Now this is more like it. Despite the ominous grey clouds hanging overhead, there wasn’t a drop of rain to be seen in Bundoran for day two of Sea Sessions. This meant that people were actually able to, you know, sit on the grass and generally enjoy being outside and came as welcome respite to Friday’s washout. The numbers in attendance had clearly swelled no doubt because the idea of standing in a field for several hours became a significantly more inviting proposition.
More apparent, too, was the ‘surf’ element of this Surf & Music festival. A BMX and Skateboarding ramp located attracted a sizeable crowd, as did the fire-breathers near-by. However, the two fans plucked from the crowd to participate in an air guitar competition on top of the skateboarding crowd clearly hadn’t grasped the fundamentals of what they were supposed to do and ended up simply jumping up and down with no air-guitar action whatsoever.
The first musical act of the evening that Entertainment.ie paid attention to was legendary Jamaican band The Skatalites, a band who have been together in various guises since 1963. While saxophonist Lester Sterling is the only member from the original lineup, the decades of experience playing in a live setting clearly shows and they are masters in playing the sort of show which is difficult NOT to dance to. Or at least bob your head, as we elected to do.
Following Skatalites we raced over to the other tent to try and catch some of Funeral Suits set but only succeeded in witnessing two songs of their set but we were suitably impressed by their brand of harmonious noise/pop.
After a quick bit of dinner (steak ciabatta: amazing) it was time for The Go! Team over at the main stage. Despite looking forward to this, their performance proved to be somewhat underwhelming but through no fault of their own. The PA system in the main tent struggled to contain what is quite a busy band with many different elements – vocals, bass, two drum sets, harmonica, trumpet samples – and it all meshed into an indistinguishable hum of noise. The energy displayed on stage couldn’t be faulted though, especially lead singer Ninja who looks like she’s conducting a jazzercise class on stage.
Bell X1 soon followed. Anyone who’s ever seen these guys before (let’s face it, we all have at some point) will know that Paul Noonan and co. have a keenly developed talent at playing on stage nowadays. Charismatic without ever being showy is a description that could be attributed to both Noonan and his band as they traipsed through their back catalogue, and some new songs from latest album Bloodless Coup, to the delight of the watching masses.
As the darkness descended on the site, there was one more act to take in – Grandmaster Flash. We weren’t really sure what sort of set the old school hip hop DJ would play for us. All the 53 year-old New Yorker really did was sit behind his computer and play sample of songs from his mp3 library, while occasionally mixing in some scratching and imploring ‘Donegal’ to “make some noise!”, or to “put your hands in the air”. Oh, and how they did!