage
The Dublin trad folk band Lynched are a breath of fresh air because they acknowledge the country's rich musical heritage but as citizens of Ireland in the centenary year, they communicate about the present through the prism of the past. Ragged and rough, punk and folk, traditional and modern, Lynched's music is sean-nós, rhyme and Irish reason.
Friday, 11.45pm @ Castle Stage
Dan Snaith's psychedelic eclecticism hit a new high on 2014's Our Love. His sixth album was loaded with affirmative heart-on-sleeve psychedelia and featured summer anthem ‘Can’t Do Without You’. Live, Snaith and live band deliver those songs with a tougher exterior that translates to audiences of all sizes but a Castlepalooza set will be their most intimate in Ireland in quite a while. Look out also for Daphni, Snaith's solo dancefloor moniker, at 8.45pm on Friday at the Centre Stage.
3. Get Down Edits
Friday, 1:30am @ Centre Stage
Of all the Irish artists playing Glastonbury last week, two DJs from Waterford, Daz Dalton & Martin Roche may seem unlikely. But in the world of disco edits and the DJ scene that surround them, Get Down Edits are kings, building their reputation with label releases of their own and producers like Fingerman and Late Nite Tuff Guy. A Get Down Edits set is for dancing.
4. Steve Davis & Kavus Torabi
Saturday, 3pm @ Centre Stage
Festivals shouldn't take themselves too seriously and neither should former world champion snooker players. Which explains what Steve Davis is doing on this list. His transformation has gone from cueing balls on the snooker table to cueing tracks on decks. A keen avant-garde and leftfield DJ and collector who has played festivals like Bloc and presents a weekly show on PhoenixDM with Torabi. Davis will be both playing tunes and punters in games of pool.
5. Let's Eat Grandma
Saturday, 8:45pm @ Centre Stage
The 16 and 17 year-old duo of Jenny Hollingworth and Rosa Walton occupy a strange teenage world of bewitching feral pop music. They've been friends since they were four years of age and there's a magnetising connection between the pair that draws you in musically and makes you feel like you've fallen down the rabbit hole in Wonderland.
6. Jurassic 5
Saturday, 10pm @ Castle Stage
Purveyors of old school rap, since the new-school was taking hold in the late-nineties, the LA rap group J5 are all about good times and good rhymes. They showed they still have what it takes with their 2014 White Stripes-sampling once-off single The Way We Do It. Even better, their eminently talented DJ Cut Chemist is doing a set of his own at midnight at the Centre Stage.
7. Prins Thomas
Saturday, 1.30am @ Centre Stage
Prins Thomas, alongside Todd Terje and Lindstrom , is one of the three tentpoles of the Norwegian space-disco scene. Known for his discomix versions of existing tracks from the likes of Jape, LCD Soundsystem, Holy Ghost and Roosevelt. Last year, his vinyl-mixed Paradise Goulash album featured 57 tracks and picked up the plaudits in the dance and electronic press.
8. Cat Power
Sunday, 8:30pm @ Castle Stage
Chan Marshall has a tenuous relationship with playing live, having suffered through years of intense stage fright. But the American appears to have faced her demons in the live arena and won. It's been four years since 2012's Sun album but it appears there's new music on the way (possibly with Diplo at the controls for some of it), so Castlepalooza may be among the first to hear it.
9. Lisa O'Neill
Saturday, 7pm @ Original Penguin Stage / Sunday, 6:30pm @ Centre Stage
The Cavan singer-songwriter with the colloquial tongue and the storytelling gene has grown into one of Ireland's most commanding artists. A few months ago, she released her third album Potholes In The Sky, an album that finds the songwriter examining herself and the world in the grand scheme of things with humour, depth and melody.
10. New Jackson
Sunday, Midnight @ Centre Stage
David Kitt's made quite a name for himself as an electronic producer with releases on labels like Permanent Vacation, Major Problems and Hivern. His "nocturnal house jams" rarely miss the mark and are characterised by rolling synths, vocoders and a music collector's knowledge of percussion and how it works for an audience. That means a New Jackson set is always a dancefloor winner.